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Out of tune, full of funny: 'Three Tenors' visit Riviera Theatre

Anybody who remembers the famous “Three Tenors” tour should realize that the three guys coming to the Riviera Theatre on Feb. 13 can’t sing.

Comedians Vic DiBitetto, Richie Minervini and Fred Rubino bring their mix of stand-up comedy and improv show to North Tonawanda this week. In a recent interview, DiBitetto discussed the tour and his career in comedy.

Question: How did you meet the other guys in the show?

Answer: Richie Minervini was the owner and booker of the East Side Comedy Club on Long Island, where Kevin James started. It’s a legendary comedy club. We met about 30 years ago. We worked the circuit and went on the road, but eventually we couldn’t work with each other because we both became headliners. That’s the beauty of this (“Three Tenors Who Can’t Sing”) show. Normally with a comedy show, it’s an emcee, an opening act and a headliner. All three of us are headliners.

Freddy Rubino and I met about six years ago. He was at a comedy contest and I was one of the judges. The other two judges just ripped him apart but I loved Freddy. I said, “Freddy, don’t listen to these two knuckleheads, you’ve got something.” Within five years, I’ve never seen a comic grow the way he has. We all became friends. The chemistry (between us) is just amazing on stage.

Q: You’ve adapted into making online videos, the most famous of which is “Bread and Milk.” What inspired you to turn the camera on yourself that day?

A: My wife – God bless the wives – didn’t want to cook that night. She said, “You better go out and get something.” So I go out and I saw a snowflake, and right away I thought what everybody else in the Northeast thinks: Now you’re going to see all the people thinking it’s the apocalypse and rush to the store for bread and milk. I whipped out my phone and I just imitated, exaggerated what these idiots do. That 26 seconds (of video) got me more recognition than 33 years of stand-up. The beauty of that video is that it (goes viral) every winter. By the end of this winter, I should be up to 15 million views. It’s the video that keeps on giving. It’s amazing.

Q: So making these videos for YouTube and social media has been a huge boost?

A: Yes. Without social media, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m 54 years old. It’s amazing that more comics my age don’t use social media. It’s been a godsend. I’m getting recognized, and it’s a no-brainer because I’m using it to my advantage.

Q: Last year you had a part in “Paul Blart” sequel, which was written by Buffalo native Nick Bakay. What was your experience like working on the movie?

A: I was in my hotel room in Albany and I get a call from “Caller ID Unknown.”  Whenever I see that, I never pick it up, but I was bored so I (answered). “Vic, this is Kevin James.” I said, “No, really, who is this?” I almost hung up on him.

We worked together 25 years ago. We lost touch, and he became “The King of Queens” and I went on to drive a school bus. He was watching my videos – once again, back to the social media – and he called me. He said, “Vic, I’ve got this character you’d be perfect for.” No audition, no casting call; Kevin James just called me because he saw a video. (I got to spend) six weeks in Vegas at the Wynn Hotel, (the movie’s) been on the Starz channel, I’m getting residual checks. It was the greatest single experience of my career. (Kevin’s) a good guy.

COMEDY PREVIEW

The Three Tenors Who Can’t Sing with Vic DiBitetto, Richie Minervini and Fred Rubio.

When: 8 p.m. Feb. 13

Where: Riviera Theatre, 67 Webster St., North Tonawanda

Cost: $54-$34

Info: rivierathetre.org

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