How is Joe Pesci funny? The Goodfellas icon will remind us when he returns to acting in the new Pete Davidson sitcom Bupkis, which will also star Sopranos veteran Edie Falco.
Pesci, who last appeared in 2019’s The Irishman, the latest of his many collaborations with Martin Scorsese, will play Davidson’s grandfather and Falco will play his mother in a series loosely based on Davidson’s life. The Saturday Night Live star broke into standup comedy at a very young age after losing his father, a Staten Island firefighter, as he responded to the Sept. 11 attacks.
Pesci, 79, was Oscar nominated for The Irishman, Raging Bull and Goodfellas —and won for the latter, thanks in part to his showstopping “How am I funny?” speech, seen above. He also demonstrated his comic chops in My Cousin Vinny and the Lethal Weapon franchise. In The Irishman, he shifted ages dramatically with the help of CGI. He also paid a witty homage to David Ferrie, a character Pesci played in 1992’s JFK.
This is far from the first time Joe Pesci has been lured back to show business. He broke in as a singer and actor in the 1950s, and was friends with Frankie Valli (like Falco, a Sopranos veteran) and Tommy DeVito. He introduced them to singer Bob Gaudio, which led to the formation of The Four Seasons.
By the late 1970s, though, Pesci was out of the industry, managing an Italian restaurant in the Bronx. Robert De Niro and Scorsese, who had been impressed with his work in the 1976 film The Death Collector, convinced him to play Joey Lamotta, the brother of De Niro’s character, Jake LaMotta. Pesci later starred in 1985 for one season on the sitcom Half Nelson, his only other TV role, before entering the most prolific years of his career starting with 1990’s Goodfellas.
Davidson is co-writing Bupkis, a half-hour, live-action series, with Dave Sirus and Judah Miller, and the Bupkis executive producers include Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. Andrew Singer and Erin David will also executive produce. The Universal Television series comes from Michaels’ production company, Broadway Video.
Main image: Joe Pesci at the premiere of The Irishman in 2019, courtesy of Shutterstock.