Basile The Comedian Continues To Fascinate Audiences

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Basile Katsikis, the embodiment of comedic brilliance, intertwines acting and humour with unparalleled finesse. As an actor, he mesmerises audiences with his versatile performances, seamlessly shifting between roles with captivating ease. With a comedic flair that is both refreshing and irresistible, Basile elevates laughter to an art form, leaving spectators in stitches with his quick wit and infectious charm. Through his dynamic presence on stage and screen, he not only entertains but also inspires, showcasing the transformative power of laughter.

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Basile The Comedian Continues To Fascinate Audiences 1

What inspired you to pursue a comedy career, and how did you get started?

I don’t think one grows up from a child to an adult thinking that one wants to be a comedian. I know that I didn’t…Like every child, I thought I was going to be a police officer or perhaps even a fireman. As I got a bit older and more mature, I thought perhaps becoming someone who works in miniatures for museums for I loved building models. I even wanted to be a pharmacist at one time since I had it since I enjoyed chemistry, but it was not to be. As I entered college, I had an acute interest in politics and the way the world revolves. So, in college, I studied Political Science with a specialty in International Studies. I had a keen interest in how other countries work with each other and in tandem with the United States. I even took an internship working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. as a legislative assistant, for a Congresswoman and even at the DOD (Department of Defense), and it was there when I fell in love with Law. I began to study Law but never finished due to my mother's illness. I took a well-deserved sabbatical from school, work, a broken engagement, and God knows what else got into my life at that time, and it was there, at that exact time that I went to a comedy club alongside with my cousin, and dared me to one day, go up on stage and tell jokes. I thought he was crazy, but he bet me $20. In my opinion, $20 is $20 and I took the bet for the following week. I went up on stage as an amateur and won the amateur contest that evening. And that, my friend, was the beginning of my career, all based on a $20 bet!

Can you tell us about your comedic style and the type of humor you typically incorporate into your performances?

You have to remember that I have various shows with different materials for each. I have a show that caters to the General English Speaking Audience. It can be performed as a PG-rated show or even more adult-orientated shows that I do in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. It is performed in English and incorporates variables that I put together to create a memorable original event for every show. The show involves: improvisation, voices, characters and at times I’ll even sing. I allow my audience to be silly and enjoy themselves. Reliving times of innocence as children and growing up all through their adulthood. To be honest, I do the same thing with the “Growing Up Greek In America” comedy series. Reliving and depicting all the funny stories of growing up in a wide-open American society, while living in a very conservative Greek household. Material that is spoken in Greek and English! That show is always a G-rated to a PG-rated show. There are some other comedians, who shall remain nameless, who like to use expletives to get their message across, but in my shows, not only do I have to deal with children in my audience, but also their parents, grandparents and even Great Grandparents as well as the hierarchy of the Greek Orthodox Church. From Archbishops to Metropolitans to Priests that are in my audience, I always must maintain the utmost decorum, just out of respect for their positions in our faith. However, I still maintain that same silly, lovable character throughout all of my shows that had brought me to the level of where I am today.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you've faced as a comedian, and how have you overcome them?

We all have challenges in our lives. May they be professional and or personal… Balancing a normal family life while on tour is one of those challenges that at times will leave me stymied. Traveling worldwide with security being what it is today is bothersome at times as well. Thank God for the advent of Zoom and other communication devices that allow us to have FaceTime with each other has certainly helped. Having tremendous agents that book you for personal appearances and handle your travel plans as well as getting you assignments for writing and developing projects has been helpful. Writing material for my live performances, may they be Greek or non-Greek, or even for various corporate shows that I do and of course shows that I perform on various cruise lines is always a challenge. However, I make the most of the time that I have when I’m alone to contemplate and develop material. I also punch up scripts for film and television, along with deadlines… and, that can be challenging as well. However, I have found if you are diligent and persistent, you can overcome all of these challenges with hard work and creativity.

Are there any comedians who have particularly influenced or inspired your work?

Oh my God yes! The throwbacks: Red Skeleton, Lou Costello, Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Tim Conway and Carol Burnett, they didn’t have to say anything…Their facial expressions and subtle movements would just say it all, without whispering a word, now THAT takes a special type of talent! More recently, Richard Pryor, who to me, was a genius! To create characters and bring them to life for the audience, may it be for television, film or audio records, he was just too much! I like all types of comedians and comedy, as long as they are original and entertaining. I guess the only thing that I wanted when I first started, was to be the entertainer that you would never forget me or my show. Audience members come up to me after a show and imitate me.  Some of my audience remember me when they were children, watching my old videos, DVD’s and now on the Social Outlets. It’s wonderful to hear some of the stories when people gather for the Holiday and watch my various specials as a family…It’s rather touching.

How do you come up with new material, and what is your creative process like when developing a new comedy routine?

Creating material? Well, It’s always evolving. As time goes on, you retire various pieces or re-write them or even cannibalise them, to use some of the segments for newer material. Someone always comes up to me and tells me something funny, may it be a joke or an incident that happened to them, after every show, or even when I’m with friends. Perhaps something that happened to me or my family during an outing. It could be anything that hits me in a way that I think is funny and then I make it my own, or as I call it… I “Basileize” it to fit my show, persona and personality!  So, this way I make it my own without anyone stealing the joke or conceptual idea! It’s always fun to come up with a new bit or segment for any of my shows that just KILLS the audience with laughter!

