Tara Cannistraci

Tara Cannistraci’s Album, ‘I’m Talkin’ Here,’ Is A Throwback Record In Every Sense Of The Word

Tara Cannistraci.
Tara Cannistraci.

Early on in her album, I’m Talkin’ Here, Tara Cannistraci makes it clear that she is a comedian of tradition. With Rita Rudner-esque timing, Cannistraci playfully tackles the well-trod topics of marriage, Italian families, and pregnancy that have been staples of stand-up since the Borscht Belt days. In one bit about her Italian mother-in-law, Cannistraci remarks, “It’s dark. I can’t see your horns.” Light, charming jabs like this are Cannistraci’s bread and butter, and she makes excellent use of timing to make her material work to the highest degree it can.

Family Is At The Heart Of Tara Cannistraci’s Sense Of Humor And Style.

At family gatherings of any kind, there’s a comedy style that doesn’t have a name, but that can be heard or seen every time someone makes a crack about someone’s weight, drinking, hairline, or other feature in a loving way. It’s not necessarily a hilarious approach, but its warmth lights up the room, and no one walks away feeling upset or belittled. For years, “wise-guy” comedians like Buddy Hacket or Don Rickles elevated this type of comedy to something crowd-pleasing, and Cannistraci fits into that legacy. Her punchlines have a deft delivery to them, said in such a way as to almost be deadpan at times. There’s a one-two punch that her audience eats up over and over, and there’s a sense of familiarity to Cannistraci’s comedy that they seem to enjoy. For example,  a joke about babies being cooed over as geniuses from birth ends with the line, “This baby ain’t a genius. She’s a drunk.”

Elsewhere, Cannistraci’s comedy focuses on her actual family, which sees her “wise-guy” sensibility shine through. When discussing her husband and his aging body, she says:


“It drools. Do I have to say it? His dick, it drools. I wish it would sneeze. Just…help me out a little bit. If covid started in his pants…no pandemic. No spread!”


In a different joke, she calls her husband her “friend with bene…ficiary!” The light roasting connects well with her audience, and clever punchlines help sail familiar territory into something that gains new life with Cannistraci’s thoughtfulness.

Cannistraci Is A Proud Italian Woman.

Through and through, Cannistraci’s Italian lineage shines through in her work, as well as all the specific aspects of that culture. In a joke about her white best friend, Cannistraci says, “This is how white she is: her nona lives in another state. I didn’t know your grandmother could live anywhere but your basement.” In another, she shares an anecdote about her best friend calling her because her boyfriend never came home. Cannistraci suggests tracking his phone, which she walks her through, and it’s revealed that he’s at a hotel. Her friend says she hopes he’s okay, and Cannistraci retorts, “I hope he’s dead!” Her passion, sincerity, loyalty, and humor come through again and again when her culture is engaged with.

Cannistraci Isn’t Afraid Of The Occasional Whiff.

In older comedy albums, one of the pleasures is getting to hear a comic wrestle with the audience, losing them one minute, only to win them back the next. It’s a testament to Cannistraci’s talents that she’s able to do just this. In a run about why Jesus would make a bad husband, she says:


“He was a momma’s boy. His best friend was a whore. He thinks he’s God’s gift. And he says he’s coming back for you.” 


After this fourth joke ends up being a bit quiet, Cannistraci simply moves on to the next part of the joke, a similar run of why Noah would be better to pair up with. When she hits the line, “And ladies, he’s got a boat,” the audience erupts and Cannistraci has them right where she wants them again.

Tara Cannistraci: I
Tara Cannistraci: I'm Talkin' Here. Courtesy of 800 Pound Gorilla.

Stream & download Tara Cannistraci's brand new comedy album, I'm Talkin Here, available now on 800 Pound Gorilla!

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