Michael Capozzola ’92 has been making audiences laugh all over the country, and now he’s back with two other alumni to perform a stand-up show for homecoming. Contributing Writer Alexandra Palombo spoke to Capozzola about his life as a comedian, the role Ithaca College played in his life and his foray into cartoons.
Alexandra Palombo: How long have you been performing? Did you get your start on campus?
Michael Capozzola: Yeah, I started in the Pub, the exact place where we’re having the gig. It was 1990.
AP: Where have you performed since then?
MC: I do gigs all over the place. I just got back from Canada, did some gigs in Scotland.
AP: What is your favorite place you’ve performed?
MC: I loved the Washington, D.C., Improv — it’s a very brainy crowd. And I also love Ithaca College, because where else can I do jokes about Wegmans?
AP: Is Wegmans one of your favorite subjects to joke about?
MC: Yeah, but it only really works in Ithaca because they don’t really know Wegmans in too many other places — certainly not in California. Wegmans hasn’t expanded. … The Wegmans empire hasn’t made it out here yet.
AP: What do you like joking about elsewhere?
MC: For stand-up? Media, commercials. Hypocrisy, really, hypocrisy is a theme I try to dance around. It’s not political, but hypocrisy in politics and media, things like that.
AP: What do you miss most about your time at Ithaca?
MC: I miss having all my friends in one zip code.
AP: As a former college student here, do you have any advice for Ithaca students?
MC: Yeah, the world’s a terrible place. Try to stay in school as long as you can. It’s horrible out there. I’m just kidding. But treasure the time that you’re in school because you really don’t have all your friends under one roof, and some of the people you wind up working with are a challenge. No, I should say something a little better than that. Just remember, because you went to Ithaca College, you’re better than almost anyone else out there in the workforce. You deserve the job, and you have to go in there like it’s yours to lose. That’s one thing you can take solace in when you’re looking for work or when you’re working. Odds are, you’re right.
AP: What are you doing now?
MC: I’m hosting a documentary on career horror stories. It doesn’t sound that interesting — it’s career horror stories about job interviews.
AP: What channel is it going to be on?
MC: Oh, it’ll probably wind up on the Internet.
AP: Do you model yourself after anyone?
MC: Not anymore, but I was a big fan of Steven Wright growing up and a big fan of Jake Johannsen as well.
AP: What kind of music do you listen to? Any favorite bands?
MC: Wilco. I’m addicted to Wilco. If I worked Wilco into a joke, would people get it, or would they be like, “Oh, Wilco is old-people music”?
AP: They might. I understand you’re also a cartoonist. How did you get started?
MC: I always loved drawing and being funny and that’s a good intersection of the two.
AP: What are some of your favorite topics to draw about?
MC: That’s a good question. I don’t know. The strip that I do for the [San Francisco] Chronicle is pretty much bad advice for getting by cheaply. It’s going down pretty big in the city. … It’s a pretty expensive city, and it’s basically creative solutions for urban and social problems, the stuff I try to work around.
Capozzola, Margot Leitman ’00 and Giulia Rozzi ’00 will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday in IC Square. Admission is free and open to the public.