Five Questions with Comedian Tammy Pescatelli
Tammy Pescatelli will be bringing the laughs to Boston on the king of comedy holidays as the Last Comic Standing alum kicks off her string of performances on April Fool’s Day.
The veteran stand-up comic recently caused quite a stir when she called out Amy Schumer on Twitter for allegedly stealing one of her jokes. After Schumer fired back and flat out denied lifting any material, Pescatelli apologized on the Opie with Jim Norton Show for going a bit “too far.”
While Pescatelli thinks the situation could’ve been handled better, she admits that it was actually sort of a good thing.
“Although it was hard thing for me to go through personally the way things went down, I think it was good for the whole comedy community,” Pescatelli said. “And my god, I gave female comics around the country more work than ever. They were blogging and talking and posting, whether it was in support or against.”
Check out what else she had to say about joke stealing, going on tour with Donnie and Jenny Wahlberg, and more.
Everybody has a Boston story. What’s yours?
I happened to be there one time when they were destroying the arena where the Celtics played. I went over and got a piece of the wood. I’m a big fan. I even had a bird when I was a kid and I named him Larry. For some reason, I think I was a Bostonphile. I just always enjoyed it so much.
What was it like doing the “Dirty, Sexy, Funny” comedy tour with Donnie and Jenny? Do you think they have a knack for stand-up?
They are both hysterical. They really play off each other. She has comedic timing like an old, ’50s sitcom star. Then Donnie—here was the greatest part—being in Boston with a Wahlberg, I can only equate it to being at the Vatican with the Pope. I mean, seriously.
You’ve talked about the topic of joke stealing a lot recently following the controversy with Amy Schumer. Why are comedians so protective over their jokes?
I haven’t talked about it ad naseam because what should’ve been a conversation between a couple people blew up. I think I was the least aggrieved in the situation, but it kind of went way out of the box. It became a personal thing, when really, it’s just business. That’s the difference.
One of the things that’s happening right now, and it’s less about comedians, these meme companies that are taking comics’ jokes and not even giving them a quote. I just spent my own money hiring an attorney only to just get the quote. It’s plagiarism… Originality is rare in this day and age. I think it was blown way far out of proportion than it should’ve been, but it does count because again, every joke that someone tells, that’s stream of revenue. Especially when you’re a professional. The problem is the average citizen thinks we’re talking about, “Two guys walked into a bar.”
It seems to be a problem even in a comedy town like Boston. So many local comics do the same “You know you’re from Worcester” or wherever jokes.
There is the question. When this whole thing went awry, I think it became a personal attack when originally it was conversation between myself and two friends. Unfortunately, it was on Twitter, it wasn’t a personal attack on my end, for sure. There’s not a professional comic who can stand and say, for sure 1000 percent, that everything they say is original because we do retain things, there is such a thing as parallel thinking. But, you don’t parallel think in the same sentence form. So we all just have to watch ourselves. Although it was hard thing for me to go through personally the way things went down, I think it was good for the whole comedy community. And my god, I gave female comics around the country more work than ever. They were blogging and talking and posting, whether it was in support or against.
I know you’re a big UFC fan. If you could step into the Octagon with another comedian, who would it be?
Let me find somebody who is weaker and older than me. I’m too old to fight now. I don’t even like Twitter wars… I think I’ll go fight Lenny Clarke because he’s my buddy. He’d probably be laughing at me so hard that I’d win.
Tammy Pescatelli performs at Laugh Boston Friday, April 1 and Saturday April 2.
This interview has been edited and condensed.