Perhaps one of the most uniquely well-rounded comedians out there, Jonny Loquasto is preparing for his first hour-long comedy special on Nov. 11 at the newly remodeled Brea Improv. After a comedy career that has spanned 13 years, Loquasto says this will be the biggest night of his life, although he also proudly wears his two other identities as a physical therapist and lead commentator of Championship Wrestling from Hollywood.
“I don’t sleep, I just moisturize my face to stay awake,” he says about how he successfully balances all three of these jobs. But perhaps his jest is true: During the past month alone, he has hosted several wrestling shows, worked 15 physical therapy shifts at his hospital in Downtown L.A., performed in standup shows almost every single night, and traveled across the country and even internationally to Pakistan in the name of comedy.
“I’m not going to lie, I’ll probably cry at the end of filming, just out of gratitude for all the support I’ve received,” Loquasto says. “When I look back at my journey in comedy and realize I’m filming an entire special at the Improv, where I took my first comedy class, it’s very surreal.”
Originally from Lehigh Valley, Pa., his strong desire to pursue standup came about in 2005 after he moved away from home to live in Costa Mesa. He took a class at the Irvine Improv, and later that year, made the final eight out of 100 comics during his first comedy competition, despite being a newbie.
“I remember sitting in the parking lot, listening to music to pump me up, and thinking, ‘This is it! I’m going to be a standup prodigy!” he laughs, acknowledging his naivety. “I think I finished last of the finalists, but regardless, I was so excited that these people were laughing at what I was saying instead of what I looked like.”
The self-proclaimed “former fat kid” says he weighed 170 pounds when he was only 11 years old, a childhood struggle that shaped who he is today. He talks about his experiences as a fat kid onstage, as well as on his second comedy album, Jonny Loquasto Presents… Jonny Loquasto’s Jonny Loquasto from 2017. The album features traditional standup as well as silly songs and satirical commercials, and it landed eighth on the Billboard Top 10.
“I can honestly say that if I wasn’t a fat kid, I seriously doubt I’d be involved with comedy,” Loquasto says. “Bullying made me tough and also guaranteed that I would never take myself too seriously.”
After listening to the comedy album, his former film colleague and now director, Gabriela Ledesma, called him up and urged him to think about filming a special. Now, Ledesma and her team are working ensure a high-quality special filming on Nov. 11, along with comedic skits that will be interspersed throughout the finished product.
When not writing and acting in his own award-winning short film; auditioning for acting parts; hosting one of the over 800 episodes of his wrestling show; improving patients’ ailments at the hospital; and even organizing blood drives for children fighting cancer with charity foundation Regular Hero, Loquasto takes his jokes all around the country and world.
Most recently, he had shows in Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Fla., and even in Pakistan for Comedy Masala International, an international English-speaking comedy festival, where he says he was pleasantly surprised by how enthusiastic and supportive the locals were to watch live comedy. With so many ongoing, wholehearted, and diverse pursuits, one might wonder what magical moisturizer Loquasto uses. But that’s a secret for him to keep.
“In actuality, this special has been 13 years of preparation,” Loquasto says. “I don’t know where this special will lead, but I know that anyone who watches it will see that it’s a total passion project, and I can’t wait.”
Watch Loquasto perform his live special at the Brea Improv on Nov. 11, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Find tickets at www.improv.com/brea/comic/jonny+loquasto.