Growing up, Willie Fratto Farrell confesses he wasn’t the class clown. “I played baseball, basketball, sports,” he said. “What I probably was closer to was the guy who would encourage others who were nuts enough to do crazy things, you know, things that would be funny.”
In 1980, Farrell stepped up to the mic to try out his funny business at the Ingersoll Dinner Theater in Des Moines. “There were 10 comics on the bill and the first five or six were being heckled really bad by one guy,” he said. “By the time I got up there, it was just like being in Columbus Park. I ripped him a new one and the crowd went wild for me.” It was such an adrenaline rush that Farrell decided to make standup his profession.
He grew up, the youngest of five kids, whose father was organized crime figure Lew Fratto, who at one time worked for Al Capone. “I didn’t understand exactly what my father was all about,” he said. “One thing I’ll say is that we never waited in lines anywhere. In my act I’m not ashamed to hit on all nationalities. I’ll do a bit in which the tag line is ‘Get in the trunk.’ I talk about the camp I attended as a kid — La Cosa Nostra.”
Farrell has performed in nearly every comedy club in the country, but now spends most of the year onstage in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Willie turns each show into a memorable event with his unique humor, tailor-made for each audience.
Willie has appeared on A&E, Comedy Central, ESPN and was featured on “The Godfathers of Comedy” airing on Showtime.