He can’t recall his name, but high-energy comic Chris Distefano ’06 credits a comedian who spoke at St. Joseph’s College with helping inspire his career choice.
The SJC Brooklyn graduate said the comedian’s personal story resonated with him.
“He was really good,” Distefano said, noting that the comedian’s encouraging message helped Distefano garner the courage to step on stage for the first time in 2009, spring-boarding into a successful career as a comedian.
Distefano became a full time comic in 2013, and in December inked a year-long contract to do exclusive work for Comedy Central.
“It’s a dream,” Distefano said of working with the television channel. “I know that if you told me 10 years ago that I would be signing a contract with Comedy Central, I wouldn’t have believed you.”
The contract includes several projects already in development, including a new hour-long stand-up special called Chris Distefano: Size 38 Waist that premieres Jan. 18, as well as the continuation of Comedy Central’s Friday night interstitial series Stupid Questions with Chris Distefano.
The Comedy Central pact additionally includes an animated show, a game show and a podcast.
Getting His Start At St. Joe’s
Distefano was attracted to St. Joseph’s College for many of the same reasons as our current students: small class sizes that allowed him to stay close to the friends he grew up with.
He said he felt the most at home whenever he was on the basketball court, playing for the SJC Brooklyn Bears. In fact, Distefano is one of the top scorers in program history; he averaged 17.2 points per game during his senior season.
You know what the best thing for me was? It was a commuter school. My friends were all here in Brooklyn. St. Joe’s has a very small school atmosphere; I had so many people here to support me. — Distefano ’06
Distefano, who was known at St. Joe’s as a Tuohy Hall class clown, graduated with a bachelors degree in psychology. While studying at the New York Institute of Technology’s College of Osteopathic Medicine and earning a doctorate in physical therapy, he started dabbling in comedy.
Before his rise to comedy fame on MTV’s Guy Code and Girl Code, Distefano worked full-time as a pediatric physical therapist during the day, and would perform at New York City comedy clubs at night.
His resume now boasts appearances on such popular shows as CBS’ Distefano and Netflix’s Ultimate Beastmaster. Distefano has also performed on Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC and Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.
For Distefano, preparing for a comedy gig is similar to the way he would prepare for a basketball game when he was an SJC Brooklyn Bear.
“For me now, [the stage] is the place where I feel the most calm,” he said. “I have more anxiety off the stage than on. I get the same kind of adrenaline rush as basketball. It’s a very similar feeling; it’s something to look forward to every night.”