Mayor Emanuel Interviews WGN’s Pat Tomasulo on “Chicago Stories” Podcast
On this week’s episode of “Chicago Stories,” Mayor Emanuel sat down with sportscaster, stand-up comic, and host of WGN’s “Man of the People” Pat Tomasulo, who’s also fighting to fund research and raise awareness for people suffering from neuropathic disorders — people like Pat’s wife.
Pat’s Chicago story began back in 2005 when he moved to the Windy City to join WGN’s sports team just time for the White Sox’s World Series run. Always funny, Pat’s new home also led him into Chicago’s vaunted comedy scene and kick-started his stand-up career.
A few years later Pat told his bosses at WGN about an idea he had for a talk show based here in Chicago. Luckily for us, they came on board, bringing “Man of the People” to the airwaves in January of this year, giving WGN its first weekly local-weekly entertainment show in over 25 years.
Like its counterparts, “Man of the People” takes a fun spin at the news of the day, but unlike the rest of the landscape, it steers away from the usual fare of politics and celebrities.
“There is a sweet spot there,” Pat told Mayor Emanuel. “When I started the show, I said ‘I want to make a show where I can make fun of the things we all hate, instead of the things that 50 percent of the people hate.’”
That approach has taken Pat and his crew outside and into the streets, where—as it turns out—our everyday annoyances are all the same.
“We like to feature real characters and real people that we meet,” Pat said. “I think those organic moments with the people you meet are the funniest.”
When the cameras are down and he’s off stage though, Pat and his wife are working to find a cure for trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic, debilitating pain disorder affecting the nerves which carry sensation from the face to the brain.
Today, nearly 400,000 Americans suffer from the disorder, including Pat’s wife Amy, who has been struggling with the condition for nearly 20 years.
“Every day she experiences pain,” Pat told Mayor Emanuel, “but she’s tough as nails and keeps on going.”
In response, Pat and Amy started the comedy fundraiser “Laugh Your Face Off” in 2015 featuring top Chicago comedians to benefit The Facial Pain Research Foundation, the only organization in the U.S. dedicated to finding a cure for trigeminal neuralgia and other neuropathic facial disorders.
Raising over $100,000 in its first year alone, “Laugh Your Face Off” has since brought in a total of $1.2 million for research and—like Pat—shows no signs of stopping.
Be sure to listen to the rest of the conversation as Pat tells Mayor Emanuel about the work that goes into each episode, his favorite bits, and the first time he met his wife Amy.