Artie Januario already owns the title of funniest pharmacist in America.
“Some guys might claim to be pharmacists that sell drugs, but I don’t think they have a license,” jokes Januario, a 1973 graduate of Immaculate Conception High School of Revere.
Januario, a 56-year-old licensed pharmacist at Super Stop & Shop by day and a professional comedian by night, has earned a much sought after title in show business: headliner.
Januario’s name was up in lights (actually big bold letters) on the Prince Pizzeria billboard outside Giggles on Route 1 this past weekend. Januario performed at three shows and true to form, he “killed” – which in comedy means that the audience was rolling in the aisles in laughter.
Mike Clarke, who has ruled the roost at Giggles for 26 years, said that Januario was fully deserving of headline status in the legendary comedy room inside Prince Restaurant. Januario is now at the top of the bill after a dozen years of sharpening his comedic talents.
“Artie has put in 12 years and has had a lot of patience,” said Clarke. “He’s developed his act and come a long way. He’s put the time in and created a good fan base for himself and he’s becoming one of our more popular and requested acts, up there with Paul D’Angelo, Lenny Clarke (Mike’s brother), Steve Sweeney, and Don Gavin.”
Clarke also echoed the comments of many in the business when he described Januario as “smart, personable, funny, and a gentleman.”
A graduate of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, Januario blends jokes about his pharmaceutical career with other personal stories about life as a husband, father, and Boston native.
Januario said he’s honored to be part of the comedy elite, the fraternity of comics who pack comedy clubs like Giggles on a weekly basis.
“It’s actually makes me want to work hard,” said Januario. “I talked to Lenny and Tony V about it and they congratulated me and I said to them that I feel that I have to work harder now and they said you do have to work harder to stay at this level. This is going to motivate me to keep working hard.”
Januario said he is constantly adding new material to his act to stay fresh and build his following. He’s grateful to Mike Clarke for the opportunity to perform at Giggles.
“Mike has been good to me; he gives me a lot of work,” said Clarke. “He had faith in me and trusted me. Little things like having me close out shows and follow great comedians like Kevin Knox, Paul D’Angelo, or Frank Santorelli – that boosts your confidence and you say to yourself, ‘I can do this.’ I had to follow Sweeney the other night and he was killing it.”
Clarke said audiences in general can be unrelenting on comedians who don’t bring their ‘A’ game to the stage every night.
“As a headliner, you have to be able to adhere to any situation and Artie can do that – otherwise he wouldn’t be headlining,” said Clarke. “To work and to headline at Giggles, it’s really an honor, and I’m not saying that because I book it. But I know what the people want and if you don’t make them laugh, they’ll let you know.”
Januario said he frequently sees customers in the audience whom he has seen during the week at Stop & Shop stores in Revere, Saugus, and Lynn. “They’ll walk by the pharmacy and say to me, “Hey, you’re the comedian guy.’’’
Januario will be spreading his wings even higher in November when he performs at the “Comics Come Home” show with Denis Leary and other stars at the Agganis Arena in Boston.