Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco Finds 'Silver Lining' Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, Marries Food and Comedy for Greater Good (Exclusive)

Like the rest of Hollywood, comedian Sebastian Maniscalco has been forced to put his busy schedule on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the nation and world. But the "eye-opening" experience has drawn in both negatives and positives for him — as most would agree. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Maniscalco reveals he and friend, Chef Dominick DiBartolomeo are now combining comedy and food for Sebastian's Sunday Supper. The new project will not only provide the public with a little laughter but help raise money for families currently struggling as a result of the pandemic.

"While this pandemic was going on, I've gotten so many requests, 'Why don't you do stand up comedy from your house?'" Maniscalco explained before detailing how while he misses comedy and would even work for "free" just to be back on stage in front of a live audience as it's not the same via Zoom. "Comedy, live comedy, is such a nuance that the timing and the energy of the audience is what the comedian feeds on, and that's what the audience feeds on. So to do it like this, really doesn't work as far as an art form."

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However, the Illinois native wasn't going to let that stop him from still doing what he loves and giving fans what they want. After all, he jokes he's now a "Zoom-edian." That's when he and the Los Angeles-based chef decided to pair up and create something new. "I was just kind of sitting around with my wife, trying to figure out a way we can provide some entertainment without it being so, you [know] just sitting there watching," Maniscalco said. "We're like, 'Let's marry our two passions of food and comedy!'"

DiBartolomeo — whose business, Domenico's Food, provides authentic food straight from Italy to restaurants — was brought to a "screeching halt" as a result of the worldwide lockdown. However, he noted though he's managed to pivot to this new way of life, he is also thankful for the opportunity he has with Maniscalco, whom he considers more like family at this point. "We have an import company and we were selling mainly to restaurants and the majority of our products were coming from Italy, so as you could imagine that went from amazing, wind at your back, full steam ahead, to zero," he said, later adding how his gratitude for "family, and literally Sebastian, who's almost single-handedly helped me stay in business." As he looks at the glass half full, he said if there were "no pandemic," their virtual dinner "would never have happened."

Both Maniscalco and DiBartolomeo have partnered with the Good+Foundation and The Comedy Store Benefit to raise funds for those in need, all while providing entertainment and a nice dinner for those participating. The two will swap stories and converse with those joining over delicious, Italian food including: Imported cheeses, chef's signature Eggplant Parmigiana, a bottle of Italian wine and more. If you would like to join in on Sunday, June 28 at 4:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. ET, click this link.