Chris Distefano comes out of old-school New York City.
How old school? The Bronx-born actor Chazz Palminteri introduces him onstage for his first hour special, Size 38 Waist, and also appears in a pre-opening sketch outside the Brooklyn venue. Distefano’s father and grandfather are connected. As in exactly what you thought when you saw I typed connected.
He’s also connected with Comedy Central already, having been tapped by the network to host interstitials with the comedians who filmed other specials, asking them Stupid Questions.
And in the beginning of his special, Distefano comes across as a younger version of another comic straight outta Brooklyn named Colin Quinn. Speaking in phrases and incomplete sentences, but coming through loud and clear with his thoughts on the new New Yorkers moving into his city and changing the way it looks and feels.
But seriously, can you imagine your father riding down the street, wearing a suit, kick-pedaling a scooter?
Distefano has plenty of life story to joke about, and he’s had some success in recent development deal seasons with the broadcast networks attempting to turn those experiences into a potential sitcom. But you won’t find him burning much of that material here.
Yes, we learn that he’s father to a baby daughter who is half Puerto Rican and half Italian. But no, he and his baby’s mother are no longer together.
Yes, his grandfather was in the mob. And yes, Chris was vaguely aware that his father and his father’s friends also engaged in suspect activities, and employs some jokes at the businesses these wise guys claimed to be in instead.
But aside from one routine in which he acts out his dad (who’s 5-foot-6, 385 pounds) threatening to beat up his principal for expelling Chris from an all-boys Catholic school, the topics for Distefano aren’t quite as hard-hitting.
Rather, he makes fun of peanut allergies, and makes fun of himself for taking anxiety medications, or for eating too much of an edible marijuana treat, or for going to England and becoming confused by the different meanings of words there.
Distefano also proves quite agile at working with the audience members in his front row, playing quickly off of their responses and incorporating them into the act later.
It’s a fun night out. But it also left me wanting more.