More to the Story: Jaclyn Marfuggi
By Taylor Harrington 2/14/2021 4:47pm ET
Jaclyn Marfuggi is the jack of all trades when it comes to her talent. From doing stand-up comedy on Vanderpump Rules to her immense admiration for Britney Spears leading her to audition for Once Upon a One More Time on Broadway, Jaclyn will always keep you on your toes and guessing what she is up to next.
Even though this interview took place weeks ago, Confessional Magazine caught up with Jaclyn this afternoon and she told us all about the delightful run-in she had with The Real Housewives of New Jersey alum, Albie and Chris Manzo, at their Pop-Up Patsy’s Italian Restaurant at The Berkely Oceanfront Hotel Valentine’s Day dinner. Jaclyn raved about Chef Sal Scognamillo’s cooking and thought it was really special that he came out to her table to check on her meal.
Jaclyn says that along with the Manzo family and Chef Sal, the entire staff at the pop-up have created a genuinely delicious and enjoyable dining experience.
“Chris Manzo sat us last night for our Valentine’s Day dinner at their Pop-up Patsy’s Italian Restaurant in Asbury Park at The Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel. Albie came over to make sure everything was all good- the Manzo Boys are definitely working hard and couldn’t have been any nicer.”— Jacyln Marfuggi, Comedian
For more information about the Scognamillo and Manzo collaborative Pop-up Patsy’s Italian Restaurant, you can visit www.patsys.com, or call (609) 435-3100 for reservations.
Connecting via Zoom, I sat down for an intimate and entertaining walk through of Jaclyn’s journey so far.
Where did you get your start in the world of entertainment?
Gosh, tormenting my parents and my cousins. Making them watch me put on Britney Spears shows and Madonna concerts every chance I could get. I got my start in New Jersey and as a little girl, New York was always a hop, skip and a jump away. I used to sneak into the city and say I was going to stay at a girlfriend’s house and I would really be going to professional Broadway Dance Center classes. One time I stood in line for hours and hours to be on Becoming Britney for MTV.
What was it like to be surrounded by a million other Britney Spears Stans?
You mean ones that actually look like Britney? I legit had brown hair at the time, so I bleached my hair and my eyebrows blonde. I was also I think just starting college so I was all party-bloated? It was not a good look and they were all super cute. I was like you should definitely pick them. It was good, though. Keeps me humble.
The ‘Free Britney’ movement, or #FreeBritney, is such a hot topic right now. How do you handle all of this as such a longtime fan of hers?
I’m so happy the Framing Britney Spears documentary is shining a light on issues many of us have known for years. it’s also so sad to watch for a list of reasons. Truth be told, we all owe Britney an apology. Even as a loyal fan I’ve consumed the good, the bad, AND the ugly of how she is portrayed in the media and that is definitely part of the problem. Re-watching the “Everytime” music video, the writing was on the wall over a decade ago that things were out of hand with paparazzi and news outlets. She was an enigma to watch and only wanted to sing, dance, and be in love. As a massive fan for over twenty years, my only hope for her is that she gets back the freedom and joy she once had in a healthy supportive environment. I’m sorry Britney. #FreeBritney
What would you say was your first break into the industry?
My first film was like, super popular, I think in Germany, it’s called Frat House Massacre. I had just graduated college and I auditioned in New York City. It was awesome and fun, and I got a callback. They flew us out to Ohio and we filmed on Ohio State University’s campus. I lived in Ohio for about a month in a hotel with all these hot young actors. It was so ridiculous. Of course the first scene I had to film, and it’s the first movie I’ve ever done, and it’s a bedroom scene. No nudity or anything, but yeah, I literally get off the plane, they take me to my hotel, and they’re like, “Alright, you’re filming.”
Where did you go for college?
I went to University of Rhode Island. I was there after Lamar Odom, I guess he was our claim to fame. I danced for the basketball team. We are like the Laker Girls of Rhode Island, so very pale and about 20 pounds heavier.
After college, I kind of got my start in New York City and I did a small little thing on Guiding Light, which was humbling and cool, then I was taking acting classes with Michael Imperioli from The Sopranos. Half the cast of The Sopranos were my acting teachers. Then a friend of mine, her parents had an apartment literally next to where they filmed 90210. Do you know the beach house that Kelly and all them lived in L.A.? Yeah, that’s next to where we lived. We moved to Manhattan Beach, and the rest is history. It’s 10 years later and I can’t believe I’ve been in LA that long. I’m like such a Jersey girl, it’s crazy, but I’ve done a ton of stuff out in LA.
How often do you get to go back to Jersey then?
Oh My God, well, before the world shut down I was going back and forth every month because I was touring with Mike Marino. I was featuring for him on the road. He’s a really funny Jersey-Italian comedian. We did a show at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Gotham in New York, so every month I was back and forth. I felt bi-coastal. I did Sopranos-Con which was at the cap of everything and I was also performing “Catch a Rising Star” in Jersey. It was just awesome. The last trip I took back here before the pandemic was actually to fly in to audition for a Britney Spears Broadway show Once Upon a One More Time.
