It’s an early Thursday morning in Los Angeles and Sebastian Maniscalco sounds weary, but for good reason. Not only is he enjoying time with a new baby (his son, Caruso Jack, was born Father’s Day weekend), he’s also juggling a blockbuster list of sold-out stand-up dates nationwide. As evidence of his current stature, he’s also tackling the coveted gig as master of ceremonies for the upcoming MTV Video Music Awards. It’s a curious choice for the 46 year-old comedian known for family humor who readily admits he’s not totally familiar with today’s pop music landscape.
“This is one of those things I took I because it’s a challenge for me,” says Maniscalco, with a grog in his voice. “I grew up on MTV watching Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson. For me to be hosting is kind of surreal. Also, my father keeps on asking me what he should wear. He’s like, ‘I’m gonna wear a suit.’ I said, ‘Dad, this isn’t a wedding. It’s a music show. Get some sequins or something.’”
Sequins - MTV - Faith - Maniscalco - Fledgling
Sequins or not, MTV’s faith in Maniscalco to helm the fledgling show (it’s been hemorrhaging viewers in recent years) is a clear indicator of the hot streak he’s been on, both on stage and off. Forbes recently named Maniscalco the fifth-highest earning comedian of the year, with $26m over the last 12 months, making him the only newcomer on a list that includes Dave Chappelle and Jerry Seinfeld (who invited him to be in an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee). Like Seinfeld, the bulk of Maniscalco’s income comes from stand-up – he recently sold out two shows back-to-back at Madison Square Garden (which reportedly was the highest grossing comedy event in North America of all time). In addition, despite embarking on a film career a mere two years...
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