Receiving accolades from Milton Berle and George Carlin is high praise but with a comic like Vinnie Favorito, it’s more than well-deserved. After an extended stint in Las Vegas, Favorito returned to Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, performing at HQ2 Nightclub throughout the month of December. We chatted with Vinnie as he prepared to bring his show back to Ocean, touching on his Boston comedy beginnings, the current state of the word, and how his roast-style comedy continues to resonate with fans.

Live comedy is returning all over the country, and you will be at HQ2 Nightclub at Ocean Casino Resort on December 18th. Are you excited to come back to the East Coast? 

Vinnie Favorito: I am, I was in Vegas for all of those years and came home to the East Coast. I used to do Atlantic City years ago, so it’s really great to be back. 

 
Would you say that your comedy has an East Coast sensibility? 
VF: Oh absolutely. It’s definitely in my wheelhouse, although I do love Vegas and have fans across the country. 
 
You are known for your roast-style comedy and crowd interaction, but that is probably what people absolutely love seeing you do, is that fair? 
VF: I think it is very fair. Listen, I know that the world has changed, but there is still a following for what I do. I stand my ground as far as being politically correct, but I do it with likability. Believe it or not, I win over crowds from every walk of life that attend my shows. They realize that I am not just making fun of them, I am making fun of everyone and we are all laughing together. There are plenty of disclaimers before the crowd gets there – I even tell them that if they’re easily offended, now is their time to bail. They stick around and realize that the world is a little bit screwed up and this is pretty cool escape. I am equal opportunity and I mess with everybody and anybody from every walk of life. If I can mess with myself, I mess with everyone else. I do some jokes up front and then I go into the audience and say “what’s your name, where you from?” and take it from there. 
 
Many think that you absolutely shine when it comes to a roast. Roasts are known to be hilarious, and the comedy is laser-focused on the subject of the roast on the dais. Are they where you feel you absolutely shine? 
VF: That is what my show is every night. It’s like a celebrity roast and the audience members get to be the celebrity. Once I get to you it becomes a continuous roast; you think it’s over after I get to you and move onto someone else, then I call back to you. It really a lot of fun; I just love it so much! 
 
So many comedians are influenced by the ones that came before them. Who are some of the comedians that truly have influenced you? 
VF: I’ve always been compared to Don Rickles. Milton Berle actually made me an honorary member and I would always do the roasts at the Friars Clubs. I did a show one night in Hollywood after which Milton Berle called over all of the photographers after I got off the stage and had me sit with him and his wife. He said “this guys new name is “Rickles with venom””; it was perfect. George Carlin was a big fan of mine, when we both worked in Vegas at the same time. He is quoted as telling me, “you walk (the line) without crossing over it”. He said he has never seen anyone dig a hole and get out of it like I could and that I am a “rose sticking out of the cement”
 
You have had so many rare experiences that many of today’s comics would not have been privileged to have; is some of your success steeped in your Boston comedy roots? 
VF: I come from a great comedy town; when I came up, comedy was on every corner. We used to do shows at Nick’s Comedy Shop in Boston, six shows a night. There are just so many great comics out there right now, like Bill Burr who was a student of mine when I taught comedy. Basically, the comics today have stadium shows, God bless them, but I am just so happy with a 200-seat, intimate crowd where I show as much attention as I can to each of them. I was known for the most repeat business, and people have come up and said “this is my twelfth time you still haven’t done me”. I just tell them “you’ll have to buy another ticket then” (laughs). I have hours of material I haven’t touched because I just don’t think I will be as funny as the crowd work can be. 
 
Doing a show at HQ2 is a new experience for so many and completely unique to Ocean. What is it like to perform in a room like that? 
VF: We chose HQ2 because it is so Vinnie Favorito. With the couches and the pub tables on the dance floor; the whole setting of the room; it’s such a special room. You want a feel of a real club and that is in HQ2, I think it’s gorgeous. Once the show begins and it’s contagious, people don’t even like to get up to go to the restroom, they’re afraid that they’ll miss something. (laughs). 
 
When Covid hit, it took the ability to perform on a stage away from live performers. Were you able to pick right up where you left off? 
VF: I picked up right where I left off. My fans are loving it because they thought maybe I would change because of the pressure of what is going on in the world, and I won’t. I don’t talk about politics or religion anything that splits a room; I’m too smart for that. In my room everyone feels equal in the show, and that is the key to what I do; it’s magical.
For tickets and information on Vinnie Favorito -“Just Kidding” head over to theoceanac.com