Stefano Iaboni is fairly new to the Portland area, having only been living here for about a year and a half, but his unique talents allow him to fit right into Portland’s eclectic mix of performing artists, while also setting him apart.
Along with his wife Deanna, Stefano owns a performing company called Gourmet Comedy.
Gourmet Comedy is a performance experience that allows you and your family and friends to indulge on small bites and sip your favorite wines while enjoying a theater-style performance in the comfort of your own home. Simply put, Gourmet Comedy combines humor with delicious food and drink.
“It is a combination that satisfies both the belly and the soul,” says Stefano.
Stefano is an international actor, clown, performer and teacher. He was born in Rome, Italy and was raised there until about the age of 15 when his family moved to a small village just north of Rome called Frasso Sabino.
“As a child, I was always fascinated with juggling,” says Stefano, “And when I hit my twenties, I started traveling and eventually found my way to a circus school in the Netherlands. My goal was to become a juggler – but it was just too cold for me in the Netherlands.”
Stefano then took off for Barcelona, where the weather was much warmer and his career really started to take off.
“Something happened in Barcelona,” says Stefano. “I was doing a lot of acrobatics and juggling, and found I really enjoyed interacting with the audience. Then I met a Master Clown named Jango Edwards, and he truly changed my life.”
Jango happened to be really into physical comedy. Stefano started working with him on a variety show that performed every weekend. “It was more about improv, theatrics, and physicality,” he says.
“I loved it and felt like finally I get to play with the audience! I really enjoyed this. By the way, this is not standup comedy,” he adds. “It’s very different from what people have seen. It’s physical theater.”
He spent the next 10 years in Barcelona working for theater companies, acting in movies and commercials, and participating in street festivals around Europe. He also started his own sketch comedy cabaret while studying stage-theater and film acting, as well as teaching workshops at the Nouveau Clown Institute in Barcelona.
At one of Stefano’s shows for Gourmet Comedy you can expect not only entertainment but also appetizers, desserts, and wine. And the performances can take place in a living room, restaurant, or even at a festival.
Stefano professes, “As long as I have an audience, I can perform anywhere.”
While not all of his skits are Italian themed, one specific character Stefano plays is an Italian super hero called Super Bello Man. Super Bello Man is extremely handsome and he saves the world by making sure everyone’s pizza is of the correct thickness, and that we all use enough basil in our cooking!
Aside from performing, Stefano also facilitates workshops. He offers Nouveau Clown workshops, lessons in acting, juggling, improv, and physical theater while sharing his passion for Laugh Therapy.
“Laughing is very important,” states Stefano, “One minute of laughter is equal to thirty minutes of relaxation, and Laugh Therapy is a way to take life in a different perspective; laughter is a great medicine. We can get to know ourselves a little bit better through laughter. There are many mental and emotional benefits.”
Those who are interested in hosting a show have a choice of entertainment options: Choose an 11am-1pm light brunch and performance or a 4-6pm tapas and performance for what Stefano calls “the funniest happy hour.” Another choice is the 8-10pm dessert and performance.
There are only four steps involved in hosting a Gourmet Comedy performance: deciding to host, contacting Gourmet Comedy, picking a date and then inviting your friends. Stefano takes it from there, sending you everything you need to promote your event.
“Hosting a show is truly a ‘choose your own adventure’ event. It will be different every time. We’re adventurous and creative,” say Stefano and Deanna. “We will come over to your house in the days before the event to see your space, and remember, for the performance we will provide all the food, drinks, glassware and plates. Let us transform your living room into a theater for an unforgettable experience.”
Stefano and Deanna share their Portland home with their three-year-old daughter who hopes to perform one day in a show with her Papà.