Top 15 Comedians

Anthony DeVito#7. ANTHONY DEVITO

 

Astoria comedian Anthony DeVito remembers well the moment he realized he wanted to be a comedian, during a live performance by none other than the greatest of comedy greats, Richard Pryor.

“I was a little kid and he was talking about really heady political stuff,” he said of attending a Pryor show while on a family trip to Las Vegas. “Then he did a bit on farts and [my mom and I] were both laughing and I was like, ‘this is amazing.’ I was blown away. I knew I wanted to do that.”

And while he harbored a deep love of comedy since, DeVito decided on a decidedly different professional route after graduating from the University of Miami, becoming an architect at a New Jersey firm.  However it didn’t take long, he said, to realize the job wasn’t the best fit.

“A couple months into working at the first place I was like ‘oh shit, this is a big problem,’” he said.
He quit his architecture job and worked for Habitat for Humanity for a year, during which he also took improv classes and began writing standup material, although he didn’t make it onto a stage for years.

“Comedy is a thing that I held nearest to me,” he said. “For whatever reason, it clicked the most. That’s frightening, the idea of failing at what you love the most. That was a horrifying thought.”

DeVito eventually conquered his fears, taking the stage for the first time at pal Greg Stone’s performance at a Montclair State fundraiser after another comedian didn’t show up.

“I made [Stone] come up with me and stand in the back, which was kind of weird in front of 400 people,” he said. “I think the audience liked me, but I think they knew my story. This guy’s shaking, there’s another guy on stage with him, he’s fumbling through everything, he’s apologizing after every joke he tells. I don’t think I even used my real name.”

It took another four years after his initial performance before he decided to fully commit to comedy as a profession, moving to Astoria and hitting open mics throughout the city. Although his family was always supportive, he says they were nonetheless a bit surprised by his career shift.

“I come from a pretty big Italian family who all talk a lot,” he said. “I’m a pretty shy guy, so they were just like ‘We didn’t even know you talked!’ You want to be a comedian? That’s crazy. But okay, sure, go for it.”

Go for it he did, and since DeVito has enjoyed a range of successes including being named one of the “New Faces” at the 2012 Montréal Just for Laughs Festival, winning Caroline’s March Madness in 2015, and performing at festivals such as the 2014 Boston Comedy Festival and 2013 SF Sketchfest. He’s also appeared on TV Land’s The Jim Gaffigan Show.

And despite six years in the business, DeVito says he’s still in awe of his job.

“It’s work, but it’s also like, I write jokes and do them for a living, that’s the craziest thing,” he said. “To be able to do that, on paper it’s crazy that that’s a profession and that’s also the thing that I love. It blows my mind everyday.”

Check out his website for upcoming performances.

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Posted by on Dec 30 2015. Filed under It's List, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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