Among the many who have joined the ranks of stand-up comics turned sitcom stars, John DiResta is unique case. The New York native joined the transit police force at age 21 and spent the next decade chasing fare beaters and searching for homeless people who wanted shelter. With the encouragement of a high school buddy, DiResta began honing a comedy routine that he began to perform in venues like "a basement in City Island when Whitey was promoted to captain" to "a party like a wedding in Edison when Ralph Palucci paid off his Pepsi route," Eventually, he began to land gigs in more established clubs which in turn led to an engagement Off-Broadway in "Beat: A Subway Cop's Comedy" (1996-97). Critics were impressed with DiResta, noting similarities to a young Jackie Gleason. With the success of the Off-Broadway show, the TV networks came dangling offers of sitcoms. Eventually, DiResta signed a one-year agreement with ABC and a pilot was developed but went unscheduled. When ABC's option expired, Paramount and its fledgling UPN approached the cop-turned-comic, resulting in "DiResta," a blue-collar family sitcom which premiered in the fall of 1998.