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INTERVIEW: Comedian Tom Papa On Performing In The Hamptons, Jerry Seinfeld And More

Sydney A. Braat

Tom Papa is known for his clean humor and finding comedy in everyday occurrences. (Courtesy Photo)

Tom Papa, one of the top comedic voices in the country, will take the Guild Hall stage on Saturday, July 30th at 8 p.m. He has worked with some of the biggest names in the comedic industry, including Jerry Seinfeld and made appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan, and The Late Show with David Letterman. His humility as an artist and ability to find humor in everyday occurrences is what makes Papa one of the most sought after comedians of today.

Hamptons.com caught up with Papa and found out why he is so thrilled to visit the Hamptons community and what makes his work so unique:

Can you speak a bit about how you got into the entertainment business?

TP: Well, I always wanted to do it when I was a kid. Once I heard that grown-ups could actually make a living being funny that seemed like the best career path. I was just really funny as a kid and I was able to make all the other kids in the neighborhood laugh and I always did impressions around my family. Once I got out of college, I was thinking about acting and then realized that people would have to hire me, where as a comedian, all I had to do was get my friends to pay the two drink minimum at a comedy club and I could sneak up on stage for five minutes.

What makes performing in the Hamptons so special?

TP: I have some friends who have performed at Guild Hall and love it. One of them is my good friend Jerry Seinfeld who was the person that brought me to the Hamptons for the first time ever. I'm excited to come out to the Hamptons and to perform at Guild Hall is pretty exciting. I'd done Bay Street Theater and that was such a good crowd. It's basically as a performer, taking the same audience you've performed to in New York and just having them in a better mood.

Why should community members be excited to come see you on July 30th?

TP: Because I'm super funny...I guess I'm probably...well I don't want to say I'm funnier than others but I talk a lot about family, observational, every day stuff, and I have a reputation for being clean. The subject matter is for adults, but you're not going to be embarrassed if you bring someone younger. In an era where kids are cursing as much as adults, I feel like my act should be something more special, rather than something you hear on the streets or the playground. I really do like when people tell me that they listen to me on the radio and they know they're not going to have to change the channel at any moment.

Steve Agee, Tom Papa, Andy Richter, and Matt Damon. (Courtesy Photo)

What are some of the challenges you face as a comedian?

TP: I guess traveling is probably the hardest part of it. I like writing and performing all the time and that comes naturally, because it's work I really enjoy. When you're on a connecting flight on your way to Buffalo, stuffed in between two over-sized business men, that's probably the hardest part.

What comedians are you inspired by?

TP: First was George Carlin and Steve Martin, when I was younger. Then Bill Cosby. Then my biggest break was when I actually met and got to work with Jerry Seinfeld, because not only is he great and we laughed all the time, but also I learned so much about what it means to be a comedian. Every time you walk away from him, you realize you really do have the best job ever.

Can you speak a bit about your podcast, Come to Papa, on SiriusXM?

TP: It's a weekly podcast and sometimes we interview other comedians and other times it's just a time we try to create something positive amidst all the bad news. We want to create an escape for people to listen to. It's a stream of consciousness take on what's going on in the world without all the negativity.

What's next for you?

TP: I just shot my 4th comedy special in Cleveland which will come out on Epix this fall, so I'm really excited. Now the comedy tour becomes really fun, because there's not the pressure to shoot a special. It's a lot freer and a lot more fun. That's why the rest of these summer shows will be a lot of fun!

Tickets to Tom Papa begin at $45 for general admission and $43 for members of Guild Hall.

Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call 631-324-0806 or visit ww.guildhall.org.

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