INTERVIEW – Patrick Coppolino
Remember when I blogged about the first local comedy show I hit, over two years ago? That was my introduction to the solid comedy scene we have here in Hamilton. I became a fan that night and have followed everyone’s antics since. My show on 93.3 CFMU is even followed by The Hamilton Comedy Hour with Jordan Scherer and Mayce Galoni – which is the prime opportunity for me to keep an eye on those knuckleheads and the going’s on of Hamilton’s growing comedy scene.
Comedian/writer/filmmaker Patrick Coppolino is one of those to keep an eye on – in the time since I first saw him, he has done a lot of touring, was signed to Yuk Yuk’s and hosts their weekly Amateur Night, appeared on the cover of Hamilton Magazine, and even tricked the internet into thinking Louis C.K. got punched in the face.
Fulfilling a comedian’s rite of passage, Patrick recently filmed his first comedy special. Recorded in September, during Supercrawl weekend, the special features Patrick at his best. The comic delivers his 50-minute set with ease, the bits flowing from one to the next, and you’re drawn in right from the beginning. Topics range from his first trip to Las Vegas, sexual encounters, his marriage, parenting, health issues… true to the special’s namesake, he does not hold back.
Patrick will celebrate the DVD’s release at Yuk Yuk’s Hamilton by hosting a show this Wednesday, November 11th, that features a bunch of his hilarious friends. Similar to that first show I attended where I was introduced to so many local comics, I’m excited to see them all again in one show.
Patrick Coppolino: Too Much Information
Comedy Special Release Party
Wednesday, November 11th, 2015
Yuk Yuk’s Hamilton, 120 King Street West
— Facebook event —
DVDs will be available for purchase at the show
$5 digital download of the special: www.patrickcoppolino.com
I chatted with Patrick to learn more about the making of the special and to get his thoughts on Hamilton’s comedy scene.
I Heart Hamilton: When did you first get into stand up?
Patrick: I first got into standup when I was 19 years old. I was working on The JR Digs Show as the camera-op & editor at the time. I expressed to JR (local TV personality) that I was interested in performing and he set up a show with local comedians that he knew so I could get onstage for the first time. I was hooked since show number one.
How has Hamilton’s comedy scene changed in that time? Are people recognizing Hamilton more now as having a solid comedy scene?
The Hamilton comedy scene has changed drastically since I started. When I was starting out, there were far less comics and hardly any rooms to perform comedy aside from Yuk Yuk’s amateur night and a weekly open mic at Hooters ran by local comedy legend and former Yuk Yuk’s franchise owner Donnie Coy. Now, there’s a strong scene with venues to play almost every night of the week.
What are the challenges of Hamilton’s comedy scene?
I think Hamilton’s ‘challenges’ are also its strengths. There are tougher crowds to please here, which ultimately makes us evolve faster at performers.
Was it always a goal of yours to film your own comedy special? When did you first get the idea for Too Much Information?
Yeah, I think it’s every comic’s goal to eventually shoot a comedy special. I got the idea, or motivation rather, to shoot mine once I felt I had accumulated a strong hour of material that I’ve been working on and touring with over the last few years.
Was it difficult to narrow down material for this special?
It was an ever-evolving act since I started standup. As you grow as a comic, you kind of ‘find your voice’ and that becomes the arc of your performance. Getting to tour with someone like Tom Green for several years helped me grow quicker – getting to perform in front of packed audiences around the world, several nights a week.
Did you feel an added pressure when performing this set at Yuk Yuk’s, knowing it was being filmed for the DVD?
I was surprisingly calm. I filmed two shows, so I think the ‘safety-net’ I had allowed me to not overthink it. Plus, I’ve done so many shows that I just tricked my mind into thinking it was just another show.
You do a lot of work in film as well – did you get into that at same time as comedy and know they would go hand-in-hand? Did you always have an interest in both?
I was into filmmaking before I ever seriously considered standup comedy. I made many short films in high-school, which led to me landing the job on The JR Digs Show, which was filmed locally in Hamilton.
I’m thrilled how well my film experience has gone hand-in-hand with my comedy career. It’s a valuable skill to have, being able to promote yourself that way. It’s also what secured my position as Tom Green’s opening act, as he wanted a comic who could also shoot and edit videos for his YouTube channel. We made many ‘mini-documentaries’ for his YouTube channel that ultimately lead to the production of his latest TV pilot On The Road with Tom Green which I got to shoot, edit and segment produce. That was a really cool experience. I also ended up self-producing my comedy special, which tends to be the way to do things nowadays.
Who are some of the local crew you worked with to produce Too Much Information?
I was fortunate to have the help of fellow comics who also have some experience with filmmaking like Isi Commisso, Devin Bateson, Craig Watkins, Mike Demissie and Tyler Shazma. We are all friends, so it was easy to rely on and direct them.
What’s coming up next for you?
Next I’m doing some touring. I’ll be out in Calgary with Ari Shaffir, then out east for a few weeks leading up to the New Year.
Favourite place to eat in Hamilton:
Hard to pick just one, but I’d have to say August 8.
Favourite breakfast food:
If you were a drink, what would you be:
A bottle of whiskey
Your go-to karaoke song:
Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon”
If you could speak flawlessly with any other accent, what would it be?:
Favourite concert/live performance you’ve seen:
Radiohead at Lollapalooza
What is on your playlist right now:
U2’s album that they put on my phone without permission
If you could take a detour to anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?:
Favourite mode of transportation:
What’s one thing on your bucket list:
Breaking Bad tour in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Thanks, Patrick! See you at the show!