North Salem resident Paul Virzi's new comedy special, "Nocturnal Admissions," is now streaming on Netflix

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Photo by Arin Sang-urai

North Salem resident and stand-up comedian Paul Virzi has a new comedy special now streaming on Netflix. In “Nocturnal Admissions,” Virzi gets real about family and relationships, marriage and mental health.

“I kind of just say the truth of what I feel,” Virzi said of his comedic style and of this special in particular. “There’s something about being on stage and saying something so honest and making people go, ‘oh boy!’ and then making them laugh…there’s something beautiful about that,” Virzi said. “You take them for a ride.”

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In the one-hour special which Netflix describes as “provocative,” “raunchy” and “irreverent,” Virzi covers everyday things such as awkward drugstore runs, his obsession with crime shows and why his wife sabotaged his fitness goals. He even finds a way to make light of cancer.

“I’m joking about why these cancer charities make you run,” he explained to the North Salem Post. “Why am I running 5Ks, jumping over walls? Why am I on the Brooklyn Bridge at 7:00 a.m. in a t-shirt?” As he goes on to detail the mechanics and highlights of the joke, he drifts from explaining to performing. Each sentence builds on the next, a kind of staccato rhythm that hits on both the mundane and the absurd of a situation that most of us have encountered at some point.

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“Nocturnal Admissions” also covers topics for which 'funny' is not the first word that comes to mind: things like depression, anxiety, and the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s the kind of thing that could make somebody take it wrong, but I’m about funny first,” Virzi said, adding, “there’s funny in tragedy. There’s funny in darkness.”

Virzi acknowledges that it wasn’t always easy for him to ‘go there’ with his jokes. But over two decades into his career as a comic, he feels that he has evolved to the point where he can unapologetically talk about the unexpected.

“Over time, comedians–in my opinion, the great ones–evolve into that,” Virzi said. “To bring something up that makes people go, ‘wow, he’s going there,’ and then to make them laugh.... those are the types of comedians that I really looked up to.”

Pete Davidson, Saturday Night Live alum and longtime friend of Virzi’s, directed “Nocturnal Admissions.” It was Davidson’s first time directing a comedy special. The pair met years ago and have remained friends since. “Pete loved the first special,” Virzi said, referring to “Bill Burr Presents Paul Virzi: I’ll Say This!” which was released on Comedy Central in 2018.

Virzi says he feels humbled by his comedic journey. He once used an empty Corona bottle as a microphone to perform for a handful of people in a suburban living room. Now, he has a special airing on the country’s number one streaming platform, accessible to tens of millions of subscribers around the world. “It’s relentless dedication to my dream and my craft,” he said, and noted that at every step along the way his family has been by his side to support and encourage him.  

“The night of the show, right before I went on stage, I saw my son looking at the crowd, waiting,” Virzi recalled. “I said to him, ‘I worked really hard to be here. Dad used to not sell tickets, and now this place is filled. Anything you want to do, you put your mind to it and you’re not going to be denied.’”

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