Hi everyone, These are some of the questions people have asked me during my career.
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An Interview with Rob Magnotti Comedian / Actor
- Growing up, what influences did you have both personally and professionally that helped to push your passion into a full-fledged career in comedy and acting?I am a stand-up comic who loves to do impressions and characters as well as acting, so artists like Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, and Carol Burnett inspired me. Of course, Carl Reiner, Gary Marshall, Richard Prior, SNL, Rodney Dangerfield’s HBO Comedy Specials were also profound influences.”As a kid I was always performing / mimicking friends and family members and watching comedians on television. I love making people laugh. Laughter is an awesome gift to give. My Mom, being a singer, inspired me to be on stage. My Dad was a high school language teacher and funny, so I think I got my ear for voices from them. My brother, Al, inspired me to play the drums like himself, a great instrument for comic timing. He has always been a big supporter and is still working with me today. He’s was instrumental in getting me the Letterman show, a dramedy web pilot , and in keeping me in the comedy game.”
- What is the most memorable comment someone has ever said to you, in regards to your impressive career?“After my set on the Late Show with David Letterman, Dave said “ That’s exactly what I’m talking about, Tremendous! Rob Magnotti!” and the next night, Dave said it again to Paul Shaffer and the audience.”How did your appearance come about on the CBS Late Show with David Letterman? Describe your overall experience with being on the late night talk show.“I was doing a comedy show at a theatre venue and one of the Executives of the Late Show saw my set. He approached me after the show and said we have to get you on the show. A year later, I received a call from the production staff asking me if I would like to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman. There was major exuberance on my part, I called back and said, “Yes, absolutely!” Ironically, in 1998, I was in an acting class and had to do an exercise requiring me to be super excited, and I chose to imagine that I got a spot on CBS Late Show with David Letterman. Almost ten years later, and a lot of work, it happened for me.””As for the experience, I remember my set going really great, getting applause breaks, thanking the audience, then seeing David Letterman walking over to me smiling and applauding, and being very complimentary. I then left the sound stage and went to the green room where I heard him continue to say great things about me. It was a pinch myself moment. I just kept thanking God! It was a cloud nine experience and one I will not forget!”
- You have transformed into several famous actors during your lengthy career. Who is your favorite actor to portray and why? “Al Pacino is my favorite. He has acted on stage and screen and is both dramatic as well as comedic. I enjoy transforming into some of those amazing characters he’s played. Also Robert De Niro, and Nicholas Cage.”
- During your role as an MP Officer in “A Beautiful Mind”, what personal direction did Ron Howard give you during the filming? “I received a call from a casting agent to be an extra on “A Beautiful Mind”. As I was waiting in the room with five other actors, the PA came in and called my name. He said, Mr.Howard would like you in this scene. I did not know what to expect. When I entered the set, Ron Howard greeted me and then directed my blocking for the scene in the Wheeler Lab where Russell Crowe and Ed Harris meet by an office door and converse. I was the MP Guard at a desk and Mr. Howard explained to me that I had to react to Russell Crowe’s character who was talking to Ed Harris’ character, who was not really there.”
- Also, how do you feel this has helped you in furthering your career? “After Ron Howard directed me, I was on the set for the duration of the scene watching Mr. Howard Direct until Russell Crowe and Ed Harris had their final take. It was a great learning experience and opportunity to be on this movie set with such Hollywood heavyweights. It’s an Academy Award winning movie, and a wonderful credit to have on my resume.”
- What is the largest audience that you have performed in front? When and where was this, if you recall? In 2009, I was invited to perform for the First Dubai Comedy Convention with other comedians for two nights for an audience of about 3,000 in the outdoor Dubai Media Amphitheatre. We all had great shows and the audiences were thrilled.
- When you began your career as a cast member and sketch writer on FOX 5 Tv’s “The Uptown Comedy Club”, how did the gig come about? Also, since your time on this show, how do you feel you have grown since your first professional gig? I was asked to audition in a Comedy Club in Harlem for the producers of the show. I did my standup, impressions and sketch improv. I had a great audition and the producers signed me to the show. The show lasted two years. It was my first TV Sketch Show and a great learning experience. We had to write our own skits, and sometimes, skits for each other. I was also asked by the Producers to do a segment called “The Dozens”, Yo’ Moma Jokes. I got to work with Chris Tucker, Cedric the Entertainer and many other comedians. The Cast did a great job performing, considering it was our first TV show. The show aired on FOX 5 opposite Saturday Night Live.
- As a special guest performer, you have been featured with many talented comedians and singers. Out of all of the singers/comedians, which was the most memorable and why?“Olivia Newton John at Westbury Music Fair. Growing up, I loved the movie Grease and definitely had a crush on “Sandy”. So meeting her was coming full circle and very special. She is a lovely and very talented artist. I did my John Travolta impression for her and she laughed and told me she really enjoyed it.”
- Describe your experience with shooting a scene in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. If able to discuss, what character do you portray in the film? How was it to work with Kevin James?“It was my first major comedy feature film, and it was very exciting knowing I was a part of it and working with Kevin James in a scene! He is an excellent Comedian/Actor/Writer/Producer and a really nice guy. It was a great experience to see how involved he was on the set. I loved every minute of the rehearsal takes and the actual filming of the scene with Kevin, and Director Andy Fickman as well as fellow comedian, Richie Minervini. I play the gambler that Paul Blart comes over to at the Craps table and asks what all the cheering is about. I tell him how much I’m winning, Blart gets involved with the game and comedy ensues.”How was it working with Alicia Minshew in the dramedy web pilot you did?“Working with Alicia Minshew is so much fun and we have great chemistry together! She’s a beautiful, accomplished and generous actress as well as a wonderful person.”
- What projects do you currently have in the works and/or that may be released soon? “In addition to my stand-up comedy appearances, I’m auditioning for new TV, film and theatre projects.”
- Where and when can people see you live next?They can check www.robmagnotti.com for upcoming shows.
- Define your legacy. How do you want people to remember you? Rob Magnotti made us laugh till our face hurt!
- What is one quote, either funny or serious, that you hope people will remember you by? Don’t leave before the miracle happens!