Adam Ferrara is best remembered for his run on Denis Leary's "Rescue Me" playing Chief "Needles" Nelson, but he's also an acclaimed stand-up comedian. He'll be using his humor skills for a good cause this Saturday at the "Garden of Laughs" benefit, which features performances by top comedians including Ray Romano, Wanda Sykes, Darrell Hammond, Robert Klein and Brian Regan. The net proceeds from the show will be donated to the Garden of Dreams Foundation, a charity that has helped more than 215,000 needy children.
In addition, Ferrara can be seen on History Channel's "Top Gear," which is returning with new episodes on Jan. 29.
amNY spoke with Ferrara about the two very different shows.
How did you get involved with Garden of Dreams? My manager called me up and said there's the Garden of Dreams charity - would you be interested? I said, "Of course! I'd love to help the kids." I was just really honored that they called looking for me. It's really nice to be back in New York and be able to help out.
Had you worked with Garden of Dreams before? I have not, but I did watch the Rangers and the Knicks!
Are you excited to check out any particular stand-up set? I'm excited to see them again. I haven't seen Ray in a while. I haven't seen Wanda in a while. It's just nice to be back and see everyone. And every one of them will make me laugh.
You're a comedian, but you moved toward dramatic work with "Rescue Me." What was that process like? For me, I studied with Stephen Book, my acting coach, just learning the craft and just being prepared when you get the opportunity. And Denis Leary gave me that opportunity. He through me the ball. Denis actually gave me my first real dramatic monologue.
Which is harder: Doing drama or comedy? Acting is harder! Acting is hard. What I learned about acting is it's not fair and don't be late. Getting the f------ job is hard.
What's coming up in "Top Gear"? We're broadening a little bit. We took a trip to Mexico, which was fun. [In] the episode that I'm excited for people to see, I teach the other guys how to play football in cars.
That sounds dangerous. Yeah ... only If you don't do it right!
Any car in particular that you've always wanted to drive? Yeah, my ambition is I want to drive the Popemobile, with the Pope in it. Because I have a bunch of questions.
He's in his own dome, he won't able be able to hear you. Oh, he can hear me!
What else do you have going on? I'm going to be on "Nurse Jackie" this season, which was a lot of fun to do. We wrapped that in December. That's just a great show.
If you go: Adam Ferrara will be at the "Garden of Laughs" benefit on Saturday at the Theater at MSG, 4 Penn Plaza, 212-465-6073, $50-$125.
On TV: Ferrara is on "Top Gear" on History Channel, which returns for its season premiere on Jan. 29 at 9 p.m.
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