Interview: Tammy Pescatelli, winner of Comedy Central's Stand-up Showdown

By | February 2, 2010 at 10:23 am | 3 comments | Interviews, News | Tags: , ,

Tammy Pescatelli

A month of comedy fans furiously voting for their favorite stand-up comedians to place in the Top 20 of Comedy Central’s Stand-up Showdown has come to an end. The highest ranked comics had their Comedy Central Presents specials aired throughout Sunday as a prize. But only one person came out on top. This year, it was 16-year comedy veteran Tammy Pescatelli.

We caught up with the Cleveland native after her big victory and chatted abut her campaign strategy, her future plans and more. Check it out.

What does winning the Comedy Central Stand-up Showdown mean to you?
It will be nice credit for the MC to say about me. Really nobody cares but my family, friends and fans.

How much of the Showdown did you watch?
TiVo is the best invention ever! I was coming home from a gig. I became a Big Jay Oakerson fan!

A lot of comedians campaign for votes pretty hard. What was your method of campaigning this year?
Truth be told, I actually did embark on a marketing campaign. I wanted to see if I gave it any effort, if it would pay off. I have an e-mail list of 600,000+ names (The years I was on Last Comic Standing, 6.8 million people watched weekly; Internet friend sites were not popular yet, so they signed into my website), I sent out a mass email to one million people-twice!

I did 37 radio station interviews-including Bob and Tom, Todd N Tyler, Dwyer n Michaels and a call in to Opie & Anthony, inadvertently. There were a few newspapers that mentioned me– Cleveland supports its own loyally; ask Browns fans. Allegeheny Productions voted like crazy. I have 16 years in clubs, so several-like The Funny Stop and the Cleveland Improv had their MC’s mention to vote for me everyday. A military base commander in Kuwait had the base “adopt” me.

My brother is a college football coach, so the team got behind me (wait, that doesn’t sound right). And then, of course, my fans, friends and family. No one believed in me more than my husband-he kept saying, “Why not you?” It was like Apollo Creed when he was coaching Rocky- “You can win, Rock. You can Win!!”

Were you paying attention enough to the standings on prior to Sunday night that you knew you had won before it aired? Or was it a surprise last night?
I wasn’t paying attention, but my husband was. I thought I might have won, but you never know when it comes to contests. Been there done that.

What’s next on your agenda? Any projects, events we should look out for?
We’re selling a show. I’m working like crazy, and hopefully I’ll have a new special soon. My old one was from 2005! I don’t even do any of those jokes anymore! You can all breathe a collective sigh of relief- there is not one Italian joke in my new hour!

Each year, a handful of comics, who don’t have nearly as big a following, as say, Lewis Black, Jeff Dunham, Dane Cook, et al end up ranking high on the list. It’s a good time for well-respected, veteran comedians to get prime exposure. How do you explain the phenomena—“less popular” comics crushing the widely known comics in the contest?
The Internet changes things, but hard work actually can pay off. Jeff Dunham, Lewis Black and Dane don’t need this as much as I do! I just want to sell more tickets for shows when I perform. Who doesn’t want to do well?

We’ve had a decent amount of readers email or comment on the site that they feel the contest is either rigged or just plain unfair. Some claim Comedy Central try to push “their” comedians. Are people taking it too seriously? And how well do you feel the contest is run?
As someone on your site said, this contest was not “the Funniest,” it was vote for your for “your favorite.” Either way, it was a good time for me because I have a lot of unemployed fans and friends, so they voted for me like it was a job.

Look, I am certainly not in the click. Contests are what they are- Mitzi Shore once said that comedy should not be a contest; you shouldn’t put artist’s up against each other. There were times when I went to vote for the first time and it told me I had exceeded my limit. I did not cheat. I did not have robots. I have been a WORKING comedian for 16 years. Being first is nice, but the real winner is Comedy Central with all the free advertising.

For more on Tammy, check out her official site at

About the Author

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.

  • Renee

    I was at your show at Carolines Thurs night. You kept saying that you wanted to thank the seven people who attended (there were a few more). God bless you for giving us a great show despite the low turn out. I love your confidence, your humor and your style. Also, your husband is not only gorgeous, but he is just as funny as you are. I envy your son because he will grow up with such awesome fun parents. My understanding is that comics who are genuinely funny, who do not stoop to vulgarity, are very intelligent because they truly use their brains to see the absurdity of things and then when they point it out to us, it makes us laugh. I wish I had that gift to be able to find the humor myself. Instead, I go to shows to be lifted up, to forget my troubles for a while and have my face hurt from laughing so hard. May God continue to bless you and your family and may heaven smile upon you.

  • joe

    We love you Tammy!

  • Marky

    Nice Interview!!

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