Chris Distefano has been making people laugh with his funny yet tortured family stories about his ex-convict father and mafioso grandfather since he quit doing physical therapy in 2013. He hosts his own podcast “Chrissy Chaos” and co-hosts the “Hey Babe!” podcast with Impractical Jokers’ Sal Vulcano. He starred in IFC’s “Benders” and co-hosted the Netflix game show “Ultimate Beastmaster.” He will make his Ithaca debut at the State Theater on May 6 at 7 p.m. with his “Right Intention, Wrong Move” tour.
Chris Distefano talked to the Ithaca Times about his tour, his comedy philosophy, the comics that inspired him and his current relationship with his father.
IT: Tell me about your current tour.
CD: You know, all my comedy’s pretty much about my family and pretty silly. It’s one of those things where it’s like, my goal is always to get the audience to forget about their problems for an hour and just listen to mine instead.
IT: What you do with your life stories is like what Richard Pryor did.
CD: Yup. You know, everyone can always relate to family. I also feel like I’m positive my material is original as it can be if I’m telling you a story that actually happened to me from my life and my family. That’s why I like doin’ that stuff. I feel like it doesn’t matter what race or religion you are. Everybody’s got a family, so [they] can identify in some way, shape or form.
IT: When did that hit you as a way of building your career?
CD: Really kinda from the beginning. I always wanted to do comedy about my dad, talk about my dad. I always had two goals. One: do comedy and talk about my dad. And the second goal is to sell out Madison Square Garden. So I’m one step closer. I’m doing Radio City [Music Hall in New York City] in September, and that’s sold out, and we added a show at the theater in Madison Square Garden, and that’s almost sold out. I’m hoping that after these two shows that I’m doing in September in the city, that I’ll maybe get the second part of my dream, which is doing the actual Garden. For me, and I think for most comics, the barometer is always ticket sales. It’s like, do you sell tickets and where do you sell tickets?
IT: Who made you laugh when you were a kid?
CD: I was a big Jim Carrey fan. Sam Kinison. Early Chris Rock, I loved. Bill Burr, Louis C.K. Those were really the guys that I would watch with my dad and my family and stuff.
IT: How is your relationship with your dad now?
CD: It’s great. My dad’s one of those guys who’s been in my corner and he’s always been very, very supportive of me. He’s an old school guy. Him and my mom got divorced when I was a kid, but he never said a bad word about her. He was always like, “That’s the mother of my kids. You’re my kid, so you two will always be the most important people in my life, no matter what.” He’s got ways about him, the way he grew up, coming from that lower New York way of living. He’s very supportive of me and whatever I wanna do.
“Right Intention, Wrong Move” Tour
May 6 at 7 p.m.
107 West State Street
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