Though somewhat new to the Charlotte comedy scene, Paul Pallotta is turning heads. In addition to his work as a stand-up comic, improvisation performer and sketch comedy-er (comedy sketch-er?), he hosts Simply aPauling, a Charlotte Community Radio show in which he interviews others in the comedy industry.
Pallotta moved to Charlotte three years ago from Stanfield, N.C. to pursue comedy after trying his hand at some open mic nights at Crown Station. He has taken classes at UCB Theatre in New York and studied sketch comedy under “Kids in the Hall” member Kevin McDonald. Recently, he co-founded a sketch comedy and improv group, Boom Goes the Dinosaur, and he performs regularly at Wet Willies, at the AvidXchange Music Factory.
Show postponed until Saturday Feb 4 due to weather.
Pallotta brings a hand-picked crew of local comedians and improv actors to Oak Street Mill, 19725 Oak St., for the debut of his Simply aPauling Comedy Show. The evening includes stand-up comedy from Nick Alexander, Spencer Taylor, Andy Vanderveer, and JD Colwell as well as improv from Boom Goes the Dinosaur. , and a whole lotta host Pallotta.
In advance of the show, we turned the tables – or, the mic – on Pellotta, making the interviewer the interviewee for a bit.
What brought you to first try your hand at an open mic night?
I always liked making people laugh – I would call it just having a good time. But I remember a professor in college was like, “you should try standup – you’d probably be good at it.” I don’t know if it was that comment that stuck in my mind, or something else, but I started just constantly thinking about it. Finally, I was like, “if I’m going to do it, I have to do it. I can’t just keep thinking about it.”
What do comedians talk about when they “talk shop?”
You talk about your own performances, but also about each other’s. When I watch a comedy show with my friends I watch the crowd more than I do them, to see how the crowd reacts. So we talk about that. We also help each other out with jokes, like “you tried this one bit this way, but what if you did it this way.” That sort of thing.
Where did the idea for your radio show come from?
The Charlotte comedy scene is small enough that you know everyone, so to me the show is just hanging out with my friends, talking comedy for an hour. I really do it more for me than for anything. But when you’re having a good time, the people watching and listening will have a good time too.
For your radio show, you switch from friend and colleague to host and interviewer. What’s it like to be on that side of the desk?
I alternate guests every show – I’ll do an improv performer one week and a standup comedian the next – so the conversations are very different from week to week, because working in improv is very different from standup. We talk a lot about what they are doing, how’d they get started, what brought them to it… I try to keep it conversational and often we just talk about whatever comes up, we just roll with it. And then we talk about what they want to do next.
How do you choose guests for your show?
My guests are mostly my friends and people I see who are putting in the work – those who I think could make a career out of it. Ones to watch.
What’s a typical day in the life of…you?
I pretty much have a set schedule every week, and I try to do something “comedy” six to seven night a week. Every other Monday is my radio show, so the Mondays that I don’t have a radio show I try to do an open mic. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays I work at the Comedy Zone in Charlotte. I try to be there just watching, making some extra money, and staying around live comedy. Then Saturdays I do improv at Charlotte Comedy Theater and Sundays I meet with my sketch group. And during the days I work at the Original Pancake House, and I nap in between.
You’re involved in a lot – standup, sketch and improv. What elements of each do you enjoy?
For standup, you know, that’s all you. It’s your thoughts, you’re letting the people in on who you are. It’s definitely a lot scarier to me. In improv, you get to be whoever you want, you can be wherever you want, which I love. You can go as far as your mind goes. Standup is more “this is who I am and I hope you like me.”
How would you describe your standup style?
Biographical. I talk about working at the Pancake House, stuff like that. I take my life and talk about my way of looking at how I live that life. I would say all of my material stems from real-life situations that I just try to make funny. But it’s all real life.
Catch Paul and other local funny folks at The Simply aPauling Comedy Show Saturday, Feb 4 at KadiFit in Oak St. Mill.
Door opens at 7:30 p.m., show starts at 8.
Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at door. Purchase advanced tickets at: simplyapaulingcomedy.eventbrite.com.
Christina is a local multimedia content producer and digital strategist. Formerly the editor of CorneliusNews.net, she is thrilled to work with the OTC team to once again help tell the ever-evolving Cornelius story. She lives nearby with her husband, Nate, and a small menagerie of 2- and 4-legged beasties.