Sebastian Maniscalco — sound familiar? The comedian may not be a household name but he has already done something on Long Island no other artist has. He sold out 10 shows at The Paramount in Huntington Feb. 1-7. In fact, tickets are so hot they are reselling for up to $500 on StubHub.
“We were very surprised by the quick nature in which all the tickets went,” says Adam Ellis, The Paramount’s marketing director. “The shows sold out as fast as we could add them.”
This is not an easy feat for someone who doesn’t have a hit movie or a popular sitcom. Maniscalco made his bones the old-fashioned way . . . on the road.
“I had a grassroots approach to stand-up comedy,” says Maniscalco, 43. “After the show I’d go out in the lobby, thank everybody for coming, take photos and sell my DVDs.”
His trio of Showtime specials, “What’s Wrong With People?” in 2012, “Aren’t You Embarrassed?” in 2014 and “Why Would You Do That?” in 2016, continued to build steam. But it was when his routines were broken into YouTube clips that his popularity began to grow.
Teresa Frisina, 53, of East Islip, caught Maniscalco on a shared Facebook clip about how nobody answers the door at their house anymore. She was hooked.
“As an Italian-American I can relate to his material. It brings back memories of my grandparents,” says Frisina, who has tickets for Thursday night. “I think the social media gave him massive exposure. One person shares a clip on their page and hundreds can see it.”
Maniscalco’s material comes from his upbringing in a traditional Italian family in the suburbs of Chicago.
“The content I’m covering in my stand-up has to do primarily with family. I think that type of comedy might be underserved. It seems to be resonating,” Maniscalco says. “These days a lot of people are reminiscing about how things once were.”
Part of what makes Maniscalco stand out is the way he peppers his comedy with vocal inflection, facial expressions and body movements.
“I don’t know how to tell a story any other way,” he admits. “The act-outs adds an element of surprise. The audience doesn’t know when it’s coming.”
Much like his inspiration, Michael Jackson, Maniscalco believes in delivering a big show.
“I want to give the crowd an experience that they will talk about with their friends and family,” he says. “From the time I come out on stage to the time I leave, I don’t want these people to come up for air. I literally want their faces to hurt from laughing so hard.”
John Hammersley, 49, of Garden City, got turned onto Maniscalco’s comedy by his sister-in-law. Now they are going to see him together with their spouses at The Paramount on Saturday.
“There’s no lull with Sebastian — he goes from one joke to another, and he’s all over the place,” Hammersley says. “He’s very athletic and brings a certain energy to the stage.”
KEEPING IT CLEAN
Surprisingly, Maniscalco does all this while working clean, as his crowd consists of whole families ranging from 12-year-olds to seniors.
“It’s my upbringing and who I am. Those other type of topics don’t work in my act,” he says. “It’s rare that grandma and her grandchildren can enjoy something together as a family. I don’t want to let them down.”
Will he come back to do more shows at The Paramount for those who couldn’t get tickets?
“We hope so,” Ellis says. “But his next stop could very well be Madison Square Garden.”
WHEN | WHERE 7 and 9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 8 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, the Paramount, 370 New York Ave. in Huntington
INFO 631-673-7300, paramountny.com
ADMISSION $69.75-$250 (sold out)