The pair, who are known as The Doo Wops, have been making musical comedy together for more than 20 years, and this July 12-23 they’re bringing their brand of humour to Just For Laugh’s ethnic showcase in Montreal.
Catucci and Mesiano use their Italian-Canadian background as inspiration for some seriously hilarious songs, including “No Gino No Cry” and “Mangia Cake Girl.” “I grew up in a fairly typical Italian family,” explains Catucci. “The only difference is we lived in a condo so we didn’t have a cantina. Actually, my closet was the cantina. We had salamis and prosciuttos hanging in my closet that I could eat whenever I wanted.” Really?
“No not really,” laughs Catucci. His delivery is deadpan. “But my uncle had a restaurant on St. Clair in Toronto’s Little Italy back in the 1970s and ’80s where I could eat all the pasta and prosciutto I wanted.” David Mesiano says his upbringing was also typically Italian-Canadian, although his home did have a cantina in the basement. “I remember making tomato sauce at my nonna’s house every year and the sausage and the melenzzane and the wine. And then all the mangia cake neighbours coming over for freebies, “ recalls Mesiano. Catucci and Mesiano first met at York University in the 1990s where they were both members of the Vanier College Productions theatre company. The pair say they hit it off right away, connecting as a result of their similar Italian-Canadian backgrounds.
“We just started bouncing ideas off of each other, had similar interests, similar experiences,” explains Mesiano. “We also wanted to be rock stars but we didn’t have bands, “ adds Catucci, who many will recognize as the host of the popular Food Network program, You Gotta Eat Here. So the duo formed their own band, writing original songs that riffed off their uniquely Italian-Canadian experiences. Their first performance was at a friend’s weekly comedy show in downtown Toronto.
“It worked right away,” says Catucci “And the fact that we can actually carry a tune, and Dave plays guitar and I can play a mean tambourine. I think that set us apart from other musical acts.” Also setting The Doo Wops apart is their ability to take their Italian-Canadian experiences and have them transcend cultural boundaries and make everyone laugh — regardless of ethnicity.
“I think that the topics we write and sing and talk about are universal. It’s Italian but it’s still about family and everyone can relate to the family stuff,” explains Mesiano. “Also, everyone knows someone who is Italian or wants to be Italian so it’s somewhat relatable.”
The Doo Wops are clearly connecting with audiences, in 2001 the duo won the Just For Laughs Homegrown Competition, and they’ve received numerous Canadian Comedy Award nominations over the years. But despite all the accolades, Mesiano says the love of performing is his biggest motivation and The Doo Wops are looking forward to their upcoming show at Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival this July.
“There’s going to be some dirtiness, “ hints Mesiano. “We’re taking a reverse approach this year. We’re going to throw tomatoes at the audience and then they’ll have sugo for the night.” “We’re also going to have a prosciutto cannon,” adds Catucci. “Some people might get hurt but I think it’ll be a delicious, fun night.”
You can see The Doo Wops perform this summer as part of Just For Laugh's ethnic showcase, July 12-23. For tickets click onto hahaha.com.