Comedian Chris Distefano Talks Tracy Morgan, John Travolta, and His Ex-Con Dad During His Stern Show Debut
In a recent interview with comedian and TV personality Chris Distefano, he sat down with Howard for a candid conversation about his life and career. Distefano, a native of New York, shared anecdotes about his experiences in the entertainment industry, his unique upbringing, and his journey to becoming a successful comedian.
A Chance Encounter with John Travolta
Distefano recalled a pivotal moment in his career when he was invited to perform on “The Late Show” with David Letterman in 2013. As a pediatric physical therapist at the time, he was understandably nervous before taking the stage. However, his anxiety was alleviated when he received unexpected encouragement from Hollywood heartthrob John Travolta.
During a commercial break, Travolta stopped to compliment Distefano on his suit and struck up a conversation. Distefano mentioned that he was about to perform on TV for the first time, to which Travolta responded with reassuring words. He told Distefano that he had already done all the preparation and practice, and now it was time to enjoy the moment.
Travolta’s support extended beyond mere words. He reached out and touched Distefano’s heart, emphasizing the comedian‘s nervousness. Distefano humorously remarked that having John Travolta’s hand on his nipple was an unforgettable moment. Despite leaving before he could see Distefano’s performance, Travolta’s encouragement resonated with the young comedian, boosting his confidence.
A Serendipitous Encounter with Tracy Morgan
Following his successful performance on “The Late Show,” Distefano and his then-girlfriend encountered Tracy Morgan on the streets of Manhattan. After hearing about Distefano’s appearance on the show, Morgan congratulated him and expressed his pride. Distefano described the encounter as surreal and almost unbelievable, comparing his feelings to being on drugs.
The Healing Power of Laughter
Distefano shared that he turned to comedy as a defense mechanism during a difficult period in his life. As a child dealing with his parents’ divorce, he used humor to mask his sadness. He started performing stand-up comedy as a way to cope and found catharsis through making others laugh.
Comedy became not only a coping mechanism but also a way for Distefano to address the things that truly hurt him. He explained that his comedy always stems from personal experiences, allowing him to express and heal from his own pain. The ability to transform challenging moments into laughter has been his driving force in pursuing a career as a comedian.
A Determination to Achieve Specific Goals
Distefano shared that he had two specific goals in mind when he embarked on his journey as a stand-up comedian. Firstly, he aspired to perform in the iconic Madison Square Garden, where he used to watch basketball games with his father. Secondly, he wanted to create a sitcom based on his unique relationship with his father.
These goals hold deep personal significance for Distefano and serve as a reminder of the bond he shares with his dad. While he acknowledges that anything can happen, he expressed optimism that he is getting closer to achieving these aspirations.
Confronting Challenges Head-On
Distefano’s decision to leave his job as a pediatric physical therapist to pursue comedy was met with skepticism, even from his own principal. Despite facing doubts and challenges, he followed his passion and took risks. He shared an amusing anecdote about the New York City Board of Education contacting the police to investigate his work absences, only to end up watching his stand-up performance. The detectives provided some fashion advice, suggesting that Distefano get his suit tailored for his next appearance.
Breaking Stereotypes and Embracing Individuality
During the interview, Distefano also opened up about his personal life, including his experiences with relationships and societal expectations. He humorously mentioned that some of his previous girlfriends had mistaken him for being gay because of his unique interests and intellectual conversations with men. He emphasized that he embraces his individuality and doesn’t conform to societal norms.
Distefano’s candor about his experiences reflects the importance of breaking stereotypes and embracing one’s true self. His journey serves as a testament to the transformative power of vulnerability, laughter, and following one’s passions against all odds.
Chris Distefano’s interview on Howard Stern’s show offered an inside look into the life and career of a comedian. From chance encounters with Hollywood stars to personal revelations and hurdles, Distefano’s story is one of determination, resilience, and embracing one’s true self. It serves as an inspiration for anyone facing challenges or pursuing their dreams. The healing power of laughter and the importance of authenticity are powerful reminders that apply to all aspects of life.
<< photo by Suad Kamardeen >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.
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