On August 1st, 1981 the MTV network went live and spread the joy of the new trend of music videos. It was a way for fans to connect with their favorite artist all from the comfort of their living room. Then in 1984 in New York at the famous Radio City Music Hall was the very first Video Music Awards Show (VMAs). Now 38 years later MTV has grown to be one of the most popular networks among teens. With the VMAs, the host has always either been a comedian or a teen pop star. This year the Chicago Sicilian stand up comic, Sebastian Maniscalco, has answered the call.
Right now Maniscalco is considered the king of stand up comedy, having a brand of humor that relates to a wide audience. I can say from personal experience attending one of Sebastian’s events for his book, “Still Hungry,” I was amazed at the age range that turned out. Many comedians’ humor only hits a certain age demographic. Even an older lady around the age of 76 praised Maniscalco for his talent and comedy. Saying he was the cleverest and smartest comedian she had ever heard, and let’s remember folks that she lived during the Johny Carson era. But it is true, Maniscalco’s brand of humor can make an elementary school kid to my 100-year-old aunt laugh.
In Italian terms, I would consider him a “Made Guy” due to the fact that he really had to work his way to the top. He grew up during that comedic era where you had to show up every night and get on stage so you could get at least five minutes of stand up time. It was a time when only the hardest working comedian survived, not like today, when you have wannabe comedians take the easy route on “America’s, Got Talent” or “Bring the Funny.” He really earned his place at the top and you can see it shine through in his performance.
Now the real question is what will Maniscalco bring to the VMAs? He definitely checks the box of hilarious stand up on his resume, but when it comes to hosting or acting I believe those areas are lacking. Usually in the past when a comedian hosted the VMAs they had a lengthy resume of TV or film credits, usually in comedies. Granted he has had some small roles, one notably in “The Green Book” and he will be making an appearance in Martin Scorsese’s new film on Netflix “The Irishman.” But those have been pretty dramatic Italian American roles, we still haven’t seen him play a lot of comedic characters. But as people will tell you, Maniscalco prefers to stick to stand up, because it’s truly what he loves and wants to do with the rest of his life. I won’t lie, I’m not sure what he has planned, but I’m confident that it’s going to be something that will blow the roof off at the VMAs and take his career to an even higher level. It’s like tuning in to watch the Super Bowl only for the commercials, but the commercials are an Italian guy that is really funny. Overall I’m glad to see Sebastian Maniscalco join the ranks of other Italian comedic self “Made Guys” such as Danny DeVito, Janeane Garofalo, Nick Cutelli, Ray Romano, and Lisa Lampanelli just to name a few.