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Pete Correale ( 1980 - )  Category ( Comedians ) [suggest a correction]
 

If you listen to comedian Pete Correale for about five minutes -- or less -- you'll have no doubt about where he's from.

The delivery and the accent are pure New York. Born and raised on Long Island, he still mines the Big Apple for a lot of his material. He's a huge Yankees' fan, and says one of his primary life goals is to one day sit down for a few beers with Billy Joel.

Moreover, it was with another Long Island product, "Saturday Night Live" veteran Jim Breuer, that Correale first insinuated himself into the national consciousness. The name of their Sirius Radio show was "Breuer Unleashed," but the program unleashed Correa, as well.

Now 39, he is one of those overnight success stories that took 15 years to happen. Over the last few years, he has popped up on the late-night sets of David Letterman, Jay Leno and Carson Daly. This spring, he launched his own show on Comedy Central, "The Things We Do For Love." He has performed on stages from Las Vegas to Lebanon.

The beginning was considerably less glamorous. Correa went to Fredonia State University in western New York to play basketball, but it was a throwaway drama class that ultimately decided his life's path.

He enjoyed the class so much, in fact, that he moved back to New York to become an actor. It didn't go well, and he wound up in an improv group that he later described as "a bunch of knuckleheads." One night, after they performed at a comedy club long before the main entertainment began, Correa decided to stick around and watch the comics. By the end of the night, he was hooked.

So certain was Correa that comedy would be his future that he mopped floors and cooked burgers at several New York clubs in exchange for the chance to hone his material onstage on slow evenings or after the headline acts had finished. He studied other comedians, in person and on video. He solicited a lot of advice, and eventually his style emerged.

Like many New Yorkers, Correa is cynical and profane. At the same time, he is an "audience friendly" comic who commiserates with his listeners rather than confronting them.

"I was talking to a guy one day at an open mic night at a club," he said in one interview, "ad he said to me, 'If you write about things that happen to you, no one else can steal your jokes. And that just made all the sense in the world to me."

That approach also makes Correale’s comedy flexible, because he can draw from each period of his life. Right now, he talks a lot about being married (his wife, Jackie, is a willing foil) and about being a bit overwhelmed by the electronic advances of the 21st century (although he is on Facebook and keeps a very witty blog).

“If it happened to me, it probably happened to you,” he says.


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