By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Basile always has split his comedy career, crafting separate material for his Greek and American fans.
But the Cleveland native is putting both worlds together in a sitcom pilot that he is pitching to CBS.
Tentatively titled “Basile,” the show revolves around a Greek man (played by Basile) who has his own cooking show on a local cable access channel.
He wants the show to fail, if only to spite his domineering father, but the more things go wrong, the higher the ratings.
It’s a case of art imitating life for Basile, who worked in his own father’s restaurant when he was young and is offering his own line of spices (go to opabasile.com).
The show was in the works for five years but got new traction recently after it was reworked. The show-within-a-show concept “pokes fun at the cooking-show genre, but with good taste,” said Basile. He is hoping the network picks it up for the fall season.
In the meantime, Basile will give two shows this weekend at the Funny Farm in the Radisson Hotel in West Middlesex, Pa. To meet demand, the shows have been moved to the larger banquet hall in the hotel.
Audiences can expect some fresh helpings of Greek- American comedy, said Basile, who last visited the Mahoning Valley in the fall of 2009.
The comic also is working on a film that is being shot in Greece and Turkey. With a working title of “The Athenian Love Affair,” it stars Basile in the lead role.
“I play Gus Nicholas, a kind of roly-poly detective from New York City who works with the DEA to stop the heroin trade in Greece,” said Basile, who also helped with the script. “He’s the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time but comes up smelling like a rose.”
The film will be in Greek with English subtitles. It will be released in limited distribution in cities with substantial Greek populations.
Basile also was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work as the voice of the late Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder in the 2009 ESPN film “The Legend of Jimmy the Greek.”
“That was a feather in my cap,” said Basile.