Can you share a memorable experience or moment from your career as a comedian that has had a significant impact on you?

I have so many fond memories and memorable experiences throughout my career that have had a significant impact on me. Through my celebrity, I will visit and entertain at many children’s hospitals throughout the world. There was one memorable time that I’ll never forget, and that choked me up and made me proud of who I am and what I do. Some years ago, I was playing in the city of Youngstown, OH. My cousin Melissa called me, for she was a social worker for the Pediatric Oncology department at their Children’s Hospital. She told me that the man they had hired to play Santa Claus got into a car accident and she asked if I would be kind enough to fill in for the kids. I had no idea what was in store for me. I went to a costume house and got myself the most believable Santa Claus outfit you’ve ever seen. I got blue contacts, put red rouge on my cheeks, even used whiteout on my eyebrows with long white hair and a white beard with real boots. By God, I truly look like Santa Claus. All the parents that were there applauded her kids as they saw me take my chair. I even get choked up now as I’m writing this. There were about 300 people there, and an assortment of doctors, nurses, parents, and children, it was something to see. As I took my seat in the Santa Claus chair, my cousin, who happened to be one of the special elves helping me, told me that we had a young lady who was waiting in line to see me. I picked her up and put her on my lap. She took off her knitted cap to expose her beautiful bald head that was due to chemotherapy, she gave me a big hug and a kiss on my cheek. In a deep Santa voice, I asked her, “My little sweetheart, what would you like from Santa Claus this Christmas”? She looked at me with these piercing blue eyes and told me, “I just want my Mommy and Daddy to stop crying”! I just wanted to explode in tears, how I kept it together…I don’t know, but I believe that God wanted me to be there specifically for that evening with those children and parents. To give them the care and love that they needed to go on with life. That moment in my career had a significant impact on me, that with my talent, I can help calm the sick and help them through a horrific time in their life. That is what I do, give people hope through laughter and to forget their pain. That is what I truly believe is why I’m here on this planet, and it has made such a wonderful impact on my career and especially my life!

What do you hope audiences take away from your performances, and what do you aim to achieve through your comedy?

When audience members come to my show, I want them to feel that their souls have been somewhat liberated with laughter. There is nothing that satisfies me more than people wiping tears from their eyes and complaining that their jaws hurt from laughing so hard! Critics and reviewers have described all my shows as a “Spiritual Event For The Soul”, a “Concert of Joy”, that exposes the true silliness in all of us, no matter their age, race, ethnic background or socioeconomic status!  We all have a funny bone that needs to be tickled periodically. So why not just add a “Pinch of BASILE” and do just that? LOL Simply put, it’s Avgolemono for the soul!

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How do you handle hecklers or unexpected challenges during a live performance?

To be quite honest with you, those who either heckle or scream out during my show, are nothing more than exuberant fans who want to have fun! Now of course, you’ll get someone who has a mean-spirited way about themselves, and you have to slam them down, but appropriately and make them look like the fool that they are. However, in most cases, with my ability to improvise and overcome just about any situation, I typically will use that instance to create something funny and enjoyable, for all that are in my audience. Once in a while, you’ll have someone scream out a political slogan, and I just tell them I don’t do political humor, but then again, I’ll slide into something to steer them away from the situation. I have been blessed with the uncanny ability of improvisational skills to use what they scream out and bring it into my show, and even use what they said as a “call back” throughout my show! It’s a lot of fun to be part of!

In what ways do you think the comedy industry has evolved, and what do you see for the future of comedy?

I believe that the advent of social media, and the ability for comedians to put their material onto a platform that everyone can see around the world, has certainly done wonders for the comedy industry; some in a good way, and some in a bad way. Some want to make a political statement on their sexuality, political points of view, etc. I don’t push any type of agenda! I am who I am, and I try to make everyone laugh, no matter their sexuality or political point of view. I will tease what I believe needs teasing and uncover the ridiculousness of various points of view in a funny respectful manner. My job is not to alienate various groups of people, but to try to bring them together under the umbrella of laughter. If people want to “hate” because someone may have a certain point of view that differs from their own, what can I say? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, it may not be my opinion, but I will still respect it… just as long as it doesn’t harm the innocent! If it does harm to the innocent, then we have a real problem! The things that are key to me are my familyhealthmy faith and my career. I can only be Basile or as all the Greeks around the world call me, Vasili! As far as the future with me and the “social media” platforms…Well, keep a lookout on ALL outlets and check me out on Facebook, Instagram & TikTok@BasileTheComedian and on X @BasileComedian

Are there any upcoming projects or performances that your fans can look forward to?

I just finished filming my General Audience Comedy Special. We just finished filming the last episode of my situation comedy entitled “Basile” and we just signed off on a Development/Option deal with Pollack Films for a movie I wrote! More information to come! You can always find me at www.BasileLive.com and email me at [email protected]

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