“I’m going to make your job easy,” said comedian Pete Correale. And indeed he did. There were no one-word answers from the Long Island native who is very familiar with Western New York. He spent four years at SUNY Fredonia State and is currently house hunting in that area.
Besides meeting his wife at Fredonia State, Correale was the starting point guard on the basketball team with some impressive stats. He is in the Blue Devil’s record book for his .462 three-point field goal percentage and for assists.
“I remember playing Buffalo State in the SUNY Athletic Conference Championship game my senior year and being up by 16 points and they still came back to win, that’s how good they were, ” recalled Correale, who performs tonight through Saturday at the Helium Comedy Club (30 Mississippi St.).
Entertainment Weekly named him one of the top 10 comics to watch, and he has appeared on all of the late-night talk shows. His first time on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” was memorable. “Jay is the best. He came to my dressing room and we talked for like 40 minutes before the show. And then a guy came in and said, ‘Tell me your act, I’m going to write it on cue cards for you.’ I said, ‘Buddy, I don’t need that, I’ve said this act 1,000 times already,’ but the guy insisted,” Correale said.
In the middle of his set, he paused and suddenly forgot his next joke.
“Thank God those cards were there, otherwise I probably would have been the first comedian to forget his set on the show. That guy saved my life.”
The “Late Show with David Letterman” is a little different. “You don’t see Dave before the show. And I remember wearing a blue blazer with a pink shirt that had a big collar. After my set he came over and said ‘Nice job, what’s with the pink shirt?’” Correale said.
His favorite quote about comedy is from stand-up star Marc Maron who said, “It takes 15 years to be an overnight success or a bitter failure and you don’t know which one it’s going to be until the night before.”
Correale’s night is approaching, and it looks like a success. He hosts a podcast with fellow comedian Sebastian Maniscalco called “The Pete and Sebastian Show” and has a Comedy Central special, “The Things We Do For Love.” Correale also has a possible reality show in the works called “The Pete Correale Show.” It will feature him and his daily life as a comedian and dealing with his family. “Somebody told me if you are going to have your own show, make sure your name is in the title,” he said.
The show would be under the Ryan Seacrest entertainment empire on the A&E network. At the time I spoke to Correale, a crew was visiting Fredonia to do a sizzle reel, where a producer makes a video to show executives to help sell the project. The Western New York area would be the show’s backdrop.
His first time on stage was at the Comedy Cellar in New York City, and it went like a lot comedians’ first time. A little bit of good, and some bad. “I remember I had a joke about toilet paper that got some laughs, and that’s all I needed,” Correale said.
One of his worst moments in comedy happened just recently and involves a bout of food poisoning. “I ate an egg salad sandwich that I left out in the hotel room Saturday night after two great shows and I was performing Sunday,” Correale said. “I was going to cancel but the owner told me to give it a try, so I went on stage with a bucket and did 20 minutes. I was drinking Gatorade all day. They say comedians have a twisted sense of humor. The club owner said he was glad I made it through but was ready to take pictures if I did vomit.”
What: Pete Correale
When: 8 tonight, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Where: Helium Comedy Club, 30 Mississippi St.
Info: 853-1211 or heliumcomedy.com