Laughter was leaking out of Levittown Tuesday night when comedian Sebastian Maniscalco began his first of 12 sold-out shows, through Sunday, at Governor's Comedy Club, an uncommon feat for a road comic who's not yet a household name.
"We started with four shows, and we just kept adding on," says co-owner Marc Lund. "Sebastian's fans are passionate. You get generations of families showing up to see him."
Joe Mills, 59, of Huntington was at the first show with a table of 14 including his wife, his friends, his daughter, her boyfriend, his sister-in-law and others.
"We watched him on TV and laughed so hard we had to come see him live," says Mills, "His facial expressions kill me."
Maniscalco, who grew up in an Italian family in the suburbs of Chicago, uses his entire body in an animated manner when telling his jokes. He'll flex his shoulders, cock his neck, bite his tongue, kick out his leg and roll his eyes to accentuate a joke.
"I'm Italian. If I brought 10 people home for dinner, we had food for 10,000," says Maniscalco as the crowd roars. "I had a grandma who lived in our basement who just cranked out trays of lasagna. That's all she did."
Sitting at Mills' table was his daughter's boyfriend, Victor Micoretti, 26, of East Meadow, who says he played Maniscalco's Jewish seder routine before Passover began in early April for his family and was looking forward to hearing it at Governor's.
"My wife is Jewish and she took me to my first seder. I got nervous when I sat at the table and there was nothing but a booklet on my plate. She told me we do prayers for two hours first. Two hours?" says Maniscalco. "As an Italian I need a basket of bread within 15 seconds of sitting down or I'm going to go out of my mind."
Raymond Maniscalco, 61, drove in from Brooklyn to see the comic with his two daughters and find out whether they are actually related.
"The Maniscalcos came from the village of Spadafora, in the city of Messina in Sicily," he says with excitement. "I want to see if his grandfather came from the same place as my grandfather."
WHEN | WHERE Through Sunday, Governor's, 90 Division Ave., Levittown
INFO $34-$45 plus two-drink minimum (sold out, call for last-minute availability); 516-731-3358, govs.com