Here are the highlights:
Coming up with his accent:
Yeah, the accent is — it was an interesting accent. It kind of evolved over the years. There was a little Borat, a little Nacho Libre, a little Italian, one of my uncle[s] and stuff. So it was pretty interesting. Growing up in Canada, in Mississauga, almost all of my friends were first-generation Canadian … There’s a definite pattern. I was looking at my elementary school pictures, and it’s Poland, Malta, Greece — no, not too many Greeks, because I went to Catholic school and they’re Orthodox. But Italian, and Portuguese, and just repeats. Italian, Portuguese, Greek, Maltese, Italian, Portuguese. It was interesting.
If it was an accent he heard growing up:
Well that’s the thing. So it’s actually a combination of all my friends’ parents. Croatian, Slovenian. My neighbor Ivan is where I got ‘Son omma gun’ from. Ivan says ‘Son omma gun.’ And you know, all our parents kind of butchered the language or had a funny expression that I just — my friends would call me out on it. Like, ‘You’re making a living off making fun of our parents!’ Or ‘copying our parents.’
If he’s asked to do the accent at conventions:
Yeah, I don’t do the accent. Once I’ve started a conversation being me, it’s kind of hard to do it. So actually, here’s a funny story. Kofi Kingston, when he first started and was Jamaican, he had the accent. So we were the only two guys that were speaking on television in away that we don’t speak in real life.
So when I would do interviews like with radio stations with WWE, there’s a liaison between the two, and he would say, ‘Okay, hold on.’ ‘Hey, Santino, you’re on the line with Joe from 102.5!’ And then I would immediately be in character the whole time. But the WWE Magazine, they have your direct number. So they’ll call you, ‘Hey, hey Santino, it’s Josh from the magazine.
Can I do an interview with you and can you be in character?’ But I’ve already started the conversation. So I remember one time Kofi’s like, ‘Hey can I ask you a question? When the magazine calls you, do you use your accent?’ And I was like, ‘I know! It’s so awkward.’ But once I start talking with somebody I don’t like to do the accent.
H/T 411Mania for the transcriptions