A Sopranos Actor Is Ready To Haunt Your Lunch Meat This Halloween As The Gabaghoul

Happy Halloween! You know, sometimes I feel a little bad for some of the supporting "Sopranos" actors. Many of them are stuck playing wiseguys for the rest of their lives, and I have to imagine that they sometimes get a little tired of that. But hey, work is work, and Vincent Pastore, who memorably played Big Pussy on "The Sopranos," is now out here hocking lunch meat as a spooktacular character named the Gabaghoul. Normally, we here at /Film don't report on news about cold cuts, but this was too good to ignore. So come along with me, reader, as I first show you the commercial and then try to explain the history of gabaghoul. 

The Gabaghoul

Nothing says Halloween like a ghoul who also appears to be a mobster talking about lunch meat. In a new Halloween-centric ad campaign, Dietz & Watson has tasked "Sopranos" actor Vincent Pastore to play the Gabaghoul, and this is instantly my favorite fictional character, of all time. Perhaps my Italian-American heritage has made me susceptible to this sort of thing, but the minute Pastore turns around and says, "Hey, it's me – the Gabaghoul!", I start laughing. I think it's the "it's me" that really gets me, because that line indicates we all know who the Gabaghoul is, and were just waiting to see him again.

Anyway, I think Pastore does a good job here, and I'd really like someone to hire him to be a new horror host in the tradition of Elvira or Joe Bob Briggs. Maybe horror streaming service Shudder can put something together and have the Gabaghoul host Italian horror movies. There are plenty to pick from! All sorts of giallo titles and more. I know this is just an ad for lunch meat, but c'mon, if the Gabaghoul was hosting Italian horror flicks on your TV, you'd watch it. 

What The Hell Is Gabaghoul?

By now you might be wondering, "Just what the hell is gabaghoul?" If you've watched "The Sopranos," or other mafia-related entertainment, you've no doubt heard the word. But you might not know what it is, and there's a very good reason for that: gabaghoul isn't really called gabaghoul. It's actually called "capicola," and I've heard people pronounce it that way, and it always sounds wrong. "Can I have half a pound of cap-ee-cola?" they say, and then we all gather around them and laugh. 

As for what "capicola" is, it's basically a cross between prosciutto (another Italian cold cut) and sausage. I'm a vegetarian, so I don't eat it myself. But growing up in Philadelphia and then later the Southern New Jersey region, I've heard the word used many times, especially by my late father. As for why certain people pronounce it "gabaghoul," there's no official answer, but the likely explanation is that non-English speakers who immigrated to America from Italy in the past began speaking a kind of broken English as they adapted to life here in the United States. As a result, certain words changed and were passed down through generations. In other words, gabaghoul isn't an Italian word or anything of that sort. It's just slang. As this helpful article from Esquire tells us: 

What we hear in places like Jersey, Staten Island, and New York is actually the result of former immigrants hanging on to their native dialect, and passing elements of that down through generations of Americans who may not even have a clue what the actual contemporary Italian language sounds like today.

And now, gabaghoul it's part of Halloween, I guess? Spooky! But I just have one final question: is it too late to go back and add the Gabaghoul into scenes in "The Many Saints of Newark"?