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Andrew Santino talks new Showtime special and more

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Andrew Santino is a Chicago-based comedian who has appeared in several television shows and comedy specials. Andrew Santino is a Chicago-based comedian who has appeared in several television shows and comedy specials. (photo courtesy of the artist)

Comedian discusses “Home Field Advantage” and confidence in comedy

Chicago-based comedian Andrew Santino has been pulling double-duty of late, thanks to starring roles in TV series like “Here’s The Rub,” “Sin City Saints,” “Mixology” and most recently on “I’m Dying Up Here,” which premiered earlier this month on Showtime.

A fiercely proud Chiagoan, Santino has just released his first comedy special, “Home Field Advantage,” co-produced for Showtime by Jim Carrey and also released as an album; it’s available from iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and all digital audio retailers.

 Santino checked in with The Maine Edge to talk comedy, confidence and his love for Maine.

Santino: I’m so happy to talk to you in Maine. I’m a big fan of Bangor, Old Town, Orono, Lincoln, Medway, Dover-Foxcroft and Molunkus. I’m a big Maine guy. I can’t sleep one night without thinking about Waterville, Augusta, Belfast, Camden, Rockland, Ellsworth and Blue Hill, you know? These are the places I love.

TME: (laughing) Did you just dial up a Wikipedia page full of Maine towns?

Santino: No, I know them all very, very well. My good buddy Eric is from Dexter, Maine. I know Maine, man. I’m a big Maine guy.

TME: That’s great. Have you ever done comedy here?

Santino: I haven’t and I would really like to do a show there. Boston and Montreal are probably the closest I’ve come to doing comedy in Maine. I’d love to do it. I’m waiting for the invite. Maine’s got to show me some lovin’ and I’ll be right out there.

TME: You do a lot of traveling. Do things work in some cities but not others? In other words, do you modify the content your set depending on where you are?

Santino: Comedy is different all over this beautiful country. Chicago audiences are much different than, say, Louisiana. It’s just cultural differences. People like to laugh and I think that’s the bottom line. I don’t think one place is better than the other but I love being home because I can relate culturally and I can talk about local stuff that kind of hits home. Things are different all over and I like to find out what’s happening in each town that I visit and feel out the vibe of what people are into there.

TME: When you were growing up, were you the funny kid in school?

Santino: I think I was the obnoxious kid. I was the most talkative and probably most annoying kid. Teachers either loved or hated me. There was no middle ground. You either thought I had something special or you wanted to murder me. But who’s winning now, you know what I mean?

TME: Who were your personal comedy heroes that you looked up to?

Santino: Jim Carrey was our executive producer on “Home Field Advantage” and he’s been such a massive influence for me – both as an actor and a stand-up. I’m without words when I have the opportunity to work with Jim. I loved listening to George Carlin. I thought he was incredible. I also really liked Bill Hicks. His perspective was pretty amazing.

TME: You’re so confident on stage – you make it look easy. Obviously, it isn’t easy but that confidence is impressive. Does that come from doing a lot of shows and just being comfortable with who you are?

Santino: When you’re an idiot, you just have to pretend you know what you’re talking about. I’ve been doing comedy for over a decade now and I think confidence just comes with time. It’s not easy delivering stuff when you’re not sure about it. When you’re doing a special, you’d better be sure about the material that you’re pumping out. I was happy with this one and proud of it but mostly, I was just having a really good time. I’m not a wordsmith or a poet. I’m just up there having fun.

TME: I love that you asked your grandmother to introduce you at the concerts filmed and recorded for “Home Field Advantage.” Was she nervous?

Santino: It was great to have my Nana introduce me. We went back and forth on whether or not she was going to do it. She was a little nervous but she knocked it out of the park on the first take. She had her hair and makeup done all pretty and by the time we did the first show, she couldn’t wait to get up there for the second one. She wanted to do a longer intro and get out there and tell some jokes herself. My friends and family were all there. It was an incredible moment to tape my first special in my hometown. 

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