Greek-Canadian stand-up comic bringing laughs to Athens
One of Greece’s wayward sons is about to make a stand-up return. With the support of the Canadian Embassy, Canadian-Greek comedian Angelo Tsarouchas will take the stage at the Michael Cacoyannis Theater this Sunday, November 24. The show – in English but sprinkled with bits of Greek – forms the subject of “Back to Sparta,” a film documenting the comedian’s lifelong goal to perform live in his ancestral country.
Tsarouchas was born in Montreal, but his family originally hails from Sparta. “People would ask me how I learned to speak Greek and I would tell them it was because my mother couldn’t speak English,” notes the current Los Angeles resident. Tsarouchas has performed for audiences around the world, but this visit marks his first to Greece in a professional capacity. “This is where my parents are from. We used to spend summers here when we were younger. It’s always been a dream of mine to come back.”
Much of Tsarouchas’s humor pokes fun at his bulky figure and Greek heritage. His last stand-up special, “Bigger is Better,” premiered on Showtime and attracted upward of 14 million viewers. Past performances have also included roles in the films “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” and “Cinderella Man.” The production of a new sitcom series, “The Angelo Show,” was recently confirmed and will feature fellow comedian Vince Vaughn in the role of executive producer.
Tsarouchas lists Harry Klynn (Vassilis Triantafyllidis) and Lakis Lazopoulos as his greatest artistic influences. Last week he had the opportunity to meet Lazopoulos in Athens – “a very funny man and a class act.”
Touring across Canada and the United States, fellow comedians would ask Tsarouchas why Greeks were always so congenial to one another. “That’s just the way we are,” he would reply. “That’s the way we’ve been raised. We’re probably the proudest people on Earth.” Tsarouchas’s homecoming takes him back to the roots of that pride. “I only wish that more artists of the diaspora would do the same,” he adds.
General admission to Tsarouchas’s “One and Only Stand-Up Comedy Performance” costs 10 euros. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 210.341.8579 or visiting the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation’s website, www.mcf.gr. The show begins at 9 p.m.