Just For Laughs: Doo-Wopping with the Doo Wops
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!”
For more information – or to purchase tickets for the Ethnic Show or any other Just For Laughs show – go to: