Just For Laughs: Doo-Wop­ping with the Doo Wops

Montreal Times - - News -

For John Catucci and David Me­siano, bet­ter known as the satir­i­cal mu­si­cal duo the Doo Wops, the Just For Laughs com­edy fes­ti­val has been quite good to them.

It all started for them more than 15 years ago, when they won the fes­ti­val’s Home­grown Comic Com­pe­ti­tion, which led to their own “Com­edy Now” TV spe­cial (which was nom­i­nated for a Canadian Com­edy Award). From there, they have done a num­ber of sub­se­quent ap­pear­ances at Just For Laughs, in­clud­ing galas, the cross-Canada tour (where they per­formed along­side fel­low Canadian comics Russell Peters and Jeremy Hotz), an Amer­i­can tour and the Wiseguys of Com­edy tour, not to men­tion tour­ing in clubs across North Amer­ica, as well as per­form­ing at the Mel­bourne (Aus­tralia) Com­edy Fes­ti­val.

“Just For Laughs has been an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for us, and get­ting to tour across Canada with Russell and Jeremy was an in­cred­i­ble mo­ment in our ca­reer,” en­thused both John and David dur­ing a re­cent phone in­ter­view. And this time, the Doo Wops takes the next Just For Laughs step and go from be­ing wiseguys of com­edy to “rep­re­sent­ing” Italy at this year’s Eth­nic Show, which runs for a string of 19 shows at Club Soda and Metropo­lis from July 12-27. Join­ing them will be host Maz Jo­brani, along with Jes­sica Kir­son, Steve Byrne, Mike Rita and Vlad Caa­mano.

The Doo Wops have their ge­n­e­sis around 18 years ago, when John and David were univer­sity stu­dents, and wanted to see how they could com­bine com­edy and mu­sic into a sin­gle mu­si­cal duo act. Their first show as a duo hap­pened at the same time at the old Sec­ond City venue in Toronto. They asked for stage time for a re­vue show called “Sketchy at Best” and got it; how­ever, eth­ni­cally speak­ing, their act did not have an Ital­ian an­gle to it.

“Orig­i­nally, we por­trayed a pair of Ar­gen­tinean folk singers with ridicu­lous ac­cents who did cover ver­sions of songs as if they were sung by the Gipsy Kings, but took them­selves way too se­ri­ously,” said Catucci. “I even wore a vest that I al­ways threw into the crowd with a great deal of flair.”

“How­ever, it got to the point where we wrote ma­te­rial for two shows: one for those two Ar­gen­tinean char­ac­ters and the other for our­selves, and we de­cided to write more ma­te­rial for our­selves. But I still miss those Ar­gen­tinean guys,” said Me­siano.

Catucci and Me­siano ad­mit that they will rep­re­sent “Ital­ian con­tent” as they per­form in their very first Eth­nic Show, but add that Ital­ian-Cana­di­ans are quite dis­tinct from their paisans in the U.S. “Ital­ian Cana­di­ans are very nice and not as loud and less abra­sive than their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts. They ad­mit they are Cana­di­ans first, but still main­tain a con­nec­tion to Italy,” said Catucci.

“Our set will not be strictly Ital­ian-re­lated con­tent; how­ever, there might – no, most likely – be nu­dity,” he added.

The pair re­al­ize that mu­si­cal com­edy duos are very few and far be­tween, and for them, the key to sur­vival in such a limited genre in the com­edy world is their on­go­ing abil­ity to make peo­ple laugh … and have a good sound at the same time.

“If you are funny, yet your sound is crap, the au­di­ence won’t be in­clined to lis­ten. Do­ing an act of com­edy and mu­sic is like do­ing a sta­dium con­cert that just hap­pens to be funny, but with­out the on­stage fire­works. But if those el­e­ments of sound and laugh­ter work out, it can be a very pow­er­ful feel­ing,” said Me­siano.

When they are not tour­ing as the Doo Wops, Catucci and Me­siano delve into their own per­for­mance ven­tures. Me­siano con­tin­ues to au­di­tion for roles in var­i­ous movies and TV shows; and Catucci re­cently ended a five-sea­son run of the Food Net­work se­ries “You Gotta Eat Here!”, where he vis­ited a se­ries of pop­u­lar North Amer­i­can eater­ies and sam­pled their unique dishes (in­clud­ing Mon­treal’s Main Deli on St. Laurent Boule­vard).

“I did 150 episodes of ‘You Gotta Eat Here!’.And if you’re on a show that is on Canadian tele­vi­sion for more than one sea­son, that’s quite an ac­com­plish­ment,” he said.“Right now, I am de­vel­op­ing a new se­ries that will be big­ger and more de­li­cious!”

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For more in­for­ma­tion – or to pur­chase tick­ets for the Eth­nic Show or any other Just For Laughs show – go to:

www.mtl­times.ca

John Catucci

David Me­siano

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