Greg Scarnici is a comedian who draws much of his material from his own outrageous life experiences, largely involving drag queens. For more than twenty-five years, he has been summering on Long Island’s Fire Island and has experienced (or outright partaken in) some very shocking, scandalous, and undeniably funny stories. Greg is now recounting some of these experiences via a book of essays "Dungeons and Drag Queens" available now.

Like the performer himself, the stories are hilarious. Many focus on some famous annual Fire Island events such as the popular Cherry Grove “drag invasion” of Pines, two predominantly LGBTQ sections of the island.

"Dungeons and Drag Queens" also details the creation of Greg Scarnici’s sassy alter ego, Levonia Jenkins, who sports a full beard and is celebrated for her outlandishness.

Greg Scarnici is a man of many talents. Aside from being a comedian, he is a director, DJ, actor, producer, musician and, of course, author. His videos have been viewed over ten million times on Youtube, and he has been featured on major television networks including CNN, FOX, MTV, and VH1. He is presently an Associate Producer at the legendary late-night Comedy TV show, "Saturday Night Live."

Greg recently granted an exclusive interview where he discussed his life and career.

Saturday Night Live, NYC, and Fire Island

Meagan Meehan (MM): Where are you originally from and how did you find your way into the NYC comedy scene?

Greg Scarnici (GS): I grew up in fierce and ferocious Queens, New York, recently in the news for telling Amazon, “Gurl Bye.” I always knew I wanted to work in comedy. So, as soon as I graduated from college, I made it my goal to get a job at my favorite TV show from when I was six years old and first saw Gilda Radner on “Weekend Update.”

MM: How did you land the job at "Saturday Night Live"?

GS: I love New York City and comedy, but I never had an interest in moving to California, so SNL was the perfect fit since it’s based here in NYC. Thankfully, when I was in college, I found out one of my coworkers at Macy’s Herald Square went to school with Tom Broecker, the head of the costume department at SNL, who brought me in as in intern.

MM: Was Fire Island meant to be a break from the hustle and bustle of NYC?

GS: Without a doubt. Fire Island has always been known as a relaxing weekend getaway from life in NYC. Artists, dancers and actors started coming to Cherry Grove in the 1930s for that very reason, and that tradition continues to this day.

MM: What was your first impression of the island?

GS: As a naïve and insecure 21-year-old, I was wowed by the physiques on all the hot, shirtless men. I also instantly fell in love with all the drag queens running around having cocktails on a Saturday afternoon.

MM: How have your feelings about Fire Island changed in that time?

GS: Over the course of the past 25 years, I’ve grown to appreciate Fire Island a lot more than just for being a fun party town.

There’s such an amazing sense of history and community, and the more time I spend there, the more it feels like home to me.

MM: What inspired the creation of your sassy alter ego and how similar/different is she from you?

GS: There’s a story in “Dungeons and Drag Queens” about how Levonia was magically conjured up one drunken afternoon on the roof of my house in Cherry Grove while shooting an impromptu YouTube video. I’d say Levonia differs from me because she’s a lot more ridiculous and absurd, but we both have the same fun-loving and positive outlook.

Crazy experiences, essays, and comedy

MM: What is your craziest experience on Fire Island?

GS: OMG, there are so many. In fact, this entire book is filled with them!

But if I had to pick one, it would be the time a friend OD’d on GHB behind our heirloom tomato plants! There was also the night a stranger wanted to grill a steak he was carrying around in a Ziploc bag all day long on my BBQ.

MM: How did you select the essays for the book?

GS: I started by writing down my most interesting moments. I then realized I needed to connect the dots by filling in some essays about major traditions on the island. It was my goal to give the reader an idea of what a typical summer on the island is like, and although the book is not told in a linear way, I think the final selection of essays does that.

MM: Are you considering turning “Dungeons and Drag Queens” into a live comedy show?

GS: A few people have told me they can see it as a TV show or movie, but there are just so many colorful characters in it, I wouldn’t even know where to begin! To be honest, I think it works best as a book.

MM: What are the best experiences that your life as a comedian and drag queen have afforded you?

GS: Comedy and drag are not easy. There are years of hard work, lots of failure, broken nails, etc. But those moments when you connect with an audience and make them laugh are probably some of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life.