Sebastian Maniscalco – How He Climbed The Comedic Ladder To The Top

For the two decades that he’s been on the scene, Sebastian Maniscalco has moved from the back burner to become one of America’s most celebrated comedians of all time. His incredible stand-up routines have got him featured in Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days and 30 Nights, Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show and The Late Show with Craig Ferguson. What’s more? The father of two has also appeared in and voiced characters in six, well-received films. This article takes you through Maniscalco’s backstory; revealing how he climbed the comedic ladder to where he is today.

Who Is Sebastian Maniscalco?

Sebastian Maniscalco was born—Sebastian Joseph Maniscalco—on July 8, 1973, in Arlington Heights, Chicago, Illinois; to parents, Salvatore and Rose Maniscalco. By ancestry, the Maniscalco’s can be traced to Italy. However, they immigrated to the United States long ago and now hold American citizenship. Maniscalco’s father worked as a hairdresser while his mother was a homemaker. Growing up, he was raised as a Roman Catholic and even served as an altar boy at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Mount Prospect, Illinois. For all we know, none of Maniscalco’s family members was in the show business. However, they gave him the needed support to pursue his career.

He attended Rolling Meadows High School after which he proceeded to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; where he obtained a college degree. Fresh from college, Maniscalco moved to Los Angeles in 1998 to pursue his comedy career. He began performing at open mics in bars and bowling alleys while moonlighting as a waiter at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Seven years later, as his career grew, Maniscalco soon left waiting tables to perform full time at The Comedy Store in West Hollywood.

Here’s How He Got Famous As A Comedian

Comedy Specials

As Sebastian Maniscalco puts it, his performances and comedic philosophy were shaped by the likes of George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Brian Regan, Johnny Carson, John Ritter, Don Rickles, Andrew Dice Clay, and Bill Burr. He began doing performances, popularly called specials, on Comedy Central Presents. The first was released in June 2009, on Sebastian Live.

The ensuing years came with opportunities for the young comedian. His next special, What’s Wrong With People?, was aired on Showtime in January 2012. Then came Aren’t You Embarrassed?, which was released in November 2014. His next special, Why Would You Do That?, was taped at the Beacon Theatre in New York City and was released in 2016. In 2019, he appeared in Stay Hungry.

TV Shows & Documentaries

In 2008, Sebastian Maniscalco appeared on Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights–Hollywood to the Heartland, where he appeared alongside three other comedians, Ahmed Ahmed, John Caparulo, and Bret Ernst. The comedy documentary film follows the 30-day comedy tour of four stand up comedians. And was a box office hit; grossing over $600,000 in the box office.

That year, Maniscalco appeared on Russell Peters’ Best Night Ever, Comedy Central Presents. He also appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. In the nine years it aired, the show has played host to some of the most distinguished guests within and outside the United States; including South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Maniscalco’s appearance on the show exposed his career to millions of audiences.  Maniscalco also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Jay Leno Show, Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show and The Tonight Show.

Other Ventures: Acting and Book Authorship

More recently, Sebastian Maniscalco’s career has branched into acting and voice acting. Since 2017, he has acted and voiced characters in a couple of films and TV series including The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (2017), The House (2017), Green Book (2018), Tag (2018), Cruise (2018), Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (2016).

Together with fellow comedian, Pete Correale, Maniscalco co-runs a podcast, The Pete and Sebastian Show. The duo also run the show, Raw Dog Comedy channel 99, on Sirius XM satellite radio.

Asides films, TV shows, and podcasts, Sebastian Maniscalco is also a bestselling author. In February 2018, he published his memoir titled Stay Hungry; a book that became the basis for the Netflix special of the same title in January 2019. More recently, Maniscalco appeared as Joe “Crazy Joe” Gallo in the epic crime drama, The Irishman. The film is based on Charles Brandt’s epic novel, I Heard You Paint Houses, published in 2004.


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