WHO: TONY BARTOLONE
WHERE: iO WEST, Hollywood, Ca
WHEN: 11:20pm, June 6, 2012
How good is the name Tony Bartolone? Like he has some kind of unspoken obligation to open a family-style restaurant. It’s so Italian. Although, he’s only half Italian. The top half. (According to him.)
Originally from La Mirada, which is towards Orange County, Bartolone explains “it’s on the taint of Los Angeles county which I think is funny because people from Orange County are dicks and people from Los Angeles are assholes. So it’s appropriate.”
I met Bartolone outside of iO West for the LA Improv Festival so it didn’t come as a surprise that he is a comedian. “I do comedy, writing, Facebooking… I’m a professional Facebooker. I take Facebook seriously. I’ve booked entire comedy shows on Facebook. I put the book in Facebook. And the Face. Both. I put the book to the - alright.”
When I found him, he was standing by two girls who both told me he has an incredible beard. I agree, hence the interview. But I did wonder if people treat him differently because of his facial hair. “I get a lot of compliments. I think that’s part due to the hipster culture in Los Angeles… I don’t know. I’m just lazy. I feel like they’re undeserved compliments. If anything, I took the easy- like I’m just being lazy and getting compliments for it. I didn’t accomplish anything.”
I disagree - it takes patience and endurance to get past the oh-so-complained-about “itchy stage” of hair growth and let those facial follicles run free. He has had his beard for months. The last time he shaved he played Dick Cheney at iO West. He doesn’t remember exactly when that was… but it was most likely months ago.
There is a continuing struggle of man vs. beard. “There’s some tyranny… beardanny… I don’t know. Like eating… My mustache was getting into my mouth a lot when I ate. Yeah it’s kind of gross.”
Still, he attributes beards to negligence of some kind. “I feel like comedians don’t shave a lot - there are a lot of 5’o’clock shadows going on - a lot of stubble going on. Maybe part of it is the alternative lifestyle, like not wanting to get up in the morning and go to work and stuff like that.”
While Bartolone doesn’t have a standard “get up in the morning and go to work” job (who does?), he is definitely keeping himself busy with his comedic skills. He writes for the Huffington Post and does a ton of stand up. Go see his show on Saturday at Bang Comedy Theater with Sean Patton! He’s also working on a documentary about comedy called The Open Road. They’re gonna have a kickstarter soon, but for now, go “like” their Facebook page and get in on the grassroots level.
You can also follow him on Twitter, @tonydoescomedy!
© Jessica Rotter