You might be able to pronounce it and forget trying to spell it. The main thing Costaki Economopoulos, who bills himself as the biggest name in comedy, cares about is the name recognition he’s earned for his appearances on “Bob & Tom.” The syndicated radio show has a large following in Fresno, and Economopoulos has been a regular guest for years, providing a weekly humorous look at professional football.
Look for even more jokes about the NFL as Economopoulos will be in Fresno on Saturday, Feb. 4, to perform two shows at Mother Mary’s Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria in Clovis. He normally does about five to 10 minutes of football jokes in his stand-up show, but his local performance comes on the eve of Super Bowl Sunday. There will be more football on his mind.
The Marietta, Ga., native is particularly interested in this year’s NFL championship game because he’s been a longtime Atlanta Falcons fan. It’s easy for him to poke fun at the New England Patriots. The difficulty he has writing jokes about the Falcons has nothing to do with his loyalty.
“I spent the last few years making fun of the Falcons, probably more than the other teams. But now they are good. It’s a lot easier to ride a team like the Browns,” Economopoulos says.
Look for him to do jokes about the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders while in town. Picking on local fan favorites might seem like a mistake, but what Economopoulos has discovered is jokes on local favorites often get the biggest laughs. His theory is that the fans know when their teams are bad and realize his jokes are not meant to be harmful.
Because of his passion for football, Economopoulos pitched the idea for doing a humorous look at sports to sports radio stations. They liked the idea but didn’t think the idea of joking about sports would work.
Economopoulos found more of an acceptance with “Bob & Tom.” He mixes the appearances on the radio show with TV work, such as his Showtime special along with “Last Comic Standing.” He loves performing in front of a live audience and has worked in all 50 states. This will be his third trip to Fresno.
He’s also written jokes for “The Tonight Show,” “The Late Late Show,” “Best Damn Sports Show Period” and Bette Midler. And he finally got his sports talk show with a weekly program on Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
Television appearances are important to all stand-up comedians, but the “Bob & Tom” radio show has become very significant in helping him build a career. Economopoulos explains that he would be on a late-night talk show once a year, but he’s made as many as 30 appearances in a year on the radio show. That kind of exposure is very important in building a following.
It’s his work on “Bob and Tom” that has been the biggest boost to getting people to know his name. He gets asked constantly why he doesn’t change his name to something easier to pronounce and spell.
Economopoulos wouldn’t feel right doing his act under a stage name.
“I always felt the point of my act was to reveal myself on my stage. These are my thoughts. I just think it would be a weird process to talk about my life using a fake name,” Economopoulos says.
He’s been using his own name since 1994, when he became a full-time comic after getting his master’s degree at the University of Georgia. His thesis was the influence of political satire on our feelings about government.
- Mother Mary’s Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria, 1345 N. Willow Ave., Clovis
- 7 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4
- Tickets: $25