We've asking your favorite Chicago athletes 10 questions about what they're doing during the COVID-19 related stay at home orders. But this week, we're making an exception and checking in with Chicago native and comedian Sebastian Maniscalco.
Pat Boyle: It’s time for another edition of 10 Questions With… and we are joined by Chicago’s own, he’s an actor, he’s one of the funniest people on the planet… Sebastian Maniscalco. Thanks for doing this, Sebastian. How you holding up?
Sebastian Maniscalco: Uh… I don’t know what day this is on the quarantine.. if it’s 21, 28 but, uh... listen, I’ve probably cooked everything I know how to cook. I could probably open up a restaurant after this thing’s over, but, uh.. We’re trying to manage through. There’s a lot of other people in this world that are- are less fortunate, so my heart goes out to them, but I need to go back to work.
PB: Amen to that. And you’re- you’re hunkered down with- you’ve got two little ones and your wife, right?
SM: Yeah, so I got a wife and I got, uh- I got a 10-month son and a three-year-old daughter so, uh… I went from being a comedian to a preschool teacher overnight.
PB: If you had to be locked inside with one athlete during this quarantine, who would it be?
SM: I’m a Chicago guy, I have to say Michael Jordan. That’s one guy that I’ve been dying to meet my entire life. I saw him maybe last year at a restaurant in New York City. He was- He was going out of the restaurant. I was sitting down. I was like... aw struck. I mean, I grew up on Jordan and, uh.. I wouldn’t mind picking his ear on- although I can’t wait for this documentary that comes out. I’m so happy they moved it up so, uh… yeah, Jordan.
PB: Alright, so what family member have you been keeping in touch with most during the quarantine?
SM: Outside my immediate family here, it would have to be…. my sister. Uh, we FaceTime pretty much everyday. She’s on lockdown. She lost her job so, uh… we’re chatting pretty much everyday, um, but yeah… we try and keep a light heart, you know. Laughing a lot. You know, just like everybody else. Everybody’s getting used to this kind of new normal, um, so we’re… Th- The problem I’m having is structure with my day. I just find myself wandering around the house a lot, and I’m trying to stay focused on one task. My wife and I haven’t watched one movie during this, uh- this whole quarantine.
SM: Yeah. I mean… by the time we’re done with the day we have dinner and we go to bed. So there’s been no movie-watching. We watched this Tiger King, which I didn’t think was that good. Everybody was like raving about it and I was like alright. The only thing I really saw interesting in that documentary was the woman who lost her arm and then went back to work the next day. (Laughs)... You’ve got people in this country taking six months off for carpal tunnel. This woman went back- went back to feeding lions after thirty-six hours.
PB: How about people saying that The Irishman was long but it took six or seven episodes to do Tiger King?
SM: Yeah, right. I mean...The Irishman was a long movie at three and a half hours, I think. But um… the Tiger King, you know whatever, seven- eight hour docuseries and people didn’t say anything about that.
PB: So how’s it been going uh...schooling your young daughter- your three-year old?
SM: Tough, you know. I mean, uh… doing arts and crafts. We’re doing, uh, we’re doing a lot of baking. We made cupcakes yesterday… taking a lot of walks. I’m walking more than a senior citizen at a mall so, uh… yeah there’s been a lot of- there’s been a lot of activity, but we’re running out of things to do.
PB: Besides cooking, have you picked up any other hobbies? You working on anything else?
SM: Told myself I was going to be fluent in Italian by the end of this and haven’t picked up one Italian book at all. I, uh- I was so bored yesterday I pressure-washed my driveway, so that’s where I’m at.
PB: What do you miss most about being off the road for a month now?
SM: I think work for me is kind of my lifeline. It’s my therapy. Going up on stage, making a group of strangers laugh at what I think is funny has definitely helped me cope with you know, an angst and a frustration that I deal with. Just watching people behave and to get that out on the open is, uh- is kind of like my therapy. So for me not to be doing standup is a huge adjustment. I’ve been doing this for 22... 22 years and this is the longest stint I’ve ever went without doing it, so- and I just miss like the people. I just miss hearing laughs. I just miss working. Working for me is, uh, something that I really enjoy doing. It’s not like I have a job that I hate, so for me to be pulled away from my passion has been a definite adjustment.
