Lo­cal fun­ny­man gets a hand from top comic Se­bas­tian Manis­calco with spe­cial recorded at The Vic

Chicago’s Pat McGann does a comedy spe­cial at The Vic with help from stand-up star Se­bas­tian Manis­calco

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - Tricia De­spres is a lo­cal free­lance writer.

BY TRICIA DE­SPRES For the Sun-Times

Years be­fore the sold-out are­nas and the movie roles and the ac­co­lades that now list him as one of the top comics in the world, very few peo­ple knew the name Se­bas­tian Manis­calco.

That is, un­til Vince Vaughn in­tro­duced him to the world.

Vaughn fea­tured the some­what rookie co­me­dian and fel­low Mid­west­erner in his 2006 road­show film “Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights” and it changed Manis­calco’s life.

And Manis­calco never for­got it.

“I told my­self that if I ever get in the po­si­tion to get be­hind some­one like that, I would do it,” Manis­calco says dur­ing a re­cent Zoom chat. “When you are good, good things hap­pen.”

And good things are now hap­pen­ing for lo­cal stand-up co­me­dian Pat McGann.

“Pat is funny and funny peo­ple need to be seen,” ex­plains Manis­calco, who grew up in Ar­ling­ton Heights and at­tended North­ern Illi­nois Univer­sity. “You know how you like to share a good recipe or a good restau­rant? Ba­si­cally, I’m just do­ing that for him.”

Ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced by Manis­calco, McGann’s first comedy spe­cial ti­tled “Se­bas­tian Manis­calco Presents Pat McGann: When’s Mom Gonna Be Home?” is set for re­lease Tues­day on Com­cast, Ama­zon Prime Video, Spec­trum, Ap­ple TV and more via the Comedy Dy­nam­ics Net­work.

“Pat’s been break­ing his ass for the last 10 to 12 years and he fi­nally has his shot to show the world what he’s all about,” Manis­calco ex­plains about McGann, who had the dream slot of his tour opener be­fore COVID-19 oblit­er­ated live comedy. “Frankly, I think Pat has been un­der­served in the comedy com­mu­nity. He’s one of the best co­me­di­ans out there. He’s been fly­ing un­der the radar for so long and this is his comin­gout party.”

Filmed at The Vic Theatre dur­ing a span of two sold out shows last Septem­ber, the show cen­ters on McGann’s hi­lar­i­ous, real-life mus­ings of a hus­band and father deal­ing with the sad re­al­ity that he isn’t 20 any­more.

“It was crazy that night to ac­tu­ally fol­low Se­bas­tian, who’s like the big­gest comic ever,” laughs McGann, who grew up and still lives in the Bev­erly/Mor­gan Park area and grad­u­ated from Marist High School. “I ac­tu­ally used to live in the neigh­bor­hood that The Vic is in, so it re­ally felt like a home­com­ing. The en­ergy was out­stand­ing.”

And McGann nailed it that night. Manis­calco is used to high-cal­iber per­for­mances from his pal.

“I’m al­ways look­ing for a guy that re­ally kills it be­fore me so the au­di­ence is up and run­ning, and Pat’s al­ways done that for me,” says Manis­calco, now based in Los An­ge­les. “Some co­me­di­ans would rather have the [opener] go out there and not do as well due to their own in­se­cu­ri­ties or what­ever, but not me.”

For two guys who have spent a ma­jor­ity of their adult life mak­ing peo­ple laugh, both ad­mit it was rather dif­fi­cult to ac­tu­ally watch the spe­cial, to hear the au­di­ence, to re­mem­ber a pre-pan­demic time when the world was a much dif­fer­ent place.

“I miss it so much,” McGann ad­mits of do­ing stand-up comedy in front of an in­per­son au­di­ence. “It’s a shock to the sys­tem to all of a sud­den have that taken away from you. You crave it. You have the need to know when it’s go­ing to come back. Be­fore you know it, you can spin out into a mood and be like, ‘What the hell is hap­pen­ing?’ It’s fun to have this last moment.”

The emo­tional im­pact of that last state­ment brings the Zoom in­ter­view to a brief halt.

“The first six weeks of the whole quar­an­tine, I was not in a good place,” Manis­calco says qui­etly. “My thoughts need to be ex­pressed through stand-up comedy, and the val­i­da­tion that my thoughts are funny keeps me in a good mood. If I can’t get this [stuff ] out, I go around with an abun­dance of ten­sion, and try­ing to re­lease that. And so far, I haven’t found that re­lease.”

Af­ter a brief si­lence the two co­me­di­ans turn to hu­mor again.

“I’m not writ­ing a lot, I’m cry­ing a lot,” McGann says in a loud voice. “I mean, this is su­per sad. Do you want a joke about be­ing un­em­ployed? Pull up a chair.”

Manis­calco lets out a huge laugh, and all of a sud­den, all is right with the world.

Pat McGann

Pat McGann is shown in his new comedy spe­cial “Se­bas­tian Manis­calco Presents Pat McGann: When’s Mom Gonna Be Home?” taped at The Vic Theatre.

TODD ROSEN­BERG PHO­TOG­RA­PHY PHO­TOS

Se­bas­tian Manis­calco (left) and Pat McGann are pho­tographed at the tap­ing of “Se­bas­tian Manis­calco Presents Pat McGann: When’s Mom Gonna Be Home?” at Chicago’s Vic Theatre in 2019.

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