‘Troy’s Big Break’ speaks volumes for a community that is often under-represented

Joseph Ausanio is an actor, screenwriter, and creator of the webseries ‘Troy’s Big Break’. Joseph also happens to be deaf but he does NOT allow that to keep him from doing all the things he dreams of and he encourages us all to follow suit. Another thing you should know about Joseph is that he is a gay man who is representing in such a positive way.

The unique thing about ‘Troy’s Big Break’ is there are no spoken lines. Almost all of the dialogue is signed and there are captions for those of us who do not speak sign language. You really have to check it out for yourself! Here is a little about the show and Joseph as only he can tell you:

Q: Can you talk a little about Troy’s Big Break?

Joseph Ausanio: Absolutely! It’s a unique show because it showcases Deaf talent. It’s about a Deaf director who faces different types of life challenges while looking for the perfect actress for his production. Things start to unfold to show what’s going on in his life.

Q: What has the response to the show been so far from the deaf community as well as the hearing community?

Joseph Ausanio: It’s pretty popular with the Rochester, NY folks, because that is where we filmed the show. And the people know us there. Rochester also has a large D/deaf community there and it’s truly a nice thing. The people who watched the show always approach the cast members and let them know that they are fans of the show.  That really means a lot.  I had hearing people messaging me saying that it was so different from the other things they watched because they’re so used to seeing shows with a full hearing cast, but the reception from them has been really positive.

Q: What guest stars would you like to have on the show?

Joseph Ausanio: Ooh, this is a tough one. I’d love to have Marlee Matlin on the show. She’s one of my inspirations. I would LOVE to get Amber Zion on the show. She’s an incredibly gifted Deaf actress and I love her work. I would also love to get Rikki Poynter, who’s a super awesome YouTube vlogger and I love her videos. She’s not afraid to speak out and I have tremendous respect for her for doing that.

I’d also love to see Kelsey Lindhorst’s character faint when she sees Nyle DiMarco show up in an episode. That’d be hilarious. Or even Troy’s mom to go out on a date with him! (Think Sophia Petrillo going on a date with Burt Reynolds in an episode of “The Golden Girls”)

I’m all about showcasing more Deaf talent out there.

Q: Who were some of your idols/role models growing up?

Joseph Ausanio: First, Marlee Matlin, because she inspired me to become an actor growing up. Also, Lucille Ball is one of the greatest comediennes I’ve ever watched. When I first saw her on TV, I couldn’t walk away from the television. She never fails to make me laugh every time I watch “I Love Lucy”. I admire her so much.

Q: Do you think we will see more shows that involve hearing impaired characters like Switched at Birth and your show? 

Joseph Ausanio: I REALLY hope so. I would love to write a TV series for any network that features characters that are D/deaf because I want to support diversity. We have millions of Deaf people in the world and it would be great to do more shows for them.

Q: What would you say to others who are trying hard to make their dreams come true and trying to overcome some obstacle they have no control over?  

Joseph Ausanio: I would say this:

“If you want to make it happen, do it. If you want to travel all over the world, go for it. If you want to make movies, do it.  Don’t wait for things to simply fall in your lap. I learned this life lesson the hard way. Just listen to your heart. If you want to follow your dreams, now is the time.”

Q: What made you decide to create a character who is also gay?

Joseph Ausanio: The reason why I decided to create a gay character was because the LGBT #DeafTalent felt that they weren’t always showcased, so I wanted to showcase them more.

Q: What would you say to those out there who are dealing with issues around coming out? Both in the deaf community and in the hearing community?

Joseph Ausanio: I remember when I came out, it was very scary. I was 19 and in college. I broke up with my ex-girlfriend and I was slowly coming out to a few close friends and then my family members. My family and friends are incredibly supportive and I feel fortunate for that. For the others, I want them to know that they are not alone in this. I can’t speak for other people, because we all have different experiences. I can say that no matter what, you will always get support from the LGBT community and their allies. If they’re scared, I’m here to talk. I want to lend a hand to provide support. We have a big support system. We have a lot of LGBT people and the allies in our Deaf community and we are so incredibly supportive of each other, and the same goes for the hearing community.

Q: What is the best advice you have ever received? Who was it from?

Joseph Ausanio: I had a great pep talk with a dear friend two weeks before he unexpectedly passed away; he was incredibly supportive of my dreams of moving to Los Angeles.  He said, “Seize the day.” He was right.

Q: What is the best advice you have ever given? Are you normally good at taking your own advice?

Joseph Ausanio: I’m bad at taking my own advice, but I try to give great advice to people. I would tell them, “Life is way too short to be unhappy.  Never give up your dreams even through the tough times, when you realize how strong you truly are.  Nothing….nothing is impossible.”

Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

Joseph Ausanio: I can’t live without my family, who have been my rock.  I wish we could all live without hate and violence;  there is way too much of that in the world right now.

Q: Where can we find you and your show online?

Joseph Ausanio: You can find me on Twitter via @JosephAusanio and you can find Troy’s Big Break’s Twitter page via @TroysBigBreak. We also have a Facebook page of the show. You can also find the full episodes on our YouTube channel at youtube.com/troysbigbreak. All of the episodes are captioned for the D/deaf and hearing audiences.

