Franklin Park woman keeps ‘em laughing
Patty Vaccarella warms up the crowd with a quick set as she hosts a comedy night at Hometown Tapestr in Franklin Park. | Vincent D. Johnson~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:26AM
FRANKLIN PARK — During the day Patricia Vaccarella of Franklin Park works as a dental assistant in Chicago. At night she transforms into a comedian.
She started doing comedy professionally about three-and-a-half years ago. Each month, she now produces a comedy showcase at Hometown Tapestry in Franklin Park and two shows at 1901 Gallery in Chicago. She hosts and performs in all those shows, too.
She describes her humor as very adult.
“I don’t do clean comedy. I can,” she said, but she added: “I generally don’t.”
Q: You started doing comedy professionally a few years ago?
A: Yes. Unofficially, 49 years ago. I’ve always been a jokester and prankster and into making people laugh.
Q: How did you get started professionally?
A: I was reading the Sunday Tribune in April or May 2009. There was this article about this woman who started a class geared to women in stand-up comedy.
Q: So you signed up?
A: I thought I don’t have time for this and tossed the newspaper away. My mom had just been through a major life-altering illness.
Q: What happened next?
A: The next morning I’m getting up and putting on my make-up and my face is drooping and tingling. My husband took me to the emergency room. Four neurologists saw me and nobody could figure out what happened. (Later) all the medical students came in. They could only attribute it to stress. I said I’m going to take this class. I haven’t had any fun for two years.
Q: Where do you get ideas for jokes or routines?
A: Mine is more observational. 98 percent of what I do on stage has actually happened to me.
Q: Such as?
A: My mom was over at my house one day. She has emphysema and needs to not smoke. She was picking cigarette butts out of a flowerpot. I said, ‘You’re not supposed to smoke.’ She said she was getting them out so the dogs wouldn’t get them.
Q: Do you practice routines or are you spontaneous on stage?
A: I rehearse at home before I actually do a joke live. I go to open mics. Open mic is the equivalent of a comedy practice session.
Q: Do jokes ever fail?
A: I had that happen Saturday night. It had gotten laughs before. I said, ‘Think about it, you’ll get it later.’ What can you do? You’re not always going to hit every time. I try not to take it too personally.
Q: Ever have to deal with hecklers?
A: St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago a couple years ago. These people had been over-served hours ago. Drunk people can be funny but they were very loud and couldn’t care there was a comedy show on. I tried to get them to quiet down a couple times but they were having none of that.
Q: What did you do?
A: I threatened them with duct tape. I said if they didn’t stop I’d duct tape them to the pool table. After that they were following the program.