Morris County’s Own Rob Asaro — Funny, Fearless and Found Himself 

By Jillian Risberg 


An unlikely pair travel cross-country in Rob Asaro’s new play Lost Again, inspired by the playwright and Parsippany native’s own adventures on the road as a stand up comic. Most recently it had its limited run at The Tank in New York City.  


Lost Again is about two mismatched strangers paired up by a mutual friend: Ilona Young, a type-A, know-it-all travel blogger on a cross-country assignment and Casey Calvino, a jaded comedian on a tour of the US. Their story is one of identity, pain, adventure, friendship, moving on and moving forward. Each act takes place in a city or town, en-route from New York to Los Angeles. The story is part misadventure, part self-discovery and part buddy dramedy.


Viewers are sure to take something away from Asaro’s wild comic adventure.


“They feel a little understood — it’s very specific feelings,” the funny man says this project deals a lot with regret, also what matters and the meaning of things. “I hope people walk away like, ‘I feel that way too, it feels good that someone expressed some of these ideas,’ but also if they’re laughing and having a good time. I’m a comedian so… I want people to enjoy themselves.”


Asaro hopes Lost Again, which he wrote after adapting it from his 10-episode series — can have life beyond the play. 


“You live it; like when you’re doing this,” he says that’s all there is. “I’m obsessed with it.”

The script was a finalist at the Austin Film Festival pitch competition in 2021.


“I write these projects and fall in love — some you’re with for a long time, go back or adapt in a certain way,” says the comedian. “You become invested. Not just write it and hope somebody says yes,” Asaro says he wants it to live in some capacity.


Hence his desire to produce, act and write his own work: whether it be a web series, play or pilot, and get it to Netflix or HBO.


“I never just wanted to act and never just wanted to write. It was about being able to do both,“ Asaro says it’s tough to navigate when you’re a hyphenated sort of talent. “Many show business folks only want to see you one way: just an actor, a comedian, a writer.”


So the funny man keeps going — hoping to grow and get better to surprise his friends and colleagues who know him.


“If I can surprise them that means I am (evolving) because they know my style,” he says it takes tons of devotion. “It’s hard to have a normal life when you do this sort of thing.”


He shared that show business can be tricky and there can be attitudes, egos and a sinister undercurrent in certain ways. His advice to young people starting out: stay away from the element that doesn’t make you feel good or you don’t trust. Instead, surround yourself with plenty of good, talented people.

And patience is important.

“Be where you are,” says Asaro. “You can’t rush the process. It takes a while to develop not only your comedic voice but what interests you to write about.”

According to the comedian, he wasn’t a sophisticated child but had a keen understanding of comedy. He says one can learn to be funny if you immerse yourself in it and find your voice.

At three or four his mom took him to the mall, where he pretended to be a dancing mannequin and that connected him with his first agent — who sent him on a cereal casting call.

“Mom brought snacks for me and they told her there were no snacks in the office. After that she wouldn’t bring me in because of the snack policy,” Asaro says. “The joke growing up was always, ‘I didn’t get to be a messed up child actor because my mother wasn’t allowed to bring in a baggie of Chex Mix.’” 

Seinfeld was an early influence, he adored Norm McDonald… and the early Simpsons were amazing. 

At 14-years-old, Asaro asked his dad to use vacation money to take a standup class. And the rest is history.

“He took me into the city once a week for the class,” the funny man says when it concluded  he went to Stand Up NY on the Upper West Side.

“Did my set there; I was 14 performing when everybody else was in their late 20s,” says the comedian. “It was an interesting experience.”

Asaro has toured the country performing and is the founder of the nationally known Emerson College comedy troupe: Chocolate Cake City that’s still there 20 years later. He relocated to Los Angeles right out of college, studied with Second City, and returned to NYC in 2006.


The funny man grew up in Parsippany.

“It’s a different mentality, different energy, different speed, a different sense of humor,” Asaro says of the area and NYC, that shaped him significantly.

From there for years he tried to make short films; do standup, sketch comedy and improv, web series, one-man shows.


While sets involving topical humor are not the comedian’s thing, “I like comedy that comes from within” — he admits the 24-hour (in your face) news cycle was hard to ignore.

And he says it feels nice to be out there again in the city, working through and living the creative and rehearsal process.


“Being in those spaces… with people who are jazzed to be there and excited about the work,” says the funny man, adding that Zoom never felt real.

His dream is to make Lost Again as a series and constantly produce work. He adapted another piece, Light at the Diner (various vignettes), to perhaps do on stage — about a bunch of people who enter a diner on a weekday night and their different experiences.

“I would love to have a production company one day and be able to produce this work, employ all my friends, collaborators and people I find funny who should be working all the time,” Asaro says. “I would like to be successful where I could give people that I feel deserve it (amazing, wonderful talents) a platform.”  


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