Thanksgiving Eve with stand-up comedian Sebastian Maniscalco in Philly.
When Sebastian Maniscalco hits the Wells Fargo Center on November 24, the night before Thanksgiving, as part of his “Nobody Does This” tour, this won’t be the usual grandstand, stand-up comic arena performance.
The last time Maniscalco came through Philly, the stand-up did so in the round, so the whole vibe had a boxing match feel to the proceedings. What he didn’t have going for him was a wind-up in town that included dozens of life-size cut-outs of Sebastian visiting Philly’s most famous landmarks this past week, including Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park, Wells Fargo Center, Temple University, LOVE Park, Art Museum, Reading Terminal Market, and others.
Maniscalco was, however, coming off of a best-selling book (Stay Hungry), a just-filmed role in Martin Scorsese’s notorious The Irishman for Netflix, and a role in Green Book, which won a Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards.
For all that we have seen of Maniscalco on screen, and watched him grow as a stand-up, he remains somewhat unknowable and enigmatic.
“When I first started out, it was all observational humor: I went to Subway today… what about that thing… broad topics,” Maniscalco told me the last time he performed in Philadelphia. Funny that, because the king of observational comedy, Jerry Seinfeld called Sebastian his favorite comedian.
“It was only when I started bringing up the status of my relationships with my family that I noticed how a lot of listeners gravitated toward those shared experiences and started coming out in droves to my shows. I remember, for instance, seeing a couple who would come to my shows. I recognized them. The next year that same couple brought another couple. By the fourth time around I’m guessing they brought the whole neighborhood. Maybe they figured that I was a guy speaking their language. That was great, but that happened over time. It was not an overnight thing.”
As for Maniscalco’s on-stage freneticism, this too was a tick that developed in time for the stand-up.
“I wasn’t so animated or so physical when I started – not so honed as they are now, That’s very trial and error. What I wanted was to be as natural with my audience as I am talking to my family. To get there you must go through almost a transformation of losing your inhabitations. You don’t want to look stupid. It doesn’t feel right or comfortable in your skin. It takes many, many times of being on stage, and letting go, to develop your stage presence. Which is not so far from who you are as a person.”
Curious to see how he’s developed? Tickets are available at WellsFargoCenterPhilly.com.