Riveting humorist, alluring impressionist and compelling actor, Mario Cantone, will be appearing at The Ridgefield Playhouse on February 26, where he will be showcasing his an avant-garde witticism, as well his edgy celebrity impressions and infused musical variety.
Celebrated essentially for his role on Sex In The City and as captivating guest host on The View, the audacious comedian interrupted his vacation in order to speak about his upcoming performance and nearly everything under the sun. He was contagiously funny, extremely candid and soulfully humble.
The name of your touring engagement is On the Way to Broadway. What surprises do you have for your audience?
"People know my one man show, Laugh Whore, it’s in the vein of that. It’s a one man variety show. I have a band, I have an opening number, I do stand up, and I bash reality shows because I hate them. There will be celebrity observations, music and musical impressions. Liza will make an appearance, Bruce Springsteen will be making an appearance, Judy Garland comes back from the dead and makes an appearance, so it’s a big mishmash of musical, comical variety. It’s pretty edgy here and there. I’m not Florence Henderson, although she’s been a dirty girl, I know her."
I interviewed two comedians the other day, who are tremendous fans of yours.
"Really. I guarantee you they were heterosexual men."
Not at all, they were gay.
"They were gay male comedians, well that’s nice to know."
One of them confessed the fact that you are very underrated actor. Do you think you’re underrated?
"YES! As an actor I do, as a comedian, I think it’s one’s opinion. I think that the people that love me, love me, and the people that don’t, don’t. You can’t please everybody. Yes, I’m underrated, but when your personality it’s tough to prove. I’ve done five Broadway shows, one of them being my one man show. I’m doing another play, another off-Broadway play with Ralph Macchio, called A Room Of My Own. It’s in Italian American comedy that is really funny."
When and where can it be seen?
"Well it’s only for a month. It’s at the Abington, which is an off-Broadway theater on 36th St. in New York City. It begins February 13 through March 13. Then I’m off on vacation again. As soon as I’m done with the job, even if it’s a job for one week, I must reward myself."
Your husband is hot by the way.
"Isn’t he though? Actually on February 6, we are doing the Lincoln Center, American Song Book. We are doing a concert together, which we’ve never done before. He’s got the voice! I just belt like Ethel Merman, he’s got a real beautiful voice."
You have accomplished many things. You are a Broadway star, a television personality, you’re in films, you’re a comedian, a singer, a married man, is there anything you still dream of achieving?
"I’d like to have a series. Even if it’s a drama, I don’t care. I did a pilot called Its A Man’s World, with Don Johnson and Ellen Barkin. It was so good, but NBC did not pick it up. I’d like to do a series where I am a regular, where I have a contract and where I’m making a little money. I talk about reality shows, that’s the stuff that I get offered, but I won’t do it."
If you were forced to watch all of the reality shows except one, which one wouldn’t you watch?
"That’s an interesting question. Probably the Housewives. I think they are ridiculous. The Jersey ones are all Italian, how embarrassing! It’s interesting because all of the networks, even the cable networks, are not interested in a scripted Italian American comedy. Nobody. There are many Italian comedians, like myself who try to do it, but they are not interested. Instead they will put them on television, and make them look like freaks, flipping over tables and stabbing each other with butter knives, I mean it’s ridiculous."
What advice would you give your younger self?
"RUN! Don’t do it! The advice I would give my younger self is, I probably shouldn’t have been so picky and choosy, because I had no right to be. Although, I still am sometimes. Now that I’m older I really can be. When I was younger I should have probably done more things. There were things that I said no to that I shouldn’t have. I also think that I would tell myself that everything is going to work out fine. Just keep doing it, and just keep performing. The thing is that I’m a personality. When you came up in the 80’s and 90’s and you were gay, you were giving up about two thirds of your work. Now it’s changing, thank God. I don’t know any other gay male comedians, where are they? It’s very hard for them, especially the men to do stand up. I’m not talking about the drag performances, i’m talking about the straight stand up. It’s hard for them because a lot of gay people don’t go to comedy clubs. Therefore you’re not going to see gay comedians. Luckily I crossed over that, which is great. When the gays come to see me, and they are forced to sit down and watch, it’s usually really great. The majority of my audience, especially in the New York, are straight. I would like more gays to come see me. They don’t really know what I do. They see me for two minutes on Sex in the City, or The View, and they don’t really know the scope of what I do as an entertainer on stage for an hour and a half. So I beg all of the Connecticut homosexuals, come to the Ridgefield Playhouse!"
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