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Getting to Know Gino Durante
Q: When did you first know you wanted
to be a stand-up comedian?
A: I’ve always liked comedy. I went into acting first. I gravitated towards comedic roles and it was in college around the age of 26 when I finally decided that I wanted to become a stand-up comedian.
Q: When you decided you wanted to become a comedian, was your family supportive of this decision, and if so, in which way did they support you? If not, how did their opinions affect you?
A: My family is Italian, so culturally, comedy isn’t a safe field, they were concerned and were afraid I wasn’t going to be able to make a stable living environment. My mother comes to my shows more often than my father because of the difference in language. They never understood what my job is, but once they saw the way I was in front of a crowd, they wanted me to do what would make me happy.
Q: I read that you are trilingual. How did you learn all these languages?
A: My parents immigrated from Italy early on, so I learned some Italian at an Italian school, I went to French elementary and high school and later on I went to an English college. I speak Italian, French, English and a bit of Spanish.
Q: Who were your first inspirations as stand-up comedians? I personally like Jim Carrey and Robin Williams.
A: Jim Carrey is a genius. I also liked Eddie Murphy when he was still performing as a stand-up comedian. Sebastien Maniscalco was also a huge inspiration to me.
Q: Do your jokes come to you spontaneously when you’re with your friends, or do you have to sit down and think about them?
A: I usually keep a pad with me to write down notes if I am with my friends and something funny happens, or I write them on my phone. So, most of the time with my friends, and then I have to go home and formulate it to make sure it makes sense.
Q: What is the genre of your jokes (anecdotal, sarcastic, character comedy, ext.) and are your jokes PG-13?
A: Mostly PG. I use my body a lot (hand gestures, dance) and I joke about diversity. Not that younger kids wouldn’t be allowed to attend my shows, but I don’t think you would understand as much.
Q: In the past decades, many famous people have opened up about their struggles with alcohol, depression and financial instability. They seem to have common threads and draw on comedy for inspiration from their personal experiences. Was there a time in your life where you experienced any difficulty that you’d like to share?
A: Good comedy comes from personal experiences. I sometimes joke about dating and different cultures. The more relatable the joke is to your life, the better, because it resonates with an audience.
Q: Can you tell me about a time where you messed up in a performance? How did you come back from it or fix it?
A: There was this one time that I can remember that I missed a word which affected the punchline of the joke. If this happens in a performance, it’s better to just go through it, don’t stop or draw attention to it, otherwise it might affect the rest of your performance.
Q: Do you have any hidden talents?
A: I’m very good at gymnastics and I dance, mostly during [comedy] bits.
Q: I saw in a recent TV interview that you were auditioning for a role in a movie. Does acting interest you?
A: I used to audition for roles in movies, but now I am more into voice work, like animated movies, characters in movies and narrating certain movies.
Q: What was your first performance in front of a big crowd (when was it and how did it go)?
A: When I was five years old, my parents owned a reception hall, and sometimes they brought me with them and I danced in front of everyone, like 300 people. They passed around a hat and people would put money inside, and they made extra income!
Q: How do you transition your jokes?
A: After I’m done organizing them, I place them in order and make sure they have a link to one another. I make them relatable, so they can tie together. But I think it really depends on your style.
Q: Do you have a side-job right now or is comedy your full-time job?
A: I do have a side job, as an actor for medical trainees in their final exams. I pretend to be an injured person, so the students can “help me”. I might have to pretend I have some sort of illness or injury. It’s a really fun job. I enjoy it very much.
Q: Do you have any big upcoming shows, and will you be going on tour in 2018?
A: During the holiday season, I usually have a lot of shows. In December 2017 I had 17 shows, some of those at the Leonardo Da Vinci Center. I will be going on tour in 2018, travelling to Cornwall, Toronto, Ottawa and Hudson, and I am very excited to start using more Italian in my shows.
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