Like listening to your funny Italian cousin tell stories
The stories he tells tend to focus on two areas, family and relationships, both flavored by religion. What's unique about his style is the way he crafts his stories, building themes more through quick hit bits rather than longer stories, which helps keep things moving. A bit about the effect of strong coffee on his insides moves on to vacationing in Italy before quickly segueing into an oscillating Jesus fan joke, a three-step path rarely tread before. Being Italian-American makes his family an easy source for jokes, whether its less-than-reputable Uncle Tony or his gruff, grunting father, and the tight ties with Catholicism allow for more punchlines, including notes on the gaudy style of the Vatican and the creepy current Pope.
The other half of his act is about the failures he's experienced in relationships, which again have a lot to do with his family and religion, especially when he's talking about his time dating a Jewish girl, reflecting on their similarities and stark differences to big laughs. Though a lot of his dating and marriage material comes from personal experience, including a bad break-up and life lessons from his dad, he also touches on alternative lifestyles, talking about how nice it would be to have a gay go-between in his relationships, how dumb anti-gay laws are and how annoying gay pride parades are.
Ferrara is a fun presence on-stage, delivering his act with an abundance of goofy faces, silly accents and a boisterous performance, despite looking like a cross between Bobby DeNiro and a lounge singer in his tie-less all-black tux. But the final few segments lean toward the serious side, talking about coping with his father's cancer and the death of his grandmother. He peppers in little bits of humor with the sentimentality, but it's a bit of a bummer after a run of down-to-Earth hilarity. If this was a monologue, rather than a stand-up act, it would be fine to wrap up the show on growing, impactful moments like these, but I prefer to end on a big laugh.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack offers clear, clean quality on Ferrara's voice, while pushing the crowd to the side and rear speakers, creating that sense of being in the crowd. There's nothing particularly impressive about the way the show sounds, but it is solid throughout.
The Bottom Line