King of social-media comics brings it to the State
During winter, usually before a predicted snowfall, comedian Vic DiBitetto receives renewed attention. Although not a household name, DiBitetto has attained a cult following and an enviable road calendar that is booked through 2019.
The 56-year-old comic has managed to stay relevant in large part because of savvy use of social media. If you aren’t familiar with his stand-up, you may have seen him in the feature film, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” or perhaps you know him as the “bread and milk guy” from the viral video DiBitetto posted in 2013 on YouTube.
The video clip, “Bread & Milk,” has garnered more than 16 million views and is featured on television broadcasts prior to reports of potential snowfall. The video was a happy accident that has contributed to DiBitetto’s popularity with audiences of all ages.
Snowfall or not, the forecast calls for a flurry of laughter inside the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton, 8 p.m. Dec. 15, for “An Evening with Vic DiBitetto.”
DiBitetto cut his comedy teeth 33 years ago in arguably of the toughest rooms, the legendary Pips Comedy Club, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, N.Y. A running tale about the since-closed establishment is that it was so rough “even the bartenders heckled.”
Patrons at Pips were known to toss insults as well as tables at comics that failed to meet their expectations.
“I grew up in Brooklyn, New York,” says DiBitetto in a phone interview. “They [Pips] had an amateur night there. I went on stage, [and] bombed, but the needle was hooked. I kept going back. Now I’m selling out theaters and venues all over the country.
“The fruits of my labor; it’s finally paying off.”
DiBitetto’s hard work has not gone unnoticed by audiences, social media followers and fellow comics. Over the past three decades, he has shared club stages with notable stand-ups, including Colin Quinn, Andrew Dice Clay and Kevin James.
“Me and Kevin James, we started together,” says DiBitetto when asked how he landed his role in “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” (2015).
“We knew of each other, [but] we weren’t buddies. He became the ‘King of Queens,’ and I went on to drive a school bus.
“Fast-forward. He saw my stuff that I do on social media. I do all these videos. I call them vignettes. I do characters and one of the characters is a guy called ‘Tony Gaga.’
“He’s an exaggerated Italian guy. He [James] saw it and he said, ‘You gave me an idea for a part in the movie,’ and, boom, he called me personally.
“I didn’t believe it was him,” DiBitetto says about the phone call from James. “I almost hung up on him. But I realized it was really him and I had a nice little part [in the film]. Six weeks [on location] in Vegas. It was a great experience, one of the greatest of my career.”
In the film, DiBitetto plays Gino Chizetti, one of Paul Blart’s mall cop squad. “We were part of the ‘Wack Pack,’ they call it. It was me and three other mall cop guys.
“I [my character] was from Staten Island. What a shocker. I was in a big fight scene at the end where all his guys come to the rescue. It was really good.
“Mall Cop 2 was great. It was filmed at the Wynn hotel in Vegas, the first movie ever to be filmed at the Wynn,” he adds. “It’s also a good-looking movie.. It was shot really nice.
“That was a gift from God,” DiBitetto says of his “Mall Cop 2” role. “That came out of left field when Kevin James called me. But it’s a brutal business [getting roles in the film and television industry].
“So that’s where I took to social media, [using it] to my advantage and I have a huge following. I have more eyeballs looking at me than [on] a sitcom.
“Here you’ve got this 56-year-old guy, comedian, using what these Millennials are using.”
DiBitetto, who has been crafting his social media presence since 2010, has more than 250 million views across all platforms.
“I’m tired of waiting for a break from people. I’m doing it my way. That’s the beauty of this whole thing.”
Although DiBitetto has seemingly mastered the intricacies of self-promotion on social media, stand-up is still his primary “bread and milk.” The comic enjoys traveling the United States and performing in front of live audiences. He is especially fond of playing to crowds in Pennsylvania.
“Get your tickets early because it’s gonna sell out,” he advises people considering attending the show at the State Theatre. “I’m not kidding. You’re gonna get a great show. My fans love me, and I love my fans.
“It’s just a pleasure to make people happy.”
Tickets: State Theatre Center for the Arts box office, 453 Northampton St., Easton; statetheatre.org; 1-800-999-7828; 610-252-3132