There is a preponderance of funny people working behind the counter at Hot Mama’s Pizza. Currently three standup comics sling pie at this Capitol Hill institution. If you stop in at any time day or night, chances are you’ll encounter a local comic tossing dough or dashing out the door on a delivery run.
Robbie Schroeder is patient zero for the Hot Mama’s comic infestation. He’s been working here for twelve years and doing standup for five. A few years ago he brought in fellow joketeller Mike Masilotti (recently moved to California) and it snowballed from there. “They finally said, ‘No more comedians—it’s not funny anymore,’” Schroeder said.
Nigel Larson, who’s been here for two and a half years, explains that the job’s scheduling flexibility and decent pay — as well as the owner’s legendary tolerance for weirdos — makes it an ideal workplace for performers, including the many musicians in Hot Mama’s rotating crew of 20 employees.
“We’re actually the least funny people here — the weekend manager has like 50 characters he goes in and out of throughout the day,” Larson says, “Of course, everyone who works here is terribly broken so they could all be comedians if they wanted to.”
Larson says the first and only time he’s ever gotten a standing ovation was not from performing comedy, but from showing up at the courthouse with a stack of pizzas.
Dylan Cole, a delivery driver since 2016, admits he’s gotten some good material from the gig. “When you’re a 38-year-old pizza boy, if you don’t write material about it you’re wasting a resource. Just the phrase ‘38-year-old pizza boy’ gets chuckles.”
When asked who brings more joy into the world, pizza delivery drivers or comedians, Cole answers without hesitation: “Pizza delivery drivers. You don’t even have to ask. I can’t think of any other job where people get so excited to see you.”
Hot Mama’s is located at 700 E Pine. You can learn more at hot-mamaspizza.com.