Perry’s own Tammy Pescatelli comes back home to tape her ‘Way After School Special’

March 15, 2018 GMT

Perry’s own Tammy Pescatelli comes back home to tape her ‘Way After School Special’

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the host of the Laugh Track column, a man who is lost in the madness ... Mike McIntyre!

Thank you, Cleveland! Whether you filled out your bracket by coin flip or deep research, a lot of people are already in trouble with Rex Tillerson and Hope Hicks falling. I’m still alive; I’ve got Ivanka outlasting Betsy DeVos in the finals.

Back to school: Comedian Tammy Pescatelli did all right for herself after being told by a guidance counselor, when she was a Perry High School student dreaming of acting, that she would never be on TV.

She’s been on “The Tonight Show,” “The Talk” and “The View”; she was an early bright light on “Last Comic Standing” in 2004; and she had her own reality show (“A Stand-up Mother” in 2011). Her 2013 stand-up special, “Finding the Funny” is still streaming on Netflix.


Her next one, the “Way After School Special,” may land there, too, or someplace else. She took over the production, she said, when the production company she collaborated with was not as convinced as she was that filming in her hometown, at Perry High School, was the best idea.

“I already had the whole town excited and the kids on board,” said Pescatelli, who graduated in 1987 as Tammy Gillespie. (She later took her grandfather’s surname.) “So I had to walk away from that production deal and do this myself, and that is not easy.”

The timing, though, is perfect.

“It turns out with the nuclear plant now, they might lose all those jobs. So I guess it’s just really appropriate time for them to laugh,” she said.

The special will be at the auditorium at Perry High tonight, but it’s not technically the school she attended. That building became a senior center. The new school is posh by comparison.

Pescatelli sees the show as a throwback, as some of the material in her latest act focuses on her growing-up years. She’s been working out the material in clubs.

“I try to have a theme and run it through the whole thing, that I believe that our generation, no one cares about us but the people at ABC, because of the “After School Special,” she said. “They’re the only ones who taught us anything.”

She hopes fans get in the mood.

“It’s going to be very Napoleon Dynamitey. I’m inviting people to dress in their favorite ’80s clothes,” she said. “And just because it’s at the high school, it is not for kids. Not that I’m dirty. I’m a grown-up.”

The venue is Perry, not the focus.

“I have people going, ‘Are you going to tell about this time that I did this or that?’ And I’m like, ‘No, you can tell that story if you’d like after the show is over,’ ” she said.

Perry students will be helping with the production, from ushering to running cable. “Whatever the crew needs,” she said.


The filming is 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Goodwin Theatre at Perry High School. Tickets are $23 at tinyurl?.com/wayafterschool. Stay tuned for where you can see the finished production.

At Hilarities: Felipe Esparza, whose first special, “Translate This,” was on HBO last year and who won “Last Comic Standing” in 2010, says his comedy was born of necessity.

“What got me into comedy was that I ran out of things that I wasn’t good at,” he said in the promo interview for his HBO special. “I tried everything. Security guard, baby sitting, drug dealer, drug addict. None of those things worked. But since I was a little kid I wanted to be a comedian.”

Esparza performs at Hilarities, inside Pickwick & Frolic Restaurant, at 7:30 p.m. Friday ($25), 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday ($28) and 7 p.m. Sunday ($18.). Pickwick & Frolic is at 2035 East Fourth St., Cleveland. Call 216-736-4242 or go to pickwickandfrolic?.com.

At the Improv: Joel Lindley headlines at 7:30 ($20) and 10 p.m. ($15) Friday, 7 ($15) and 9:30 p.m. ($20) Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday ($17). The Improv is at 1148 Main Ave., next to Shooters on the west bank of Cleveland’s Flats. Call 216-696-4677 or go to clevelandimprov?.com.

At the Rocksino: Northeast Ohio native Chad Zumock, a former WMMS co-host, returns home to headline Club Velvet at the Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield Park. Another local comic, Chris Clem, returns to feature.

Zumock reports that he’s planning to record an album soon, so his material is all new.

“My act is pretty much honest,” he said. “I talk a lot about my shortcomings, problems with dating and not wanting to get married,” he said. “I’m honest about being a flawed person, but I try to do the right thing — especially as I get older.”

Zumock and Clem perform at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10-$15. Go to ticketmaster?.com or call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. The Hard Rock Rocksino is at 10777 Northfield Road, Northfield.

Mulaney: John Mulaney, whose gig in January was canceled due to an ice storm in New York, is scheduled to perform at Playhouse Square’s Connor Palace at 7 and 10 p.m. Friday. Tickets for the Jan. 12 shows will be honored.

Contact McIntyre at