Gianmarco is a hilarious standup comedian, actor and writer. He released a New York Emmy nominated comedy special Shelf Life, made his late night television debut on The Late Late Show with James Corden, appeared on Comedy Central, Netflix, PBS, and more. He was a season 8 winner of Amazon’s Comics Watching Comics and was a NPR 2020 comedy pick. He is a regular performer at the famed Comedy Cellar in New York and was selected for Just For Laughs Comedy Festival’s New Faces of Comedy.
Gianmarco was kind enough to answer some questions for Louisville Laughs.
Louisville Laughs: At what point did you know you wanted to be a comedian?
Gianmarco Soresi: After about five years of failing as an actor. I wrote an autobiographical play and noticed that all the positive feedback was from when I talked to the audience. So I wouldn’t say I wanted to be a comedian so much as that’s the only thing I had the talent for.
You’re a trained actor and received a degree in Musical Theatre in college. How does this influence your approach to standup? Do you think it gives you an edge over other comedians who don’t have this additional skill set?
It’s a double-edged sword, on one hand yeah I can use my theatrics to add a little extra juice to my comedy, but on the other hand all those theatrical tools can sometimes prevent you from portraying the most authentic version of yourself and/or developing your joke writing to its full potential because the delivery trumps the content. Ultimately my musical theatre training will be more useful when I inevitably host a terrible game show for millions of dollars.
Between performing standup all over the country, appearing in television and film, hosting your hit podcast The Downside with Gianmarco Soresi, and performing in your sketch team Uncle Function, you seem to stay extremely busy. How do all these different creative endeavors inform your comedy?
They each take so much goddamn time from my life that my psyche is whittled down to a husk and I’m then more able to access my subconscious where the better material awaits.
You released your special Shelf Life in 2020 which received nominations for three New York Emmy Awards. What did you learn from that experience? And was the complete creative control worth the extra effort that comes with self-producing?
The material in that special is imperfect, but I did it anyway because all those Covid jokes I wrote were going to expire and ultimately that special advanced my touring career more than anything else – so I learned to be less precious about sharing my work. Complete creative control is a nightmare, I’m so indecisive. Thank God I had two producers who had opinions I could disagree with and thus figure out what I really wanted.
You’ve performed on The Late Late Show with James Corden, JFL New Faces in Montreal, you’re a regular at the Comedy Cellar and countless New York City comedy clubs. What are some of your comedy goals? Who are some people you’d like to work with?
I would just like to not have to do written interviews in the hopes it helps move slow ticket sales. Aside from that, to work within the vicinity of Mulaney or Jeselnik would be fabulous.
What is the best advice you ever got that you actually used?
I used to have a joke about my girlfriend where the punchline was some hacky shit like, “Just kidding, I don’t have a girlfriend.” Paul Mercurio told me after the show that I was a better comic than to rely on that. I’ll never forgive him, but that’s the first time I started asking myself what my standards are for my comedy, outside of getting laughs.
What is your comedy horror story?
I performed at a benefit that I didn’t do enough research for, and the mid show auction was all for guns. Then the host brought me up by announcing ExxonMobile was the one sponsoring my appearance. My mom was there too. In my defense, I was paid the most money I’ve ever been paid for 20 minutes of stage time.
What is your comedy highlight?
Cashing that check.
Don’t miss your chance to see Gianmarco Soresi this weekend at Planet of the Tapes! Get your tickets here.