2016-02-04 / Front Page

Fitzpatrick Brings Comic Chops to Newport

By James Merolla


Buddy Fitzpatrick will be at the Hyatt Regency on Friday, Feb. 19. Buddy Fitzpatrick will be at the Hyatt Regency on Friday, Feb. 19. “A lot of comics, famous ones anyway, come from Philadelphia. I wish I was one of them.” And with that self-deprecating remark, Buddy Fitzpatrick introduced himself to Newport.

Fitzpatrick, 50ish, is a Philadelphia native who will share the Winter Festival comedy stage with Joe Yannetty on Friday, Feb. 19, at the Hyatt Regency on Goat Island.

A New York club favorite and an accomplished comic actor, you may have seen him in “The Sopranos,” “The Business of Strangers,” “Harlem Aria,” and on “Gotham Comedy Live,” with two appearances on Nickmom's “Night Out.” He has also opened for Joan Rivers, Joy Behar, The Beach Boys, The Doobie Brothers and the Righteous Brothers, among others.

Fitzpatrick’s act combines the skill of a great monologist with a physical style that brings his observations to life. At 18, he left Philadelphia to pursue a career in the arts, enrolling in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. He never looked back.

He toured with several theater companies, starring in plays ranging from Shakespeare to Neil Simon. His comedic timing was always a bright spot in any production, and with a little prodding he took the next step to the comedy club stage. The positive response fueled his work and has kept him very busy on the comedy circuit for the last 20 years.

His act is made up of inventive material, usually observed from being a single dad with two teen daughters, delivered in a self-assured style.

Introspective and cerebral, his theater background has helped him enormously as a performer and writer, he said.

“I think most comics find it difficult to analyze exactly how they write. It might be like songwriters. Something happens or pops into our heads. Because I was born to this breed, I feel compelled to make it funny,” said Fitzpatrick. “I try to remain relevant and try to write what interests me. But I am limited because I am a single father, limited to family, friends, or my children, someone I’m dating, maybe. It makes me laugh and I take off from there.”

Like any East Coast product of a big city, he finds humor in everyday agony. “I talk a lot about pain, divorce, grief. It’s good to laugh about stuff like that,” he added. “Who laughs about divorce? I speak about my elderly parents who can be a pain. People actually come up to me after a show and say, ‘Thank you. I’m going through what you are going through.’ I think, given time, anything can be funny.”

He prefers to speak to a middle-age audience of parents, people just like him.

"I don’t do colleges. I have nothing to say to college kids. In the atmosphere of a theater or a comedy club, where there is a good mix of people, that’s what I like best.”

Relatively clean but “not squeaky clean,” Fitzpatrick said he loves the freedom “to talk about what I write without too many restrictions. I don’t really plan it that way. I’m 60 percent prepared and 40 percent in the moment.”

Like a serious actor on opening night, he won’t mingle in advance.

“I don’t even like the audience seeing me before the show. I know that comes from my theater background. I don’t like the

'show before the show.' It ruins the mystique. I will meet anyone afterwards, however,” he said.

He recently completed a comedy for Netflix that may get picked up, finished one film that is coming out in May, and will begin filming another in March. You may not know the name or the face, but he’s constantly working.

“Again, we go back to theater. You are not going to see Sylvester Stallone in a Spielberg romantic. Everyone has their niche. I’m going to get that mother-single-father age range. I’m not doing urban clubs. We all find our successful route,” added Fitzpatrick.

“I think the unknowns of comedy keep this business going. Sometimes, if they don’t recognize the name, people think, ‘I’m not going to that.’ But it’s Winter Festival. There is a reason comics are there. We are good. We are fun. You don’t see that every day. I’m looking forward to meeting all these people.”

For more information, visit NewportWinterFestival.com or call 401- 847-7666. Ask about VIP tickets.

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