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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Senior forward Blake Hinson (2) drives to the basket during Saturday evening’s game against Virginia Tech in the Petersen Events Center.
Column | Blake Hinson has pro potential
By Aidan Kasner, Staff Writer • February 29, 2024
Women’s History Month event roundup
By Ryleigh Lord, News Editor • February 29, 2024

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Senior forward Blake Hinson (2) drives to the basket during Saturday evening’s game against Virginia Tech in the Petersen Events Center.
Column | Blake Hinson has pro potential
By Aidan Kasner, Staff Writer • February 29, 2024
Women’s History Month event roundup
By Ryleigh Lord, News Editor • February 29, 2024

Review | Gianmarco Soresi delivers a stellar stand-up set at Pittsburgh Improv

Gianmarco+Soresi+in+Netflix%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%9CVerified+Stand-Ups.%E2%80%9D
Courtesy of Netflix
Gianmarco Soresi in Netflix’s “Verified Stand-Ups.”

Crossing the Monongahela for a stand-up comedy show is a big ask. Forgoing a swim, I hopped on the 61D and rode over the bridge past the city limits until the bus left me to wander through a sea of parking lots at Homestead’s Waterfront. Past a P.F. Chang’s and a Dave & Buster’s blasting sports radio sat Pittsburgh Improv, a comedy club packed for the evening’s headliner, actor and comedian Gianmarco Soresi. As I voyaged back into civilization after freezing at a bus stop for 45 minutes, I was certain the trip was worth it. 

During the show, Soresi joked that fans often approach him and say they’re such “stalkers” because they watched his clips on social media then bought a ticket to come see him in their city. He said that’s not stalking, that’s literally his entire business model as a comedian. It’s also precisely how I discovered Gianmarco Soresi — short videos of his quick-witted crowd work from the Instagram algorithm drew me in, but the experience of seeing Soresi hold an audience in a comedic chokehold for almost two hours revealed a masterful side to his sparkling satire. 

After an excellent set from opener Liam Nelson, Soresi wasted no time on stage, launching into jokes about being Jewish, relationships and majoring in musical theater. Pittsburgh’s theater kids showed up for the show — Soresi’s jokes about taking classes like “movement” and other things he “studied as a baby” and being a lonely straight kid at theater camp hit close to home at Pittsburgh Improv. Soresi said he was happy to have so many actors in the audience, but was hoping for fans with “expendable income.”

Soresi had a back-and-forth with two recent college graduates in the audience, both of whom studied musical theater and were working on a student film about an incel who falls in love with a call girl that murders her abusive boyfriend. They said it’s opening at the Manor Theater in August 2024 — if their movie becomes a big blockbuster, let it be known that I’m the one who sat behind the star and director/blood specialist at the Gianmarco Soresi show. 

During our interview last month, Soresi told me the key to crowd work was digging through an audience member until he strikes gold. People from the crowd often buried the lede when Soresi picked them out — after listening to a confessional of one man’s familial troubles and substance abuse, Soresi plucked out that he was a reformed Mormon. In our interview, Soresi also said a comedian needs to know when to bail on a crowd interaction — when the man began spilling some decidedly uncomedic tea about his transitioning sibling, Soresi diverted the attention to an opera singer and her husband she met on OkCupid. 

Like many millennial comedians, Soresi draws from childhood trauma to craft brutally funny cracks at family strife. One portion of his act centered on Soresi’s complicated relationship with his father, tastefully weaving through tender moments and searing burns to paint a picture of the paternal dynamic. He gracefully lept from emotional exchanges with his father before his quintuple bypass surgery to jabs at his conservative politics and taste for younger women. 

Soresi also shed light on his relationship with his girlfriend. Boy, she must have a great sense of humor, because Soresi aired their dirty laundry for the audience –– literally. A bit about extraneous women’s underwear mixed in with the couple’s clothes ended with his girlfriend accusing him of cheating and a deus ex machina Uber driver talking her down, in exchange for Soresi bolstering an alibi for his wife. 

Soresi is his Hasidic-raised girlfriend’s first serious relationship, while Soresi himself has been around the block a few times, so there’s clearly a cynicism gap –– still, compared to his parents’ scores of divorces and his innumerable half and stepsiblings, Soresi makes his relationship sound like a cakewalk. I suppose if someone’s willing to date a stand-up comedian, they should expect amphitheaters of strangers around the country to chuckle at their night terrors as part of the package.

Hailing from the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., Soresi resides in New York City. Though the crowd consisted of few New Yorkers, apart from one student who came to Pittsburgh to study –– you guessed it –– musical theater, Soresi shared his experience of living in the Big Apple. He said he lives across from the Whole Foods on Malcolm X Boulevard, “which is what he would have wanted.” Soresi said his real estate agent introduced his home in South Harlem as “SoHa,” and that white people would move to North Korea if it was called “NoKo.”

He also pulled up his shirt to reveal a tattoo of a cursive L, the first letter of his ex-girlfriend’s name. No baggage there! Soresi said he promised his current girlfriend that if he ever got to joke about it during a televised performance, he would get the tattoo removed the next day. I just watched his short set on Netflix’s new “Verified Stand-up” series, his first and currently only Netflix feature, and the joke was nowhere to be found. Looks like Soresi will be telling women about his fictional dead friend Larry for a while longer.

 

About the Contributor
Patrick Swain, Culture Editor
Patrick Swain is a junior economics major with a minor in Hispanic language and culture. He begrudgingly removes Oxford commas as the culture editor of The Pitt News. You can find him rooting for the Buffalo Bills, invoking the third amendment and remembering the Alamo.