Sebastian Maniscalco Says Work-Life Balance Is No Joke
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Sebastian Maniscalco Says Work-Life Balance Is No Joke

By Eric Grossman
Thu, Jun 29, 2023 8:27amGrey Clock 5 min

Comedian Sebastian Mansicalco says he’s made some changes to his work-life balance in the wake of a wildly successful 2022—one that saw him sit atop of Pollstar’s rankings of the highest-grossing comedy tours..

“I will always do standup … it is my first love,” he says. “However, I think I need a break from traveling, and I’d like to spend more time with my wife and kids.”

Known for his distinctive physical brand of comedy, Maniscalco is turning 50 next month, and as he puts it, has been working non-stop his whole life.

“I think a lot of times people get caught up in work-work-work and before you know it they’re 85 years old in a wheelchair and wondering what happened to their life,” he says. “I’ve determined that I have not been enjoying the fruits of my labor. I want to start experiencing what life has to offer and creating more memories with my family.”

As part of his approach to take a step back, Maniscalco has cut down on his successful touring career—in 2022 he was only one of three comedians, along with Kevin Hart and John Mulaney, to crack Billboard’s top 50 grossing tours overall—and is exclusively making only a handful of performances during his “Sebastian Maniscalco: Live from Las Vegas,” which is currently scheduled to run into early October at Wynn Las Vegas.

“I love performing in Las Vegas because you get a good cross-section of the globe when performing there,” he says. “Vegas is a great place for me to work while I am not on a major tour. It’s close to home and the Encore Theater is such an intimate setting. It almost feels like I’m performing in a comedy club.”

While taking a break from touring, Maniscalco has been shooting a new HBOMax series, “How to Be a Bookie,” while also devoting time to his two podcasts, “The Pete and Sebastian Show, with co-host Pete Correale, and Daddy vs Doctor.

Also taking up his time is the Tag You’re It! Foundation, which he started in 2016 with his wife, Lana Gomez, to support causes that speak to the couple’s personal experiences. These days, the fund, set up with California Community Foundation, supports causes relating to U.S. veterans, Alzheimer’s disease, and education.

“I 100% fund the foundation with my own personal earnings, as well as donations I win on game shows,” he explains. “My family had to deal with Alzheimer’s when my grandfather was diagnosed with it, my father is a veteran of the army, and I have two beautiful kids which inspires me to donate to children’s education.”

A proud second-generation Italian-American, Maniscalco’s career came full circle in May with his biggest movie role yet.

“I moved out to Los Angeles in 1998 from Arlington Heights, Ill., and my career has always been a slow burn. There wasn’t one thing that put me on the map in regards to a TV or film project,” he says. “I waited tables at the Four Seasons for seven years and during my time there waited on Robert De Niro in 2002 … fast forward 20 years, and here I am starring opposite him in a movie I co-wrote.”

Looking back, Maniscalco describes his experience making the movie–About My Father hit theaters on Memorial Day weekend—as one filled with anxiety.

“I could’ve never imagined starring in a movie with Robert De Niro loosely based on my life. The movie experience as a whole is laborious and slow,” he says. “I prefer live stand-up comedy because you know in the moment, whether or not you’re funny. When filming a movie, sometimes you’re unaware of how good or bad your performance is.”

Maniscalco, who resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two children, recently spoke with Penta about his favourite things.

The best book I’ve read in the last year is…Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidera. I spent the early part of my life in the world of hospitality. I worked at fine dining restaurants and five-star hotels. I learned in my experience to always anticipate the guests’ needs. This book takes that philosophy above and beyond anywhere I could’ve imagined. I would recommend this book to anybody who owns a business, or for anybody who gets pleasure out of providing people with happiness and exceptional experiences.

