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Kidsday talks with James DiGiacomo of ‘Kevin Can Wait’

Actor James DiGiacomo, center, with Kidsday reporters, from

Actor James DiGiacomo, center, with Kidsday reporters, from left, Keira Bree, Sarah Reiley, Walter Silbert and Alana Giallorenzi, from Eastport Elementary School. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We met actor and comedian James DiGiacomo, who stars as Jack Gable on “Kevin Can Wait,” on the set of the CBS TV show in Bethpage. After our interview, James, 12, gave us a tour of the set and then sat with us for another half-hour telling jokes and stories.

What was your favorite commercial?

I guess I have to say the NFL commercial I did with Cam Newton. That was kind of my startup. I did the show “K.C. Undercover.” I did “Brooklyn,” which was a movie. Part of me getting those two things was because of the commercial I did. It was for the Super Bowl and it was a great commercial, and so I got a lot of jobs because of that.

How do you balance school and acting and comedy?

Oh, um, well, school is tough because I have my teachers who give me work, and I bring it out here. I have an on-set tutor, by the dressing rooms. And we do all the work and then I bring it back and I give them the work and they check it off, give it back. And then the next week if I have to go out, the week before I would let them know, and they would give me all the work and I would do it — like a continuous process.

How do you balance your private life and your acting career?

It’s kind of difficult because I actually recently had to transfer schools because I came to “Kevin Can Wait.” I had to move, so I had to transfer schools. I lost a bunch of friends because of that, but I met a bunch of new friends, so that’s good. I see my family all the time. I mean I don’t think there’s a day where I go without seeing my dad, my sister and my mom. So that’s great. I see my extended family all the time on special occasions, and my birthday.

Describe a day on the set of “Kevin Can Wait.”

We start out on Monday. We do the table read in the morning, usually when I’m at school. I come in earlier so I can do the school, then we do the table read, usually at 10:30 or 11, and then we usually do fittings after the table read. Then Tuesday we have rehearsal and then a run-through. Everyone from production and the writers come in to see the entire show. After all the notes, we do it.

Does learning to remember your lines help you to do well on tests?

Yeah, learning my lines gives me a big memory upgrade. Like if you can remember a line, you can remember an answer to a test. If you can remember an entire script like this — I don’t have many lines, but I still have to remember them. If I do a movie, then I would have a bunch of lines and I would have to memorize them. So that could definitely help on a test, or anything you have to remember.

If you weren’t a comedian or actor, what else would you aspire to be?

That’s a hard question. I’ve always wanted to be a game maker. I am in love with gaming. I love the internet and video games. I also love sports, but I would definitely want to be a game maker.

So what video games do you enjoy the most?

I can definitely say Minecraft and I’ve been a Pokémon lover since I was born. But Minecraft has to definitely be my favorite game.

Are you allowed to put in ideas for any commercials or show ideas?

I don’t have a say in where anything goes on the set, unless it’s my things, like my backpack. You can see if you can peek in the kitchen, my backpack is over there. For in a scene, it takes me a while to get my backpack. I was like, maybe my backpack should go here, and they would put it there, and we would try it out. If it was good, it would stay there. But I don’t have a say in my lines, really. I could put in a little note and say maybe it could be funnier if I say blah blah blah. But I don’t usually do that a lot.

We’ve read online that you like to support animal shelters. How do you support the animal shelters?

My dad knew this man who does comedy shows for animal shelters. He started his own company and I did a bunch of shows. I would do one once a month or maybe twice a month. Or once every two months. It would be a crazy schedule.

You like to do stand-up, but what do you do when a joke you have told fails?

It sticks to you for a while. You have to think maybe you have to make it better. Maybe it was just the crowd — they weren’t feeling it. There was one joke that I had that didn’t really go through. And I thought about it for a while. It was like, “Wow, they didn’t really like that joke.” So I just said, “All right, I’ll cut it out. See how it does next show, and if I want to put it back in, I’ll put it back in and see how it goes.”

How has acting impacted your life?

Majorly. Let’s say you’re a normal kid, you go to school every day, but on the weekends you see your friends. When you’re an actor, you usually don’t have that, especially as a kid actor because you’re away from school so much of the year. You don’t make as many friends as you would normally do. So usually on the weekends if you’re off set, you don’t really have that many friends that you can say, “Hey, you want to hang out?”

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