Never mind his quiet demeanor when you first meet him, Anthony DeVito is a fast rising comedy star. He’s already got some impressive credits- he’s appeared on Comedy Central’s Adam Devine’s House Party, was one of the “New Faces” at the 2012 Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, has been on “This American Life,” AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live, TVLand’s Jim Gaffigan Show, Seeso’s NY’s Funniest and was the 2015 winner of Caroline’s March Madness, and if you go to his website you can see his long list of festival credits as well. He makes regular appearances on Fox News Channel’s Red Eye, and Sirius XM’s Bennington, and if you ask around you’ll hear all the right people talking about Anthony DeVito.
Comedy photographer Phil Provencio spent some time with Anthony where he lives, in Astoria, Queens, in a neighborhood with a lot of other comics and friends. Greg Stone, James Mattern, Andy Fiori, Jon Fish, Dan Shaki, Anthony’s girlfriend Julia Solomon- all live very close, and yes, they have been known to sit on a stoop.
“I’ve been living in Astoria pretty much the whole time I’ve been living in New York, about 7 years. My first place was in Sunnyside. I had a Transylvanian landlord, this lady named Ebolia. She was great. One time she came in, and there were scratches in our bathtub and she insisted that I was showering with skis on and I didn’t know what that was about. She said that was because I was Italian. I never knew that was one of the stereotypes.”
When Anthony isn’t working he walks a lot, sometimes in Astoria Park. One of his favorite things to do in the park is to look at the East River, watching big ships go by. “When I was a kid I used to go to the Jersey shore and my grandmother and I would sit by the inlet in Manasquan, NJ and we would just watch the ships and I think it just reminds me of that. It’s kind of nice.”
If he’s not looking at ships, he might be having deep thoughts. “Cause I write jokes, I don’t really have much to do with my day. I’ll write for a little bit, and then usually- especially in the summertime- I’ll walk to Astoria park and kind of walk around and listen to music and I guess look at the trees, and have thoughts I think are probably deeper than they are. I’ll think ‘that’s pretty epic‘, and then it’s like, ‘nah that’s pretty dumb.’
One of those deep thoughts happened after he and his girlfriend broke up early on in their relationship. “My girlfriend and I have been together maybe a little over 2 years. We went on a break– the first month that we started dating she got scared of commitment so we broke up. But I was so in love with her so I went to Astoria Park– I had the hood up, I was just crying…so melodramatic. I was trying to let go of her. And I saw this tiny bird and I gave her away to this bird, and then it flew away. I told her this story once and I was like ‘isn’t this a heartfelt thing that I did?’ And she started laughing at me. I dunno, it made sense in my head.”
“I love Astoria,” DeVito said. “It feels like home. I don’t know that I ever thought I’d have that feeling in New York because so many people live so many different places throughout the city and they live for a year in this neighborhood and year in that neighborhood. I don’t think I’ll ever leave Astoria; it feels like my home. Whenever I leave it to go out on the road, I’m always excited to come back because it feels like that’s where I live.”