‘Sopranos’ Star Joe Gannascoli Isn’t Podcasting; He’s Out Feeding Essential Workers

If you’re looking for former stars of HBO’s The Sopranos, you can find four of the show’s key actors on podcasts in 2020. The list begins with Talking Sopranos, a re-watch podcast launched in April and co-hosted by Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) and Steve Schirripa (Bobby Baccala).

And, though it doesn’t have a Sopranos focus per se, Robert Iler (A.J. Soprano) and Jamie Lynn-Sigler (Meadow Soprano) launched a podcast of their own called Pajama Pants in 2019. So there’s a lot to take in.

However, you won’t find every actor from the classic mob show getting into podcasts. Joe Gannascoli, who played Vito Spatafore from seasons 2-6, said he doesn’t have any interest in the form. “It’s just not my thing,” he told Showbiz Cheat Sheet by phone.

Lately, Gannascoli has had his hands full bringing food to essential workers on Long Island and across New York City. After starting a GoFundMe on April 4, Gannascoli has used the nearly $30,000 he’s raised to support area businesses and the employees on the job in the coronavirus (COVID-19) era.

Joe Gannascoli has made 100 food deliveries to New York hospitals, post offices, and more

Joe Gannascoli dropping off food to hospital workers
Former ‘Sopranos’ star Joe Gannascoli drops off food bought with money raised by his GoFundMe campaign for essential workers. | Joe Gannascoli

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Since his GoFundMe caught on in April, Gannascoli has been busy. He’s made about 100 food deliveries for hospital workers on Long Island, in the Bronx, and on Staten Island. In addition, he’s stopped by post offices, firehouses, police stations, and other healthcare facilities with food on dozens more occasions.

Gannascoli said he started thinking about it when his niece (a nurse in the Bronx) caught the coronavirus. (She recovered.) Since his sister-in-law also works as a nurse on Long Island, he felt the need to support them and their co-workers. And he realized he could help struggling restaurants at the same time.

“I wanted to help restaurants in my neighborhood,” Gannascoli told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “And I also wanted to bring nurses [and other hospital employees] food. So I could help both at the same time.” So he put the plan into action with funds he’d raised online.

At first, he was working with $1,000; then more donations came in. With more funds at his disposal, he’s bought food from about 15 different restaurants and snacks from convenience stores, bakeries, and other businesses.

Gannascoli has heard the ‘stressful’ tales from nurses on the job

Joseph Gannascoli, who plays mobster Vito Spatafore on “The Sopranos” | Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

With two family members on the front lines in the most affected areas, Gannascoli has heard firsthand how the virus has made the workplace a scary place for hospital employees. “It was very terrifying in the beginning for them,” he said. “Very stressful.”

For his part, Gannascoli sounded energized by his project. After spreading around the food purchases in his neighborhood, he picks up the food and delivers it. (He tries to observe social distancing while taking selfies along the way.) He said everything from the GoFundMe goes into these purchases.

And it’s expanded beyond food deliveries. He told me he received a donation of 5,000 masks from Lowes on May 14. (He plans to spread them around as needed at his stops.) But his main focus will remain on bringing the food to people who never stopped working.

As for his old colleagues’ podcasts, he won’t be tuning in anytime soon. “I’d rather be listening to the news,” he told me. “I lived [The Sopranos]; I just have no interest in listening to any of that.”

Gannascoli hopes to reach $50,000 to keep the deliveries going for the coming weeks, so he hopes new donors join him. “I’m consumed with this project,” he told me. “I’m on my mission, and it’s all I care about.”

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