As a stand-up comedian who has traveled the world, Paul D’Angelo said that his family home in Magnolia (in Gloucester) is his favorite place to be. “It’s a quaint little oceanside community,” said D’Angelo, who is headlining performances at Giggles Comedy Club in Saugus June 18-19. “I’ve always had so many projects going on, so when I get there, the rhythm of the waves, the clean air … it slows me down. All I want to do is sit on the deck and chill.” In addition to performing comedy, D’Angelo, a former Essex County assistant district attorney and criminal defense trial attorney, has written six books, including his latest release, “This Next Round of Jokes Is on Me.” While D’Angelo has been performing select shows over the past year, he said he is looking forward to returning to a more regular schedule — and venues where people aren’t spaced far apart from each other. “Comedy audiences aren’t meant to be spread out,” he said. “Laughter is infectious and when people are crowded together, it makes for a whole different atmosphere.” The 65-year-old Wakefield native has lived in various cities — including Los Angeles — but returned to his roots and lives (with his “baby polar bear” dog, Duffy) in Wakefield in the home his grandfather built in the 1920s. We caught up with D’Angelo to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination?
Working as a comedian for 35 years, I was constantly traveling … Las Vegas, Atlantic City, LA, and New York, comedy clubs around the country, cruise ships, corporate conventions all over the world, etc., so I prefer to stay closer to home now, especially since flying is such a hassle these days. For that reason, my favorite place to get away is my family’s home in Magnolia, which is part of Gloucester. Magnolia is a quaint, little oceanside community so, even though it’s only a half hour away from my home in Wakefield, it’s kind of like being down [on] the Vineyard or Nantucket.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing?
I’m a horrible cook who has somehow survived on restaurant food, leftovers, cereal, and my mom’s cooking for most of my life but, like most men, I like to think that I can grill. If I’m not cooking Dom’s chicken, burgers, or steak tips on the grill in Magnolia, we’re boiling up lobsters and steamers, as you might expect near the ocean.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t?
I’d love to visit Siracusa, Sicily, where my grandparents were from. I’ve seen pictures and it still looks like an ancient land trapped in a time capsule.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling?
Well, these days you obviously can’t go anywhere without your cellphone. On a recent trip to Florida to perform at a corporate show, I inadvertently left my phone on a bench after I went through security. Thank God someone turned it in or I would have withdrawn, assumed the fetal position, and sucked my thumb until I had it replaced.
Aisle or window?
Aisle seat, because I’m not trapped on the inside, and I don’t have to wake people up and squeeze by them to get to the bathroom.
Favorite childhood travel memory?
Our summers spent in East Falmouth, when the Cape was still seasonal and relatively undeveloped. It was a kid’s paradise, where we spent the days swimming, boating, fishing, and clamming ... years before I spent my days down [at] the Cape at happy hours, drinking, and unsuccessfully chasing women, which is a college kid’s idea of paradise.
Guilty pleasure when traveling?
I balanced two full-time careers for many years, working as an Essex County assistant DA, and then a criminal defense trial attorney, all while doing comedy shows most every night of the week as well. Because I was so exhausted and stressed-out from juggling those two jobs, I entertained on a lot of cruise ships as sort of a working vacation. I’d always indulge myself and use the first couple of days just trying to slow down, relax, and decompress, which is totally against my nature.
Best travel tip?
When flying, always remember to leave your weapons, drugs, and embarrassing personal items at home. ... You can always purchase more when you arrive at your destination.