At 5-feet, 3-inches tall, comedian Mickey Cucchiella wants the world to know he’s not out to become a big star.
“I’m gonna become a small one,” Cucchiella says on his new stand-up album, “Short Stories.” The album, his first, hit No. 1 on the iTunes comedy store in less than 24 hours of its release on Oct. 15.
“It was surreal,” Cucchiella said. “Recording it … I was going to try, with my management, to sell it or whatever they do with those things. I was ecstatic when it came out. So many people went after it right away and got it. It was really, truly a dream come true.”
Cucchiella is set to perform his stand-up during O’Meara-Con 2013 on Saturday, Nov. 9, at The State Theatre in Falls Church.
The comedy bug bit Cucchiella at a young age. When he was in the third grade, he would get in trouble for acting out in class. Now, Cucchiella said he knows what it was about comedy that had such a hold on him.
“I think the attention,” Cucchiella said. “I think if any comedian is honest with themselves, or whoever they’re talking to really, it’s starving for attention. There’s no better way to get and keep someone’s attention, in my eyes, than to make them laugh. Once you can make someone laugh, you have them.”
Cucchiella is probably best known for his work on the radio. The Mickey, Amelia & Spiegel Show was an incredibly popular morning show on Baltimore’s 98 Rock. Cucchiella, who started working for 98 Rock in 2002, moved over to the morning drive in 2006. After dealing with the loss of his mother in 2010 and the separation and imminent divorce from his wife, it became too much for Cucchiella.
On June 28, Cucchiella announced via a very personal YouTube video he was leaving the 98 Rock morning show. He went on to say in the video he had been battling severe depression and had never really gotten back to a good place mentally. Four months removed from stepping away from the show, Cucchiella said he has no regrets.
“I don’t have one single regret,” Cucchiella said. “I truly don’t. … I mean, when you take away the grind needed in your daily schedule that goes with doing a show like that, health-wise, you’re in a better place just because you sleep normal, you don’t have the pressures of being entertaining four hours a day, every day and you spend more time around the people you truly love and care about.”
Cucchiella’s departure from the show surprised and shocked a lot of fans. Cucchiella’s Twitter and Facebook feeds blew up with people wishing him well and thanking him for all that he did. Maryland Special Olympian Adam Hays wrote a personal note to Cucchiella online thanking him for his work with the Special Olympics. Cucchiella said the outpouring of love and support from fans took him by surprise.
“I thought a couple of people would say, ‘Hey, miss you, bud. Good luck.’ Whatever,” Cucchiella said. “The amount and the true honesty that people shared with me through this was completely overwhelming. I don’t even know if I’ve truly taken all that in yet. Not only was it unexpected, it was truly [something] I felt undeserving of. It was something I really didn’t know how to react to properly.”
Now that he’s away from the radio station, Cucchiella has more time to work on his stand-up and his new venture – The Vape Lounge in Bel Air. Vaping is a form of tobacco-free smoking, such as with e-cigarettes. With vaping, users smoke vaporized liquid, which comes in different flavors. Vaping is gaining in popularity, and Cucchiella decided to get in on the ground floor.
Cucchiella said he was a smoker for years and his children were constantly trying to get him to stop.
“[It] led me to quit smoking using vaping products,” Cucchiella said. “Soon after I quit the radio, I’m driving around, kind of bored, and I was actually driving to Ellicott City to a place called Vape Dojo. I live in Kingsville, so that’s about a half hour drive from one to the other. I’m thinking ‘Why am I driving this far to buy vape juice? Why isn’t there more of these?’ I started looking around and I realized that the business, although it’s a couple of years old, it’s still in its infancy. I thought wow, not only is this a great business opportunity, but really a great thing to be able to offer people and expose people to. So I threw caution to the wind, so to speak, and decided I wanted to open a vape lounge.”
Even with his stand-up and the new business, Cucchiella is working for more.
“Right now, I’m really focused on this stand-up thing,” Cucchiella said. “I’m pretty sure I’m happy with a new hour of material that I have that I’m going to try to record soon. … I’ve been writing a lot – both scripts and pilots and different things. And the vaping world, I want to open more stores as well.”