Sebastian Maniscalco on Creed’s Scott Stapp, Andy Garcia and being a cry baby

The comedian is at State Farm Arena July 20.
Sebastian Maniscalco is coming to State Farm Arena July 20, 2024. NETFLIX



Sebastian Maniscalco is coming to State Farm Arena July 20, 2024. NETFLIX

After more than a quarter century in the business, Sebastian Maniscalco has clawed his way to peak stand-up status, a man who worked hard to get where he is by perfecting his onstage put-upon Italian immigrant persona.

At age 48, with six stand-up specials under his belt, Maniscalco is on his second major arena tour including his second trip to Atlanta’s State Farm Arena July 20. (Tickets starting at $30 available at Ticketmaster.) He will again do his show “in the round,” meaning better vantage points for everyone in the arena (and more potential tickets sold for him compared to the standard “end-stage” set up.)

Maniscalco is a big enough deal that celebrities show up to see him. He sometimes quietly scans cameras pointed at the audience before the show to see if he sees anybody familiar to possibly make fun of.

Sebastian Maniscalco first came to State Farm Arena in 2021. PUBLICITY PHOTO


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In 2022 during his first visit to State Farm Arena, he spied Scott Stapp, lead singer of Creed, an early 2000s rock band having a bit of a comeback moment, in the audience. So late in the show, he gave Stapp a shout out.

“I cried to one your songs,” Maniscalco told Stapp from stage at the time, “coming back from Vegas. I broke up with my girl.” Then he fake weeped and sang a snippet of Creed’s signature song “With Arms Wide Open.”

“I recently put that Creed clip up from that show” on social media, said Maniscalco in a recent interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to promote his show. “It got 11 million views. I do stand up and those clips do like 4 million. Creed! Who knew?”

Of course, if your comedy clip gets “only” 4 million views, that’s a first world stand-up problem. He was ranked No. 8 on Billboard last year among biggest touring stand-up comics, generating $16.8 million on 130,000 tickets sold from 39 shows, sandwiched between Taylor Tomlinson and Adam Sandler.

Maniscalco has also been doing his fair share of acting in recent years. He starred with Robert DeNiro in “About Your Father” in theaters last year. He just finished shooting the second season of “Bookie” on Max where he plays the title role, a struggling Los Angeles bookie.

The comedy, coproduced by “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory” producer Chuck Lorre, received excellent reviews but not a huge amount of notice when it came out last year in the midst of the dual writers and actors strike.

“We weren’t able to promote it,” Maniscalco said. “We’re going to do a lot more this time around for the second season. It’s funny. I walk to an airport or a grocery store and it’s amazing how many bookies come up to me and tell me they have all these stories, all these secrets. I have bookies coming out of the woodwork!”

Maniscalco originally pitched a show about his own life to Lorre. “I liked his idea better and I’m glad we went with it,” he said.

His Danny character, he noted, isn’t the type who breaks legs if you don’t pay up. “This guy has a sensitive side to him,” Maniscalco noted. “We’re not really killing anybody. I relate to him because I can be really sensitive and emotional. I’m the type who cries at movies and my wife is, like, nothing. We went to see ‘IF’ and I was bawling. [He voiced a mouse who likes magic in the movie.] My daughter looked at me and said, ‘Dad! Get it together!’”

Maniscalco, when he had two stand-up specials under his belt, was an early adopter in the podcast world in 2012 with the launch of “The Pete and Sebastian Show,” teamed with his stand-up buddy Pete Correale. More than 600 episodes later, he is still at it.

“Pete and I did the podcast out of the joy of our phone conversations,” he said. “We didn’t initially have any intention to monetize it. We just ended up a good yin and yang. Pete’s a wine and cheese guy. I’m not.”

They both had a mutual admiration for actor Andy Garcia, which became a running joke on the podcast so it was quite the miracle, he said, when Garcia himself finally made it on the show in April.

And while Maniscalco might have gleaned some career advice from the award-winning actor, he will always remember this life lesson: Garcia would apply his grandfather’s cologne on a handkerchief in his inside suit pocket.

Throughout the day, “he’d give himself a refresh by rubbing his handkerchief on his neck every two or three hours,” Maniscalco said. “It’s a cologne refresh. That’s a nice move. I now carry around a little handkerchief sprayed with cologne. It’s amazing!”


Sebastian Maniscalco

7 p.m. Saturday, July 20. $30-$355. State Farm Arena, 1 State Farm Drive, Atlanta.