Q: What’s up next for Joseph Ausanio and Troy’s Big Break?

Joseph Ausanio: I am hoping to do a third season of “Troy’s Big Break”. I have the season premiere’s script written already. I’m planning to chat with my cast & crew to see if they’re game.  I work with the most amazing people – both cast and crew.  They have all taught me a lot.   I wrote a few pilot scripts here and there. I’m always writing new stuff.

I recently wrote a feature screenplay that focuses on a Deaf woman and her struggles with life and love. I’m hoping that it might catch someone’s attention because the story is so powerful. I gave it to an actress I want for that role and she loved the script.  Maybe something will come of it soon.

Saying Goodbye to Hot In Cleveland

At the Front Door on the Hot In Cleveland Set

Today, most TV shows are lucky to last one season so six definitely says something about the quality of the show and the talent involved. It also speaks volumes about the network that carries the show. It shows that the powers that be believe in you, respect you, and appreciate you.

Such is the case with a little show (that really isn’t so little when you look at it) called Hot In Cleveland. When Hot premiered, TV Land was known as the best place to go to see your favorite classic TV shows. It seemed appropriate that they be the ones to corner the market on television series which combined actors from those beloved classic TV shows and put them in the situations they were most familiar with, celebrated for, and damn good at!

This was also a risky venture because network and cable TV was becoming seemingly impossibly competitive. Thank goodness, the powers that be, including Larry W. Jones believed in the vision and took a chance on the show and the talents of Betty White, Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick, and Jane Leeves.

Hot In Cleveland premiered to phenomenal ratings and kept that momentum going strong. It created a place for other shows with similar formats and formulas to be born like The Exes, Happily Divorced, The Soul Man, Kirstie and now Younger, Impastor, and The Jim Gaffigan Show.

Hot also created an environment where Social TV could flourish and opened up an opportunity for me to develop a relationship with the show, digital producers, and even Mr. TV Land Larry himself! Now, how lucky was I? Over the years I have been to numerous live tapings, many gatherings at TV Land HQ, and even red carpet events. It also opened up friendships and events outside the TV Land

Getting comfy in the Hot In Cleveland Living Room


I have been literally given VIP treatment and been able to bring some of my friends along from time to time. The memories go beyond the television screen for me and I am so thrilled to see where this will go next!

It is also bittersweet because I know all shows must end their run, I know actors move on to other projects but part of me wants them to stay. As Dr Suess says, “Don’t cry because it’s over, be happy that it happened”. I am very HAPPY Hot In Cleveland happened.

This Wednesday, June 3rd, I will again be tweeting from TV Land HQ in NYC along with the amazing TV Land family and I hope you all join along! In addition to the one hour series finale of Hot, we will be treated to a special sneak peek of the Jim Gaffigan Show. Wednesday nights have become somewhat of a twitter party for me during the airings of the TV Land sitcoms where we all get to tweet our favorite lines and fan reactions to the situations our favorite characters get into. That has expanded to Tuesdays now with Younger and I truly hope it will continue with all of TV Land’s shows!

Please join us on Wednesday for all the fun. Follow me @teeco71, @TVLand, @hotncleveland, & @gaffiganshow as we send off our beloved Hot in Cleveland and be sure to tweet along using hashtags #HotInCleveland #ThanksForTheLaughs #TVLand and #GaffiganShow.

With some of the TV Land family Live Tweeting during Hot In Cleveland and The Soul Man

I would like to take this opportunity to send Betty, Valerie, Jane, and Wendie all of my gratitude and LOVE. Thank you for all the laughs and thank you for being there for us each Wednesday! And special Thanks to Larry W. Jones, Sean Hayes, Tod Milliner and the entire crew for all they’ve done to bring us our favorite TV shows!

To the TV Land digital crew that have truly become family to me, I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday and to all that the future holds in store! Thank you for including me and for all you do!


‘Breaking Bad’ finale tops ratings and illegal downloads

‘Breaking Bad’ finale tops ratings and illegal downloads (via AFP)

The much-anticipated final episode of “Breaking Bad” drew the cult TV show’s largest ever audience — 10.3 million viewers — but there were also more than 500,000 illegal downloads, figures show. The series, centered around once humble chemistry teacher…

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Sophia Grace releases first music video; WGA names ‘Sopranos’ Top TV show of all time; more – A.M. Entertainment News Links

Sophia Grace releases first music video; WGA names 'Sopranos' Top TV show of all time; more – A.M. Entertainment News Links (via Cleveland.com)

Here’s some of what’s happening this morning in entertainment headlines: Sophia Grace releases her first music video; Lake Bell marries Scott Campbell over the weekend; Bruno Mars’ mother dies; ‘American Idol’ Concert tour scaling back on dates; and more. From the ‘We-Should-Have-Seen-This-Coming’…

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Jean Stapleton: ‘A great actor whose range was deep and majestic’

Jean Stapleton: 'A great actor whose range was deep and majestic' (via The Christian Science Monitor)

Jean Stapleton is Edith Bunker and Carroll O’Connor is Archie Bunker in “All In The Family”. Ms. Stapleton, who won three Emmy awards, died Friday in New York.(CBS) To most television viewers in the 1970s, Jean Stapleton was the working class housewife ditz with the screechy New York voice who put…

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