By John Benson
Comedian Basile admits he’s not a gambler.
No, he likes a sure thing, which is why the funnyman is returning to Youngstown on Friday for a show at the Ford Family Recital Hall.
“I played there before and wow, what an outstanding theater,” said Basile (real name Basile Katsikis).
“Actually, I played there a year ago, and I fell in love with it. This theater is so intimate. I like to work off the audience. That’s what gives that show a different flair every time.”
Basile has his hand in many different endeavors. Not only is he filming a movie next summer in Detroit called “Patou,” but he’s also pushing for his sitcom “The Basile Show.”
With a pilot already filmed, the comic is hoping CBS picks up the show, in which he plays a loveable, clean character. That’s different from his stage persona, which includes plenty of “dirty” material.
Something else Basile had been busy with was his recent five-month stint in Australia where he performed on the Comicus Erectus tour.
“It was about the evolution of ethnic stand-up comedy,” Basile said.
“We had a Turk, an Italian, another Greek guy and myself. We all gave ourselves really scientific names. It was very funny and well- received.”
As far as material fans can look forward to at his upcoming Youngstown show, Basile said being Down Under takes center stage.
“Losing weight in Australia is really easy,” Basile said. “Just go on the kangaroo diet. If you can catch it, you can eat it. So it’s stuff like that. I tried to find a Greek aboriginal woman. Her name was Kula Bula Bula. So it’s just stupid stuff that the people kind of eat up. I’m also talking about my experiences flying into Youngstown back when you had commercial air travel. There’s also a lot of new, different material.”
Something relatively new that Basile is still proud of is his involvement with ESPN’s “30 for 30” special “The Legend of Jimmy The Greek.” He provided the voice of Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder to the 2010 program and was nominated for an Emmy.
“Lending my voice to narrate Jimmy from the grave, it kind of had an eerie feel to it,” Basile said.
“I think the one connection is we’re all Greek. He went through the same hell I went through growing up Greek as a kid, except he was much older.”
However, he points out there is one major area where the two don’t share a common interest.
“I’m not a gambler,” Basile said. “I’ve worked way too hard for my money to give it away. And I usually bet on the losers.”