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An Interview with Johnny DiLoretto about Mooch and Pinsky

Mooch and Pinsky: The Shocking Story of Two Comedy Legends will be performed at Shadowbox Live on Tuesday July 21st at 8pm. Tickets are $5 and are available @ www.shadowboxlive.org or at the door. Johnny DiLoretto was kind enough to answer a few questions from Colin G. about the show.

CG) You and Jimmy Mak go way back. Do you remember when you first met and what was the first idea you guys performed together in front of an audience?

JD) Yes, absolutely I remember the first time I met Jimmy. How could I forget? He was sporting one of those Michael Jackson red-leather Thriller jackets, a spiked mullet, and no pants. Hard to shake, really.

Jimmy and I were best friends and creative collaborators through high school and college and we made a hundred silly video sketches, but until Mooch and Pinsky, we'd never performed an entire show - that we conceived of - together on stage. This is kind of a silly dream come true. 

CG) Can you give a brief rundown on what Mooch and Pinsky is all about? 

JD) The basic idea behind the show is a theatrical mockumentary. Kind of like This is Spinal Tap, but done live on stage and about a comedy duo instead of a heavy metal band. Mooch and Pinsky were a 1950's comedy nightclub act that hit it big in Hollywood. They made three of the greatest comedy movies of the 60's then vanished. The show is a search for the answer to their mysterious disappearance - and also an excuse for me and Jimmy to dress in drag a couple times...

CG) So at what point did Mooch and Pinsky transform from an idea that sounded good after eleven cocktails to "Let's really do this thing?" Was there one moment when the idea became a reality?

JD) This is exactly the kind of idea Jimmy and I would have had when we were 19. We were drinking one night and kicking around the idea of doing a live mockumentary. Once we settled on that it was just a matter of figuring out the subject. Being Steubenville boys, we thought Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis seemed like a good jumping off point. 

CG) How difficult was it to decide on the names Mooch and Pinsky? Were there other names in the running?

JD) HA - great question. I think we sat around one evening and spent the better part of the night drinking and tossing around names. We wanted one Italian name and one Jewish name. Then we just started throwing them at each other until we started laughing. There were certainly other names in the running. Probably Poppatoozi and Bergman; Nippoli and Klein; Frappatelli and Gould... You get the picture. 

CG) How did you decide who got to be Mooch and who got to be Pinsky?

JD) We just kind of fell naturally into those two parts. The smooth Italian singer turned comedian fell to me; and the wound-up goofball went to Jimmy. But somewhere along the line they both turned ridiculous.  

CG) Does the show change each time you do perform or does it stay pretty close to your original draft? 

JD) This is only the second time we've ever done it. There are only a few tweaks between this and the first performance. But we love the idea. And plan to keep working on it to see where it goes. 

CG) Without giving away too much, do you have a personal favorite moment in the show that people should keep an eye out for?

JD) I definitely think drag turned out to be a surprise highlight of the show. There's a fun "interview" with Mooch's parents with me as the Italian mom that's a lot of fun. But later both of us play a pair of dancing sisters who used to open for Mooch and Pinsky and that bit gets out of hand pretty quickly.  

CG) Do you and Jimmy have any future/bigger plans for Mooch and Pinsky or do you take it on a show by show basis?

JD) A part of the show consists of seeing "clips" from the three Mooch and Pinsky films. We tried to make them look like zany B-comedies from the 60's, but we didn't have the time or resources to pull them off exactly like we wanted. I think that element of the show has a lot of potential -- seeing scenes from the movies, maybe old interviews with the duo, or seeing video from their live TV show, The Milk of Magnesia Comedy Hour.....

Truth be told, midway through writing this show last year we thought it might be a little too out there, but the audience got the concept and loved the characters. Some people even thought they were a real comedy team! So, I think the plan is to just keep pushing the concept forward and see how far we can take it. 

CG) Thanks for answering my questions and best of luck to Mooch and Pinsky.

JD) Thanks Colin! We appreciate the chance to shamelessly promote the show. By the way, tickets are only $5, so if it's abysmal just order a pizza.