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Tomasulo’s comedy show at Beverly Arts Center was hilarious
WGN TV Sports reporter Pat Tomasulo took his standup comedy to the Beverly Arts Center stage on New Year’s Eve entertaining two sold-out audiences with his unique and powerfully delivered with that I call hilarious sarcasm. Tomasulo had the audiences belly laughing without being able to catch their breath. He’s one of Chicagoland’s most talented comedians.
By Ray Hanania
I’ve never seen Pat Tomasulo, the WGN TV Sports reporter and host of the former late night show “Man of the People” live, outside of the television screen, until New Year’s Eve when he performed his belly laughing standup comedy at the Beverly Arts Center on Chicago’s Southwest Side.
Tomasulo is hilarious on TV, but being outside of the limitations of the TV environment allowed him to take his clever comedy routines and observations far beyond restraints, but not offensively, into a hilarity that was belly laughs from start to finish.
Comedian Jeannie Doogan, who I have seen before, opened for Tomasulo with a funny routine that gave the 90 minute show energy. Doogan was very funny and she connected with the largely Irish Catholic audience that has been the lifeblood of Beverly Hills & Morgan Park since I have been covering the communities since the early 1970s.
She didn’t miss a beat, moving from one topic to another and was the perfect set-up for Tomasulo who took the audience even further into the world of laughter and fun.
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If I had to describe Tomasulo’s comedy, it would be “hilarious sarcasm.” The speed at which he delivers his routines was amazing. He riffed through topic after topic; they were all topics that averages, everyday people in the audience can relate to. His style is different from mine in which I focus on my Palestinian heritage and my wife and son’s Jewish religion and how we clash in funny ways from marriage to birth to the dinner table. And I joke about politics having covered Chicago City Hall 17 years and politics for 4o years. But that kind of specialized humor works only with certain audiences (Jewish groups, some liberal Arab groups that don’t want to put a negative Fatwa on your head for making fun of 72 Virgins, and older Americans familiar with the Middle East conflict.)
Tomasulo talks about the things that matter when you wake up in the morning and go to sleep, the period of human consciousness that is most important to audiences’ lives. It’s what really matters.
Tomasulo went from one topic to another, each in harmony with the lives of the audience. There was laughter across the board, from young to old. His language pushed the R-rated boundaries but in a respectful and funny way. Too often, comedians drop the F-word not as a subtle form of expression (if the f-word can be subtle) but as a means of generating cheap laughter. Sadly, young audiences laugh when they just say F—!). Tomasulo’s use of language — he doesn’t use the F-word that often — was very specific, including when he humped his stool on stage describing his simple expectations from his nine year marriage.
But it connected and everyone was laughing including me,
The comedy stage is for adults, at least 18 years and older. My 18 year old son was there laughing hysterically and loudly with everyone else. Nothing was offensive.
He riffed about being short, about his marriage, about not having children and listening to other couples who have children. He joked about the importance of pets, and
He performed for nearly one straight hour with no pauses, dragging the audience through laughter and hilarity like fish hooked on a Rapala fishing lure flapping, jiggling and flying out of the water like condemned fish. He gave us no choice but to laugh.
Tomasulo hones his comedy performing every morning on the WGN TV Morning News program with fellow journalists actors Larry Potash, Robin Baumgarten, weather reporters Paul Konrad, Morgan Kolkmeyer and Sarah Jindra. There’s also entertainment beat reporters Dean Richards and Anna Belaval, and Marcus Leshock who contribute to the rich environment in which Tomasulo flourishes.
The team is an environment delivering both entertainment as well as serious news. My son Aaron has been watching their news show since he was in the First Grade, which probably explains why the kid is a genius maintaining Straight A grades since 4th grade through graduation and into his freshman year college.
The WGN TV morning show environment of humor and news is what keeps their show alive and making it one of the best in the country. They’re all talented and it is no surprise that Tomasulo comes from that always clever and creative TV environment.
If you get a chance to book his so, don’t hesitate. It wa truly entertaining and refreshing. And his talent to move from one topic to another tearing through all of our perceptions with laughter and humor is very impressive. His website is www.pattomasulo.com. His Twitter handle is @pattomasulo. And don’t forget to check out the WGN TV Morning News Show which offers great news mixed in an entertaining formula with some of the most talented journalists on TV today.
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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