A Brief Chat with Mario...

By Brian Gaar | Thursday, May 12, 2011, 12:22 PM
[Original link to article]

As the final round of the “Funniest Person In Austin” contest draws near, it’s worth remembering that, in years past, some comics have come out of nowhere and won the whole thing.
One of those was Mario DiGiorgio, who won the 1999 FPIA title just eight months after his first open mic. From there, DiGiorgio has become one of the mainstays of the Austin scene, having performed on Comedy Central and the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival.

But DiGiorgio, whose background was initially in advertising, has diversified himself - he designs t-shirts, logos and recently wrote a book, “A Cynic’s Guide to a Rich and Full Life.”

DiGiorgio is headlining the Velveeta Room this weekend and we chatted about the FPIA contest and whether or not he’s really a cynic...

Your background was in advertising, how did you get into comedy?

It’s not a giant leap from advertising to stand-up. I was writing pithy slogans and brief copy — often with tongue in cheek — and that’s pretty much all I do now. The only difference is, now I’m selling me. And I’m a terrible salesman. But I believe in the product. As soon as they get the bugs worked out.

Did you really win FPIA eight months after starting standup?

Yessir. However, I was NOT the funniest person in Austin that year. I happened to have the best set with that crowd in front of those judges on that evening with those jokes. But that won’t fit on a t-shirt. It was good to get it over with right away, though. I see the stress it’s caused my fellow comedians.

You’re one of the most respected voices on the Austin scene, has the scene here changed over the years? Why is this such a good town to start doing comedy?

I see it getting stronger with each passing year. I think because it’s so easy to live in Austin, it’s an attractive place to develop. We have a glut of smart, creative comedians — both new and established — and the best part is, there’s not a jerk in the bunch. Maybe that Gaar fellow. Thinks he’s so big. But it’s been a welcoming community for as long as I’ve lived here, and the bigwigs and other comedy industry folks love to visit Austin and scout the local talent.

You’ve written the awesomely-titled book “A Cynic’s Guide to a Rich and Full Life” — any free life tips for my readers?
Yes. Anyone can hold a door open for a stranger. But it takes a rare and special breed to trip them in the process. And the book is also awesome…not just the title.

PS: You’ve never struck me as that cynical. Are you on hiatus?

Yes. I’m waiting to see if my apathy gets picked up for another season. PS: You’ve never struck me as that observant. I’m a cynic in the sense that I loathe inconsiderate humans, and this world could benefit from a little more common courtesy. I’m more of a pleasant nihilist: While I may agree that nothing in this world really matters, there’s no need for bad manners.