Punt, Pass, & Shtick

Ohio-born comic gives props to the Browns for his laugh-it-up livelihood.

Flight of the Conchords joke-rock HBO
When you ask comedians to name their heroes, most of them will spout off about their favorite yucksters of yesteryear, influential TV shows, even cartoons. For East Liverpool-born John Caparulo, the Cleveland Browns top the list. "East Liverpool is basically Steeler country. Had I picked the Steelers, even the Bengals, I don't think I'd be a comedian now," says Caparulo, who'll laugh it up on Playhouse Square tonight in a performance that will be taped for a DVD release. "Watching the Browns and dealing with all that heartache — especially in the late '80s, with the Broncos and everything — that made me kinda cynical. It made me think, no matter how good things look, it's never gonna work out." Embarrassing childhood moments also motivate him. Consider the time that he was a sixth-grader at basketball practice and he peed his pants. "As I got into high school, it became this story that people would always want me to tell," says Caparulo. "I was always kinda shy, and I didn't really know if I was funny enough in front of strangers." Then it dawned on him later, as a Kent State student, that he was actually a cutup. "I'd be in class, and I'd realize that the other students in the class really cared about the class," says Caparulo. "I just cared about making a good wisecrack in the middle of class."Today, he describes his act as a bitchfest with a paycheck. "A lot of people can only complain to their wives and their friends. Those people are like, 'Dude, shut up!'" says Caparulo. "I get to go and complain in front of people, and they laugh at it." The show starts at 8 tonight at the Ohio Theatre, 1511 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $17.50 to $22.75. Call 216-241-6000 or visit www.playhousesquare.com.
Sat., May 3, 8 p.m., 2008
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