Pat McGann is a Chicago-based stand-up comedian and television host. In 2015, he made his second appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. McGann is also the creator and host of the Emmy-nominated television show The Chicago Stand Up Project and has been appeared on the Late Show With Stephen Colbert, The Bob & Tom Show and AXS-TV’s Gotham Comedy Live.
McGann recently performed with long-time friend Sebastian Maniscalco as part of four sold-out shows at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. New Yorkers will have the chance to see McGann in a more intimate light later this month at the Gotham Comedy Club on April 26th and 27th. Upcoming dates in the Chicago area ought to be announced shortly on McGann’s website.
Below are highlights from my Q&A with Pat McGann who can be visited online at www.patmcganncomedy.com.
A lot of people first learned about you from your work with Sebastian. How did you two first meet?
Pat McGann: I first met Sebastian in 2009 when I was the House MC at Zanies in Chicago. We worked together at Zanies a few times and then I was lucky enough to open for him for one of his Showtime specials, as taped at Harris Theatre in Chicago. We got along great and crossed paths a few more times over the years. In 2017, he asked me to be his regular opener and it has been quite the ride. I think that’s the best thing about the experience — seeing him go from clubs to arenas.
Is it any different playing Madison Square Garden than other large venues?
Pat McGann: (laughs) Slightly. It’s funny that I even get to answer such a question. Anytime I have done an arena with Sebastian or even when I get to do these large historic theaters across the country it is a special night. Doing MSG though was surreal. I still cannot believe I did those shows. Definitely an out-of-body experience. I grew up watching Michael Jordan go into that building with the Bulls and have some epic battles with the Knicks. I was thinking about watching those games as a kid and now being in that place to do stand up was pretty ridiculous. On our first day there I took some time to walk around the stadium to read about all of the history there — what a special place.
If I’ve done my research correctly, you attended Marist High School. College aside, have you always lived in or around Chicago?
Pat McGann: You nailed your research — and yes, I have always lived in Chicago. What else do know about me?
Well, what is it that keeps you so loyal to the state of Illinois?
Pat McGann: I am loyal to Chicago, not Illinois. I don’t think Chicagoans even think of themselves as from Illinois. It’s just something we have to deal with. Really though, I started comedy a little later in life. I was 31 and had a career in sales. I had just bought a condo, started dating my now wife and told her about this dream to do stand-up. I hit my first open mic in September 2007. So, I still had a full-time job and a mortgage and Sara who was encouraging me to try — just never left. Then we got married and started having kids. Then one of our kids was very sick with a long treatment plan and we weren’t going to leave. He’s doing awesome now! Maybe we will have to move at some point, but for now, it’s been great raising our children here, being close to our family and getting their help and support has been huge.
Do you have a favorite Chicago restaurant or two to recommend to the readers of UrbanMatter?
Pat McGann: The best cheeseburger in the world is at Top Notch on the south side of the city. The south side is where I grew up and live now. If I am going downtown, I love Hub 51. For authentic Italian and a great Chicago neighborhood feel, go to Tufano’s in Little Italy.
Work-wise, what is coming up for Pat McGann?
Pat McGann: I am starting to tour on my own, which I am very excited about. I will also continue to open for Sebastian through 2019. My #1 goal is to release a special and I am working on making that happen.
When not busy with comedy, how do you like to spend your free time?
Pat McGann: I love being home with my wife and kids. I have been traveling a ton so just being with them doing anything makes me happy. We just got a dog so that has been keeping us busy too; I have never been a dog person but I love this dog. He’s at my feet right now and wants to go for a walk — in Chicago, he never mentions Illinois. (laughs)
What was the last concert you attended near home?
Pat McGann: Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field — I am a White Sox fan; I have to point that out since Wrigley came up.
Finally, Pat, any last words for the kids?
Pat McGann: Keep grinding.
Featured Image Credit: Pat McGann Facebook