Something I do to relax is… Cook…for me, the kitchen is my sanctuary. I love to get lost in a recipe. I love cooking steak. It sounds easy, however, it is an art form to cook a steak and achieve the same temperature throughout. I like to put it in the oven at 275 degrees for about 45 to 55 minutes depending on the thickness and then let it sit for 15 minutes and then sear it in a cast iron skillet for two minutes on each side. I then cut and serve immediately. There is nothing better to me than watching people enjoy the food you cook. I almost get as much pleasure cooking as I do stand-up comedy.

My idea of a perfect meal (and/or night out) is… Pizza at Lucali in Brooklyn with my wife. I have been to this restaurant twice and absolutely love the vibe. I feel like I’ve been transported back into the 50s eating at an old school pizzeria. The owner Mark is an amazing host, and you almost feel like you are dining at his home. The ingredients he uses are so simple yet so fresh. I would have to say it’s the best pizza I have ever had in my life. He also makes an outstanding calzone, and a penne vodka sauce that you want to take home for a late night snack.

A passion of mine that few people know about is… Throwing parties. My wife and I really like to go above and beyond people’s expectations when it comes to a party. For example, we had a Christmas party last year and decorated our backyard and covered patio to make it look like a chalet. We rented some real large, comfortable couches, hired a singer and piano player and served eggnog all night long.

My travel uniform is… Jeans and a sweater and a light jacket. Currently I’m really into the brand Celine particularly their jackets and shoes. They are extremely comfortable and I’m really liking what they’re doing with their colour patterns.

The first thing I do when I check into a hotel is… Shower and unpack. I like to have everything in order before I start my adventure in a new city. I am also a sucker for turndown service. A lot of people don’t tip on turndown service, but I tend to leave 10 to 20 bucks on the bed. Housekeeping does an exceptional job when you leave them a little money for turndown. All your toiletries are organised and the room is left immaculate.

My favourite comfort dish is… Pasta. I grew up eating my grandmother’s pasta every Sunday and it just makes me feel good. My wife and I just had pasta from Jon & Vinny’s last night here in Los Angeles, but if I’m going to go out for pasta, we prefer Madeo, which is an L.A. institution. My preference is penne pasta with a red sauce, but I’m also a sucker for spaghetti with a little olive oil and pecorino Romano cheese.

My go-to drink is… A bottle of Tignanello. For my wife and I there’s nothing better than putting the kids down, cracking open a bottle and sitting outside watching the sunset. I also love enjoying the wine with red meat. I fell in love with wine about 15 years ago when my father-in-law introduced me to a world of wine that I was completely unaware of. Every time we go to their house for the holidays or a visit he whips out an amazing assortment of wines from Napa to France.

The one trip I’ve taken that I would love to do again… I would love to re-create my honeymoon with my wife in Italy. We absolutely loved experiencing all the different cuisine in three regions: Venice, Tuscany, and the Amalfi Coast and. The highlight was taking a boat to the island of Capri for the day and on the way back stopping off on a remote island to have a spaghetti lobster lunch. We got an opportunity to swim in the grotto and coming out of the water felt like we were dipped in a case of medicine. It was as if all our aches and pains went away and we had mental clarity.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.



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New York Watch Auctions Record Uptick in Sales in the Face of Market Slowdown
By LAURIE KAHLE
Mon, Jun 24, 2024 4 min

Luxury watch collectors showed ongoing strong demand for Patek Philippe, growing interest in modern watches and a preference for larger case sizes and leather straps at the June watch sales in New York, according to an analysis of the major auctions.

Independent and neo-vintage categories, meanwhile, experienced declines in total sales and average prices, said the report from  EveryWatch, a global online platform for watch information. Overall, the New York auctions achieved total sales of US$52.27 million, a 9.87% increase from the previous year, on the sale of 470 lots, reflecting a 37% increase in volume. Unsold rates ticked down a few points to 5.31%, according to the platform’s analysis.

