I’ve known of Larry Venturino for many years. I first met him as the frontman for a straight edge hardcore band, where he belted out positive and motivating lyrics from the stage. I quickly learned that for Larry it was more than just stage banter, as he was a dedicated social worker, actively making kids lives better all while being co-owner of a record label.
Now doing standup comedy, Larry is back in the spotlight again making people laugh with his unique take on everything from being an ex- vegetarian, to his kids waking him up in he morning. Larry is definitely a rad dad, and his life as a single father nothing short of inspirational. Without any further adieu, meet Larry!
1. Tell us about what you do, who you are, and how you balance your career with being a dad?
I am a social worker, stand-up comedian, co-owner of a punk/hardcore record label, and, most importantly, a single dad of two children. The way I balance my career with being a dad is the same way I balanced my career with my personal life before I had children. I leave work at work and make the most of my free time. When I get home from work and the children get home from school, we are outside playing street hockey, going for bike rides, or playing wiffle ball. I emphasize work before play. Every day I try to drive home the message that you need to work hard and do what’s expected of you. That way, children can grow up to do what they love to do and have the power to choose their destiny rather than have others pull the strings for them.
2. What does being a modern-day dad mean to you?
Growing up, my parents lived, breathed, and worked hard for us. We knew, if it came down to it, that they wouldn’t eat if it meant that we’d go without. They weren’t whisking away on vacation alone or going out multiple times a week to hang with friends just to leave us with babysitters. They were there. We did things together. We weren’t an afterthought. In my opinion, you see a lot of parents nowadays do the opposite. Their interests come first and the amount of “me” time they need is unreal to me. Children are the link some parents have to their own social life. So, I’m a dad and it’s happening now so it’s modern, but I’m not so sure I fit the norm. It is important for children to know the world around them, not be sheltered from it. Things happen. Life isn’t fair. Too many people my age grew up thinking that life is fair and that the world owes you something. It doesn’t. It is a great disservice to your children to paint a reality for your children that doesn’t exist. You don’t have to be cruel but realistic. Let them dream their dreams and encourage them to work for it. Don’t let them live out your unfulfilled dreams. Give them the tools to grow up, not think of themselves as victims when something doesn’t turn out their way, and teach them that success comes, often times, after much failure.
3. How did becoming a father change your life?
One of my life goals was to be a dad. My ex-wife and I didn’t have children. After we divorced, I started thinking about how, in some aspects, I had done things by the book all my life. So, I decided to take the DIY / punk rock approach to becoming a parent. I wanted to do things on my own, my own way. So, I started the adoption process and ended up adopting two children from foster care. They were 5 and 7 years old when they moved in. Even though I had several months of visiting with them and building a relationship with them, it was like diving right into parenting. It was a huge change for me, but obviously for them too. Making efforts to welcome children into your home who have already been in other home environments, with different child-rearing techniques, was a challenge. It was to be expected. However, I think that raising children, no matter if they are your biological children or your adopted children, comes with challenges no matter what.
4. Whats the greatest part about being a dad?
The greatest thing about being a dad is being able to give your children the opportunities to experience life to its fullest. To me, experiencing life isn’t spending your whole day on a phone or tablet. It’s about going to new places, seeing new things, and trying things you’ve never done before. The cheesy cliche “You Only Live Once” mantra that people use to partake in stupid activities can be spun into a more positive outlook on your life. Every dime I earn goes towards providing these opportunities for my kids. We take cruises together, meet new people, go to concerts, sporting events, wrestling events, art exhibits, comedy shows, the zoo, etc. It is a lot of fun to be able to open the doors that, otherwise, children may not know were even there.
5. Can you share a funny story about being a father?
In January 2016, I took my kids on the Impractical Jokers (TruTV) cruise. The cruise was packed with comedians, bands, Joey Fatone from NSYNC, an Elvis impersonator, etc. One of the comedians who performed was the legendary, Gilbert Gottfried. For those not familiar with his stand up comedy, it can be, to say the least, a little edgy. However, I really wanted my kids to get an opportunity to see him perform. So, I decided that we’d go to one of his shows and watch for as long as possible before it was truly not appropriate for them. We lasted for 26 minutes of his 1 hour set, which was pretty good I thought. Next day, we ran into him walking around on the ship. The kids got their picture taken with him and I told him how I had taken them to his show the night before. Here’s a comedian who has gotten some heat for saying some pretty “offensive” things in the past seemingly without any care. He gasped when I told him they were at his show. I said, “Don’t worry, we only stayed for 26 minutes” and he gave a sigh of relief. It was funny to see how even Gilbert Gottfried thought I made a huge parenting mistake by taking them to his show.
6. What advice can you give any new father out there?
Spend time with your children. Don’t always say, “Maybe tomorrow.” Find time today. Be a responsible person who teaches responsibility and discipline. When you say something, mean it.
Thanks so much Larry! We wish you continued success in all that you do and I hope to catch your stand up sooner than later!
More about Larry here:
Larry Venturino – Stand Up Comedian
on Facebook and Instagram @LarryVenturino
Think Fast Records
on Facebook and Instagram @ThinkFastRecords