It was so full circle because my parents drove me into New York City and my Mom came up with me to the audition. If you’ve never been to a Broadway audition or anything like that, it’s all these girls that always see each other at their auditions that are like, so nice, but they’re all pulling their legs over their heads and practicing lines and just scaring the shit out of each other, and my Mom’s sitting there and she’s like, “Should I make you get into a split right now?”like she was coaching me. It was so funny. Then she’s like, “your Dad wants to come up”, and I’m like, please don’t let him, it’s already too much. I didn’t know anyone at the Britney Spears Broadway audition. I guess I’m the L.A. Girl now.
What is it like to film standup comedy?
The first time I filmed stand up was for Vanderpump Rules. My first Vanderpump interaction was at acting class. Sandoval was actually dating one of my friends, I think this was right before Kristen Doute. Everything Tom Sandoval does on TV is exactly what he’s like. The manicuring of the eyebrows, his deep intensity, it was all there from the beginning. 100% authentic. So that was my first foray, but we were all struggling actors at that time.
I was in a comedy group with Gabi Conti and Rachael O’Brien, and then we brought Kristen Doute in and we were doing sketches and stand-up. It was a lot of fun and we performed all over Hollywood. The first time they filmed it was at The Parlor in Hollywood. I hosted the whole show and the clip they used for Vanderpump Rules was Kristen and I doing a sketch about girls who can never get enough plastic surgery. It was a packed house and the whole cast was front row and center. We sold out Hollywood Improv the next time I filmed with Vanderpump.
It is hard though, especially as a comedian. For the first eight years I was in Hollywood, there was a “no reality” mentality, like you never wanted to be associated with it. Now, there’s a crossover and we’re real actors. We’re real. Right? Now I don’t care. Hire me. Put me in reality or put me on Netflix.
Joe Gorga, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, started doing some shows before the lockdown with Mike Marino, who I also tour with. I’m sure he’ll probably be on this season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, which you’re from here, Taylor, so I want your opinion on the trailer! So Mike called me and he was like, “Hey, we’re doing this backstage, blackjack, taped thing with Joe Gorga. You might have to do some impressions, you might have to do stand-up. I don’t know, just get here.” So I show up (late), you know how it is in Jersey. So I literally showed up, they mocked me and they’re like, you’re standing next to Joe, and we just immediately clicked. He was so awesome. I felt like he was like a big brother. He was roasting my fiancé, who was only my boyfriend at the time, as to why he hadn’t proposed to me yet. It was so great. In my heels I was taller than Joe, but he has a magnetic quality to where you’re like, oh, he’s taller than he actually he is.
So Mike Marino called me and he was like, “Hey, we’re doing this backyard, backstage, blackjack, taped thing with Joe Gorga. You might have to do some impressions, you might have to do stand-up. I don’t know, just get here.” So I show up (late), you know how it is in Jersey. So I literally showed up, they mocked me and they’re like, you’re standing next to Joe, and we just immediately clicked. He was so awesome. I felt like he was like a big brother. He was roasting my fiancé, who was only my boyfriend at the time, as to why he hadn’t proposed to me yet. It was so great. In my heels I was taller than Joe, but he has a magnetic quality to where you’re like, oh, he’s taller than he actually he is.
What have you been up to since the Vanderpump days?
Since the Vanderpump days, I was just touring and I was exploring, I didn’t have a podcast when that started. I would say that like Rachael, Stassi, they were all influential, and I was lucky enough to have Katie, and Brittany, too. They were all on in the beginning, and they were awesome. Katie, by the way, is so much more stunning and hot in person. Like, if you’ve seen her butt in person, it’s phenomenal. It’s so nice.
So yeah, I was just doing comedy and then I got certified as like a bucket list thing because I always danced and I was looking for a workout that was sexy and fun, kind of like jazzy but Britney Spears style that’s also like a workout. There’s this thing I teach now called PlyoJam and it’s such great cardio. You’re drenched in sweat by the end, and it’s not like cheesy. I like that it has up to date songs. It’s awesome. You’re just rocking out but you’re also doing squats and jumps and lunges and boxing, but also body rolls. You can go check out PlyoJam on my Instagram. Reese Witherspoon even loves it! I was teaching a lot of in-person classes but then once everything shut down it went 100% to Zoom, and now I teach like that twice a week.
I remember my freshman year of college going to a Barnes and Noble and buying the Carmen Electra workout DVDs. Do you remember those?
Do I remember? Those were like my Bibles. I still have all the DVDs. I was obsessed. Obsessed. I literally had to like cancel my whole day when I ran into her at a Crunch Gym, which I used to go to in West Hollywood. I was just like, oh my god, that’s Carmen Electra, I can quit life now.
When asked what her dreams are, Jaclyn tells us she is working on a script for a sitcom that will be a loose combination of the feelings you get from watching The Sopranos and Friends, as it follows a Jersey-Italian girl currently living with her fiancé and his parents, something Jaclyn laughs about as she says it’s something she can definitely relate to.