EveryWatch gathered data from official auction results for sales held in New York from June 5 to 10 at Christie’s, Phillips, and Sotheby’s. Limited to watch sales exclusively, each auction’s data was reviewed and compiled for several categories, including total lots, sales and sold rates, highest prices achieved, performance against estimates, sales trends in case materials and sizes as well as dial colors, and more. The resulting analysis provides a detailed overview of market trends and performance.

The Charles Frodsham Pocket watch sold at Phillips for $433,400.

“We still see a strong thirst for rare, interesting, and exceptional watches, modern and vintage alike, despite a little slow down in the market overall,” says Paul Altieri, founder and CEO of the California-based pre-owned online watch dealer BobsWatches.com, in an email. “The results show that there is still a lot of money floating around out there in the economy looking for quality assets.”

Patek Philippe came out on top with more than US$17.68 million on the sale of 122 lots. It also claimed the top lot: Sylvester Stallone’s Patek Philippe GrandMaster Chime 6300G-010, still in the sealed factory packaging, which sold at Sotheby’s for US$5.4 million, much to the dismay of the brand’s president, Thierry Stern . The London-based industry news website WatchPro estimates the flip made the actor as much as US$2 million in just a few years.

At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire
Richard Mille

“As we have seen before and again in the recent Sotheby’s sale, provenance can really drive prices higher than market value with regards to the Sylvester Stallone Panerai watches and his standard Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1a offered,” Altieri says.

Patek Philippe claimed half of the top 10 lots, while Rolex and Richard Mille claimed two each, and Philippe Dufour claimed the No. 3 slot with a 1999 Duality, which sold at Phillips for about US$2.1 million.

“In-line with EveryWatch’s observation of the market’s strong preference for strap watches, the top lot of our auction was a Philippe Dufour Duality,” says Paul Boutros, Phillips’ deputy chairman and head of watches, Americas, in an email. “The only known example with two dials and hand sets, and presented on a leather strap, it achieved a result of over US$2 million—well above its high estimate of US$1.6 million.”

In all, four watches surpassed the US$1 million mark, down from seven in 2023. At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire, the most expensive watch sold at Christie’s in New York. That sale also saw a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM52-01 CA-FQ Tourbillon Skull Model go for US$1.26 million to an online buyer.

Rolex expert Altieri was surprised one of the brand’s timepieces did not crack the US$1 million threshold but notes that a rare Rolex Daytona 6239 in yellow gold with a “Paul Newman John Player Special” dial came close at US$952,500 in the Phillips sale.

The Crown did rank second in terms of brand clout, achieving sales of US$8.95 million with 110 lots. However, both Patek Philippe and Rolex experienced a sales decline by 8.55% and 2.46%, respectively. The independent brand Richard Mille, with US$6.71 million in sales, marked a 912% increase from the previous year with 15 lots, up from 5 lots in 2023.

The results underscored recent reports of prices falling on the secondary market for specific coveted models from Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. The summary points out that five top models produced high sales but with a fall in average prices.

The Rolex Daytona topped the list with 42 appearances, averaging US$132,053, a 41% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Nautilus, with two of the top five watches, made 26 appearances with an average price of US$111,198, a 26% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Perpetual Calendar followed with 23 appearances and a US$231,877 average price, signifying a fall of 43%, and Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak had 22 appearances and an average price of US$105,673, a 10% decrease. The Rolex Day Date is the only watch in the top five that tracks an increase in average price, which at US$72,459 clocked a 92% increase over last year.

In terms of categories, modern watches (2005 and newer) led the market with US$30 million in total sales from 226 lots, representing a 53.54% increase in sales and a 3.78% increase in average sales price over 2023. Vintage watches (pre-1985) logged a modest 6.22% increase in total sales and an 89.89% increase in total lots to 169.

However, the average price was down across vintage, independent, and neo-vintage (1990-2005) watches. Independent brands saw sales fall 24.10% to US$8.47 million and average prices falling 42.17%, while neo-vintage watches experienced the largest decline in sales and lots, with total sales falling 44.7% to US$8.25 million, and average sales price falling 35.73% to US$111,000.

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