If ever there was a time we all needed a good laugh, it is now. And, thankfully, John Perrotta, “the Italian Don Rickles,” is bringing his rapid-fire brand of comedy to the Cranston, Warwick, Johnston and beyond.
Perrotta started doing standup comedy in 1991 at the original Periwinkles in the Arcade, downtown Providence. He was voted “Favorite Comedian” in the Providence Phoenix 2008 Reader’s Poll, and in 2012, he was inducted into the Rhode Island Comedy Hall of Fame.
Perrotta, along with Rockin’ Joe Hebert, opened “The $200 Comedy Course” school for people who either always imagined what it was like to get up on stage and tell jokes or maybe needed to get over a fear of public speaking. Classes will be starting up again in September.
Perrotta is very excited to get back out there.
“I didn’t do anything for over a year. There were days I stayed in bed until 2:30 in the afternoon. Nowhere to go, nothing to do. It’s not easy coming back after a lay-off like that. Thirteen months is a long time. There’s no one to talk to,” he lamented.
While Perrotta enjoys nothing more than getting a laugh, he also likes to do research on, and booking for, various venues.
“I like the booking part of things. I go look at venues. Lots of comics depend on me for the work. I felt like I had to come back. It was 13 months of nothing, not easy,” he said.
Some places simply couldn’t come back from the pandemic and closed.
“The audiences are dying to get back out, get entertained. Whether it is comedy or music, or something else, people have been cooped up in the house, they’ve been socially distant. People really enjoy going out,” Perrotta said.
It’s not just the audience that needs to get back out there.
“Comics are dying to get out there. There’s new material, there’s new venues, fundraising events. It’s really an exciting time,” he said.
While there are new and fewer restrictions, venues still have to be careful.
“I’m excited that’s there so much happening in the fall. People are ready. Rooms have some restrictions, such as limited capacities, so if you want to see a show, make a reservation early, I tell people,” he said.
Perrotta’s personal style of comedy is not the same as most.
“I really have nothing written down. I come up with material on the spot, as a crowd-working comic. I’m a lousy writer, but a great improviser. I get material from other people’s lives,” he said.
To pass the time more recently, several friends recommended Perrotta do a podcast.
“I actually did a Zoom comedy talk show. The first month I didn’t know what was I doing. I did about 130 shows to get me through. I connected to comics, both national and local, they all got exposure. There really was no set format; it was just conversations. Much, much needed conversations,” Perrotta said.
To see the list of shows Perrotta has coming up, visit his web site, www.comedyfactoryri.com.