We up with stand up comedian Casey James Salengo right after his sold-out show at the Comedy Cellar in the Greenwich Village in New York City.

1. What other jobs did you do before starting stand up comedy?

I’ve worked at a horse track, a campground, a weed farm, as an ice cream scooper, barista, office temp, a wizard at a Harry Potter museum, mover, dog walker, bartender, babysitter, and probably some other things I’ve blocked out.

2. How did you know you wanted to be a comedian?

I always liked being silly and making people laugh. I also hated the idea of having a normal job. In college, I got the opportunity to host a dance show with my friend Brenden and once I got laughs doing that I had a sick compulsion to chase them forever.

3. If you weren’t doing comedy, what would you be doing?

I’d probably live in the woods and train wild animals or be a professional wrestler. I’d most certainly be dead by now if I did either.

4. Where are some of your favorite places to perform?

I run a show at a place called The Secret Loft and it’s always a hoot. I kinda got started at the Pine Box Rock Shop in Bushwick and it holds a special place in my heart. I’ve done a couple shows at the Bowery Ballroom that was probably my favorite times on stage. I also just started working at the Comedy Cellar and I can’t imagine it ever not being a thrill.

5. Who are some of your favorite up-and-comers in the comedy world?

Some people I ( comedian Casey James Salengo ) always love watching are Ethan Simmons Patterson, Courtney Maginnis, Patrick Schroeder, Will Winner, Dan Licata, Tommy McNamara, Ryan Donahue, and Fareeha Kahn.

6. What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

This one is tough because I generally don’t agree with most comedy advice. Everyone has their own way of doing things and their own path which is what makes stand up so cool. I’ve taken more advice that has steered me in the wrong direction than helped. The only useful stuff I can remember is getting on stage as much as possible (while still keeping time to live a life) and don’t be an asshole.

7. When did you feel like you were a professional comedian?

I still work several jobs so it’s hard to say. It’s a very fleeting business and there are many up’s and downs. I still feel like I’m grifting people when I get paid to do it so I wouldn’t say it feels like a job and I don’t think I ever want to see it that way.

Casey James Salengo

Casey James Salengo

8. How often do you perform comedy per week?

On average 6 nights a week.

9. What are your favorite NYC comedy clubs that you perform at?

 I would have to say The Comedy Cellar because you’re really swimming with the big dogs and you always gotta bring the heat. It’s been a dream of mine since I started so I’m very honored to be there.

10. How do you deal with hecklers?

 I honestly kind of enjoy a playful heckle. It allows me to be in the moment and think on my feet. As long as they’re not being too disruptive or mean I like playing around with the audience as much as I can.

11. What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t do too much to make others happy at your own detriment because it’ll only end up being worse in the long run.

12. How would you describe your brand of comedy?

Dumb.

13. What do you talk about in your act?

My childhood, love, dogs, CVS.

14. How did you develop your style of stand up? Who were your influences growing up; both from the world of comedy and elsewhere?

I’d say it was just getting as much experience as I can and learning how to be exactly what I think is funny. I love all kinds of comedy but I personally like to be silly and stupid. Brian Regan was a favorite growing up and Rory Scovel was a real revelation early on when I started. My true comedy idols as a boy were Will Ferrell and Conan O’Brien.

15. I love to interview comedians, Can I ask what happens when you are in front of a crowd, and no one laughs?

I either get very sad and fold into myself or take pleasure in how bad it’s going and make it fun for myself. Depends on how confident I’m feeling that day.

16. What made you decide to be a comedian? Were you born funny?

I think I developed humor as a way to survive. I never really had any skills and I learned that was a way to make my life easier when things got hard and to get people on my side. I don’t think I’m inherently funny I’m mostly just commodifying my strongest defense mechanism.

17. When can people see it?

Whenever the hell they want. Sorry, I wasn’t funny in this interview I’ll be funnier if you come to see me.

18. Is there anything else that you wish to promote?

I have a fantastic podcast called The Good, The Dad, and The Ugly. You can get my album “Wild Country Phoenix” wherever you get albums. You can follow comedian Casey James Salengo on Instagram @caseyjsalengo for show information. The Hershey’s Cookies and Cream iced latte at Dunkin Donuts is delicious.

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