Tammy Pescatelli’s comedy translates. Literally.
The former Ashtabula and Perry resident will bring her standup act to Cuyahoga Falls’ Funny Stop on Friday and Saturday, then not long after head off to the Netherlands for a show.
The country is both small and tightly knit, Pescatelli said in a recent telephone interview. “What gets passed around the country really gets passed around the country. Apparently they’ve taken several stateside comedians and translated their acts.” On YouTube, you can find a Pescatelli monologue from about eight years ago with Dutch subtitles.
And how is her humor in Dutch? “My family is still just as crazy, no matter where you’re from,” she said. Hence the overseas gig.
Family is still part of Pescatelli’s act, along with what she calls “finding the funny” — “taking something that happens in everyday life and wrapping your brain around it, and trying to find something funny in it. Otherwise you’d go crazy.”
Asked where she found the funny lately, Pescatelli immediately said, “How about the senator from Kentucky trying to slander Ashley Judd?” (When Judd was considering running for the U.S. Senate against Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, a secretly recorded meeting of McConnell and his team included plans to paint the actress as emotionally unbalanced and anti-Christian.) Judd, Pescatelli said, has starred in movies based on John Grisham novels — and now is in one of those novels.
“I don’t even care about politics,” Pescatelli added. “I care about stupidity. … [The discussion] is just plain stupid.
“The reality, that people don’t understand, is that in this day and age, everything you say, everything you do, every image you project, will come back to you. This isn’t 1942. You could stand on the steps of the White House in 1942 … and be naked, and say that the president was crazy, and it wouldn’t come back to you 10 years later. Now it’s coming back.”
Pescatelli’s YouTube experience reflects that, with videos going back years, to before she was married (to comedian-actor Luca Palanca) and before her 5-year-old son, Luca, was born, Some of those clips mean, she said, that “I’m pregnant in perpetuity. … I have the gestation period of three elephants.”
She is a different person from the one in those old clips, she said. But at least with video she can control, she tries to be careful about what ends up online. “I am well aware that it lives forever.”
That said, there may be new video coming, She is working with Jenny McCarthy on the development of a series based on the British hidden-camera comedy show Dirty Sexy Funny, where star Olivia Lee played different characters dealing with regular folks.
“We’ll see what happens ’cause I’m not dirty,’’ she said. ‘‘I don’t consider myself sexy but I am a little funny.”
And while she is working on the show, she will not only meet her existing standup commitments, but she also will take on new ones. “I will always be on the road,” she said, “I’m a standup comic, not an actor.”
At the same time, she does try to schedule her comedy performances so she can still spend plenty of time with her family — two-night stands like the one at the Funny Stop instead of one-nighters, so she can bring young Luca along.
Even as she maintains her ties to standup, she continues to explore other opportunities, and adds to her show-biz education. In 2011, she had a breakthrough when the WE network aired A Stand Up Mother. The reality series showed Pescatelli balancing her home life in Meadville, Pa., where she and her family still reside most of the time, and her comedy career. But WE pulled the show after two telecasts.
“The president of the network who brought our show in got fired in the middle of our season,” she said. “They put us on hold while the new president and his whole regime came in — and they don’t want to endorse anyone else’s shows.”
WE did eventually air the remaining episodes of the series, with little fanfare. (Pescatelli said she only knew they had aired when she found them on her DVR the next morning.) The network wanted more, she said, but this was a year and a half after the original episodes had finished taping. “My son was a lot older,” she said. “A year and a half in a toddler’s life is a huge difference. … And the politics were so draining.”
“I got what I needed out of it,” Pescatelli said. “It was a real lesson for me in show business, but at the end I was executive producer of a show that I created and sold. That was huge. I’m just a little girl from Perry, Ohio. That was pretty big to me. And it let me know I could do it again.”
Pescatelli appears at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Funny Stop, 1757 State Road, Cuyahoga Falls. Tickets are $10 and up. Call 330-923-4700.
Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. You can contact him at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.