|Exclusive Interview with comedian Angelo Tsarouchas|
Greek Gateway sat down this past weekend (July 14, 2012) with the loveable, likeable, hilariously talented Canadian born comedian/actor Angelo Tsarouchas. He's in Toronto performing his stand up comedy at Local on Thursday, July 19 and at the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church Festival on Friday, July 20.
We chatted about Greece, his inspirations, married life, his new Indie film "Fred and Vinnie", and his future sitcom based on him (in development) being produced by Hollywood funny man actor Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers, Swingers, The Breakup, Old School, Mr. and Mrs. Smith and many more).
Angelo Tsarouchas starts off with a statement on Greece:
Greeks, we’re pissing off most of the world and we should! Nobody is pissing anybody off anymore. Nobody is going to piss anybody off in Canada. In Greece, they stand up to Germany and even their own government. If anybody is going to go against the grain it's the Greeks! I’m actually very proud of that.
Most people are like: Oh those Greeks, why do they refuse austerity measures? Would you accept austerity from a country (Germany) that has killed your people? Greeks have a voice. It’s called democracy! The Greeks gave it to the world and who better to practice it but them. Greeks are nonconformists. People tell us Greeks to do something, we tell them f*** you! That’s the way it’s been. It was like that with the Turks, Communism, and Germany in WWII.
Right or wrong Greeks are not afraid to voice their opinion. To me that’s great! Everyone is picking on Greece. They should leave them alone. They will work things out. We are a resilient culture and will persevere. Η Ελλαδα ποτε δεν πεθαινει. (Lights his cigar)
If you haven't already, watch Angelo's funny Greek debt crisis video:
Quick info on Angelo Tsarouchas
Full name: Evangelos Petros Tsarouchas
Greek Gateway: What part of Greece are your parents from?
Angelo Tsarouchas: My mom is from Lesvos, she’s a lesbian and my dad is from Sparti. He's a Spartan. So, I’m a Spartan-Lesbian. If you’re a Spartan lesbian you’re tough. That’s one fight you don’t want to get into! (Laughs)
GG: When was your last visit to Greece?
AT: I was there in 2010 with my wife on our honeymoon. It was fantastic. My wife is Armenian-American and she loved Greece so much. In fact, she asked me this week if we could go back. We were on the Greek islands and you didn’t really feel the impact of the economic crisis. The American news like CNN and other media outlets really exaggerate things.
GG: How’s married life now?
AT: It’s exciting. I married a beautiful, supportive wife from LA and she’s 7 months pregnant. I’m very excited about that. We don’t know if it’s a boy or girl and want that to be a surprise.
GG: Which city do you like more Toronto or Montreal?
AT: I don’t like the Leafs. Everyone knows that. I’m a Montreal Habs fan. Montreal is a great place. Jazz festivals, family, smoked meat, however Toronto has the best Greektown in the world. I lived on the Danforth for 9 years when I was here years ago. I love Toronto. Many memories here like the Greece 2004 Euro Cup Champions street party and many others. My wife and I visit Toronto frequently and she loves it. Our koumbari live in Toronto.
I love both cities equally. Both cities have open arms for me and very supportive Greek communities. If it wasn’t for the weather, I would live in Canada 365 days out of the year.
GG: What inspired you to become a comedian?
AT: I used to watch comedians like George Carlin and Richard Pryor on television from the age of 7. I didn’t really understand what they were saying but liked what they were doing. On a dare in high school in Ottawa, I did Rodney Dangerfield material and jokes about the school.
GG: Who was your favourite comedian growing up?
AT: There are a few. Sam Kinison, Richard Pryor, Rodney Dangerfield, Mike MacDonald was also a great Canadian comedian. I loved Greek comedy too. I grew up listening to Harry Klynn. I think he’s brilliant. The voice and characters were great. During the Junta Χουντα in 1967, Harry Klynn moved to Montreal.
GG: How do you think the modern day Greeks in North America versus the Greeks in Greece are responding to your stand up?
AT: That’s a good question. I’ve never officially done a show in Greece. If I do the joke about my mom yelling at the door to call me in for dinner, that’s normal in Greece. It’s called Tuesday. They really can’t relate to our Greek diaspora style comedy. Like My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The Greeks in Greece were offended by the many stereotypical jokes. They think that we're insulting them because they really can’t relate. I get fan mail but from Greeks that have lived somewhere abroad and moved to Greece.
GG: What can we expect from your first starring role in the movie Fred and Vinnie?
AT: This film is about relationships and based on a true story about Vinnie D’Angelo. It was directed by Steve Skrovan (Executive producer and writer of Everybody Loves Raymond) and written by Fred Stoller (frequent guest star on Everybody Loves Raymond). Most people that see this film see a little bit of someone in their own lives. I play a depressed guy who has a long distance friendship with his friend. Then he visits him in LA and really overstays his welcome.
In this film I had the opportunity to play a real guy with real issues. It was nice to step away from the mob guy, delivery guy stereotypical roles I’ve done in the past. The film has had good success and I’m really happy about it. We also have some interest from several television movie channels that may want to pick it up.
GG: What was it like working with Fred Stoller (Guest star from Everybody loves Raymond)?
AT: Fred is an interesting guy. He’s very much like his character. He’s got the neurosis, he’s Jewish from New York. You couldn’t meet a nicer guy. In many ways his comedic originality is almost genius. We hang out and are friends.
PB: What plans do you have for the future?
AT: Right now I’m in development with Vince Vaughn’s production company on a T.V sitcom about my life and comedy. My character will probably be Greek but not the focus of the show. We’re looking at top Hollywood writers right now.
GG: That’s amazing Ang! Good for you.
GG: How is it working with the talented Vince Vaughn?
AT: He’s a good guy. Vince is the coolest guy in the room. He’s such a great actor and a perfectionist. I’m happy that Vince likes my comedy. He loved my stand up and we’ve been touring. I’m really happy. He’s never told me what to do. He said do your thing. Coolest guy in the world. I’m such a big fan of his and here I am working with him and now he wants to do a sitcom about me.
Written by: Greek Gateway