PB: When you want to work on something, you can go to the comedy store or wherever- do you find yourself running something by your wife to see if there’s- or the Amazon guy drops something off, you try to get some sort of reaction?
SM: I mean here and there I’ll do some stuff maybe with my family on a Zoom call or a Skype or what have you. Not that I’ll say ‘here, listen to this one’. I- my comedy is more organic and it just happens in the quirks of conversation so.. Yea I mean I’ve done that but for me the true test of what the material is, is getting in front of a live audience and like working out the beats, the physicality behind it all and, uh, I just can’t do it right now.
PB: What’s your go-to quarantine meal?
SM: Steak. I’ve been doing some unbelievable steak. I really enjoy cooking meat. Although, I might be dead of coronary heart disease before the coronavirus gets me with the amount of cholesterol I’ve been taking in but, yeah I like ‘em. We just had some steak last night with a nice baked potato and, uh, that’s kind of my go-to. However, I did make pizza for one of the first times in a, uh, pizza oven that I just got so uh… that was very difficult. People say pizza is easy.. It’s- it’s- it’s not an easy thing to make.
PB: Wow. So you said you haven’t been watching much tv or many movies right?
SM: Yeah, I mean the only thing I really watched was the Tiger King and…. 60 Minutes (laughs).
PB: No classic games? They’ve been running back a lot of the, you know, the ‘97, ‘98 Bulls championship runs. I don’t know if you’re getting them obviously out there in California. We’ve been running them on NBC Sports Chicago.
SM: Honest to God, I have not put on the TV. I’ve been totally immersed in my family and not really looking at the news. I haven’t watched one press conference. When this thing first started, I was really looking at Twitter a lot and- and Facebook but everytime you look it’s just so depressing.. the death count, the ‘this’ and ‘that’ ...so I just kind of like tapped out. Just spending time with my daughter and my son. *phone rings* Oh God... sorry. And, uh- and that’s about it.Just doing interviews. Interviews like call and I’m like yeah I’ll get on and talk for fifteen to twenty minutes. So that’s pretty much been my days.
PB: How’s your dad holding up? You know, the big question a lot of guys have is, you know, where they’re going to get their haircut now. I imagine he’s a- he’s a popular guy on the street.
SM: Well, my dad, you know, when this first started, you know, he didn’t want to take off work because he’s like a bull. This guy- he’s going to work ‘til he dies. He’s 74 years old, he’s still doing hair. I had to tell him- I go ‘Dad would you go home?’ You know.. ‘There’s a full blown pandemic and you’re doing dye jobs.’ So I finally got him to stay home, but yeah, he uh- he’s chomping at the bit too. This guy wants to get back to work, and uh- and you know, he’s- he’s got nothing to do. My dad doesn’t have any hobbies. It’s not like- and I don’t either. I’m not building like a battleship in my basement or have like a train track or anything like that. My hobby is my comedy and once that’s taken away, I got nothing to do.
PB: How you staying in shape?
SM: Actually, I’m doing pilates via FaceTime with a pilates instructor that we- that we know out here. So we’re just doing some pilates and taking walks around the neighborhood, so that’s kind of my exercise regimen.
PB: Alright, last one. How’s the- how’s the toilet paper situation?
SM: I’ve been ready for a pandemic for the last 15 years so… I’m the guy that always has the things that you might need like, uh, we live in earthquake country over here, so I have a grab-and-go bags just in case, you know, we don’t have any food or water for a while. I got like a generator just in case the- the power’s cut off and then if the generator’s cut off, I got like a gas backup. So I’ve had toilet paper pretty much… I had toilet packet back- toilet paper back in 2017, so I’m good.
More 10 questions: