ROCHESTER – When Law Tarello moved to Oxford in sixth grade, he was a chubby kid with a Brookyn accent. His sense of humor helped him fit in, he says.
Tarello, now 34, still regularly employs that same signature humor, only now he uses it on stage, in the lecture hall and, as of last week, on Comedy Central. The 1994 Oxford graduate stars as Detective Manetti on M’Larky, a web-based series filmed for Atom.com which debuted on the cable network on September 30.
He describes the series as a parody of cop shows and movies from the 80’s and 90’s.
“We all grew up watching Miami Vice,” he said, explaining that the title character, M’Larky, is loosely based on Don Johnson’s character in the iconic tv show with a little of Die Hard’s John McClane thrown in.
His own character, Manetti or “Manatee” as he is sometimes referred, is more straight-laced and by-the-book than his free wheeling partner. He therefore takes the brunt of a lot of jokes and, incidentally, bullets.
“Everybody gets shot,” he said. There is also an ample supply of car crashes, fake blood and video game sequences. And in deference to the shows they are paying homage to, they get right back up and keep going.
According to Tarello, the premise for the series and each of the characters, was born six years ago when he, Dan Fogler and the other principals involved all lived in New York City.
Fogler’s name may sound familiar. In 2005, he won a Tony award for his role in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” - (Tarello made his own Broadway debut as Fogler’s understudy). He starred in the 2007 comedy Balls of Fury and had a supporting role in Good Luck Chuck, as well as lent his voice to Kung Fu Panda and Horton Hears A Who. Last year, he earned acclaim at the Tribeca Film Festival for “Hysterical Psycho,” which he wrote and directed. He and Tarello are longtime friends.