Astoria Characters: The Comic Who Always Sees the Funny Side of Life

Has Stan Talouis told you about the time he was waiting outside a club in Manhattan getting ready to do his stand-up routine when this guy pepper sprayed him in the face?

Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Stan started doing stand-up comedy in his 20s.

How about the time he bought a car, a luxury he couldn’t afford, to keep a job only to quit (“I was SO BORED!”) after a mere six weeks?

Or the time he passed out in his kitchen at the beginning of the pandemic, waking up in the hospital with a severe case of Covid-19?

The the bad, the ugly and sometimes even the good — they are all fodder for Stan’s funny bone.

“I had blood clots in my lungs – a pulmonary embolism – and I was in the hospital for four days and in quarantine for two weeks – constantly writing jokes,” he says. “I was afraid of dying of Covid, so the writing was a distraction, keeping my mind busy.”

Besides which, he couldn’t find the remote control for the hospital TV, so for the first day, he became a captive of the History Channel’s “American Pickers.”

Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
His routines are inspired by things that happen to him.

 “Writing jokes makes me feel better,” Stan says. “When things happen to me, my first thought is, ‘How will this work on stage?’ Even when something bad happens, something good can come from it.”

Stan, whose face is defined by his black goatee and horn-rimmed glasses the color of asparagus, isn’t kidding: He mines his life for material.

Born in Manhattan, Stan spent his first nine years in Inwood and most of the rest of the other 29 in Rosedale.

His father didn’t stick around – he moved out when Stan, an only child, was 11.

“But he was always in my life – he paid the tuition for the Catholic schools I went to,” Stan says, adding that his cousins became his pseudo siblings.

Stan has always gotten through life with a sense of humor: He was the class clown, the kid who made  the other kids crack up when the teacher’s back was turned.

Although Stan loved to tell jokes, he never thought of comedy as a serious career.

In fact, at SUNY-Old Westbury, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications, he figured he’d become a sports journalist.

And that seemed like what would happen.


“In college I talked about being a stand-up comic all the time,” he says. “I talked about it constantly, and finally one of my friends said, ‘Just do it.’”

So one night when he was in his 20s, Stan stood up and did an open-mic routine at an East Village club.

Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
He thought he was going to be a sports journalist.

“I was super nervous,” he says. “I took a shot of Jameson and a shot of PBR. I didn’t bomb, but I wasn’t amazing either. I thought, ‘This is for me.’”

For a while, he continued on the club circuit, still not quite sure where each punch line was leading him.

He got a part-time job at sports radio’s WFAN, which he saw a way to advance his journalism career.

At the same time, he took an editing job, where he worked from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. then drove to the radio station for the 6 p.m.-to-midnight shift.

The editing job lasted six weeks, but he logged three years at WFAN.

Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Stan does a monthly show at QED.

“I got fired over a scheduling mix-up,” he says and chuckles.

Over the next several years, he held a series of jobs, including one with the New York City Criminal Justice Agency, where he interviewed arrestees at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse and wrote reports to the judge recommending their release on their own recognizance.

At one time or another, Stan has been a troubleshooter for a telecommunications company and an Uber driver. He also has worked in an Italian restaurant and for a taxi company.

 While he was in the shipping and receiving department of a luxury jeweler, he was stationed in a vault surrounded by diamonds.

Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Stan has a day job he really likes.

“I wrote more material there than anywhere else,” he says. “And I tried it out on my co-workers. I would just work things into our conversations to see their reactions.”

In 2020, after he recovered from Covid, Stan moved to Astoria, where he has friends and where he performs in the monthly QED improvised stand-up show “Leap of Faith.”

He has yet another day job: in the disbursement department of Steamfitters Local Union 638.

This one he really loves and intends to keep.

Photo by Nancy A. Ruhling
Writing for SNL is one of his goals.

Yet comedy still calls his name.

Stan knows it’s a long shot, but he really wants be a writer for SNL.

“I have ideas for TV shows, too,” he says. “I want to write plots and see what happens with them.”

Of course, it goes without saying that whatever Stan does, wherever he goes, he’ll find the humor in every situation and make us laugh out loud with him at the absurdity of this thing we call life.
Copyright 2023 by Nancy A. Ruhling