Mario Cantone hates mornings but he will be ready to tickle your funny bone Thursday night, March 19th at Snoqualmie Casino. Of course, the show is at 8pm so he will be wide awake and ready to wow you. He does impersonations, sings, monologues, jokes and just entertains his way into our hearts with every show. Don’t miss this one. Get your tickets here. He took a few minutes out of his schedule to speak with us about all sorts of topics and ideas from the very beginning of his comedic career until now.
Earle Dutton: How did you come up with your Julia Child routine in junior high?
Mario Cantone: Well, Julia Child was one of the first people I ever impersonated. It went over really big in junior high school. It was just a simple sketch of her making crepe Suzette. Then, when I did it in college it was her rolling a joint. I also, impersonated her for my children’s show and it was her stuffing and baking The Little Mermaid. It has gone through different stages. It seems to kind of progress into the appropriate subject matter for each event.
ED: Who is your favorite celebrity to impersonate?
MC: Right now, I guess it would have to be Liza Minnelli. Her conversations and monologues are just riddled with non sequiturs. She doesn’t know how to go from one subject to the next. She just kind of does it. She jumps off one subject into the next. I like doing Bruce Springsteen too. It is pretty fun. I have a great Bruce Springsteen bit I do in the show coming to Snoqualmie. I have a band and I sing. I am the white Sammy Davis Jr according to Jon Stewart. I like singing and doing impressions. It’s really old school. I used to do Paul Lynde all the time but my voice changed and I just can’t do him any longer.
ED: What was it like to roast Joan Rivers?
MC: I hate roasts. She was my friend and I love her very much. I miss her. She asked me to do her roast and of course I said yes. You sit there and you are a gay punching bag for two hours. I actually did Joan Rivers‘ roast and Denis Leary’s roast. I went to college with Denis. I have known him for years. You really only want to roast someone that you love and you know well. Comedy Central has asked me to do a lot them and I have said no to all of them except those two. I remember when everyone was done roasting Joan, and she got up on stage. It was like a tornado! She went through the room and wrecked everyone then sat back down. That was my image of it. Her piece at the end ripping everyone was unbelievable. I will never forget it.
ED: How was it for you to land the Sex and the City role?
MC: Well, I hadn’t watched the show until I got the part in the third season. I was just on one episode at that time and it kind of escalated from there. I knew Michael Patrick King who wrote and directed the show and the movies. I did stand-up with him in the eighties. When he took the reins on the show creatively, he brought me this part. It was only for one episode but it just ended up being so strong that they just kept bringing me back. I ended up doing twelve episodes and both movies. It was great. It changed my life and made me international. I go to Europe now and they freak out because it is “Anthony” from Sex and the City. It is just kind of a phenomenon that will never really go away. It is horrifying to have to watch yourself on syndication from twelve years ago (laughter). You see that you are twelve years younger than you are now. I just can’t even look at it. It made a big difference in my career. It also pigeon holed me. You know they just don’t think you can do anything else. That’s alright though. I tour around in my show; do The View, Broadway and a lot of things. I am happy with the way my career has gone. (Laughter) Now I shall get into the coffin and shut the door!
ED: You have done some amazing work on Broadway. Is there a dream role that you haven’t played yet?
MC: Yes! I want to play “Mel” in Neil Simon’s Prisoner of Second Avenue. I really do. The movie with Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft is great. That is the role I dream of on Broadway. That would be my sixth Broadway show if it gets done.
ED: I have heard you speak about cooking and maybe even writing a cookbook. What is your favorite thing to cook?
MC: I am a big baker so the title of my book if I ever write it is “Master Baking With Mario”. I did a segment on The View called “Master Baking With Mario” and let everyone know that I didn’t have a publisher so let bidding wars begin. I bake a banana bread that is so good. I make the best banana bread. In fact, I sell it to a coffee shop about five blocks down the street from my place. I make a great lasagna, tomato sauce and meatballs. I am very Italian. My husband is the real cook. He knows how to throw stuff together and whatever we have in the refrigerator that day.
ED: What do you think about rumors that may co-host The View?
MC: I would do it if they offered it to me. I think they will stick with all women. The rumors have been going around for years since Rosie O’Donnell left the first time. I think this time they should go with a guy. I have never said this before, but I really do believe they need a guy. Everyone is copying them. All these shows are copying them with a panel of five women. I think that once you are copied it is time to change the game. I love co-hosting The View. I would totally do it. I have a great time there. I love doing comedy and musical segments there. I also get to do live commercial giveaways that are a lot of fun. I do everything on that show. I have always been a part of their family. The new regime that is running the show at ABC has made me a part of their family as well. I would totally take it if they offered. I mean it is in New York City so I don’t have to go anywhere. I love working with my friends. I love Rosie Perez. She has been a friend of mine for years. I want Joy Behar to come back and do it with me. That is exactly what I want. That would be my dream. I don’t think that is going to happen though.
ED: Do you have a message for LGBTQ youth?
MC: Yes! My message is toughen up because it is tough. Not just being gay. That seems to be getting a little easier, thank god. The suicides are so painful when I hear about them. At the same time it makes me so angry that I just want to grab them, shake them, and tell them to ‘Toughen the fuck up and grow some tough skin.’ You have to grow some thick skin because you have to get through life. Life is tough no matter whom you are. It is even tougher when you are part of the LGBTQ community. So that is my advice and I mean it. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Keep moving forward and do what you dream to do. Work toward what your dream is and let that be your focus. Keep your sensitivity but keep it in check. Become a gladiator, not just physically but mentally.