Laughter is the Best Medicine

The Latino Comedy Project

(thundering) – We will never retreat! We will never surrender! (thundering) Mexicans! Tonight! We dine in San Diego! (cheering)
(pounding music) (roaring) (yelling and cheering) (screaming) (dinosaur roaring) (yelling) (audience clapping and cheering) – [Announcer] Ladies
and gentlemen, The Latino Comedy Project. – I never intended to
get into acting at all, or playwriting or
anything like that. It was kind of done
out of necessity. I’d spent several
years after UT writing and just trying to self
teach how to write material that was comedic,
but also cultural, because I’ve been
writing all my life and eventually I realized
that nobody was going to help me put these
things into the world. And through different
circumstances, I
basically ended up just deciding I was
gonna do a one-man show. Which was very brave
and very foolish. (Adrian laughs) That’s how it started, it was
basically out of necessity because there was no
infrastructure there to put the kind of work that
I wanted to see in the world. So I made myself the
vehicle for that. And from that led to beginning
The Latino Comedy Project. The Latino Comedy Project
was actually inspiration from a woman who was mentor
of ours named Maria Rocha, who had the idea that,
looking around at the void that there was, that it
would be really cool to have a comedy troop that
featured latino performers who performed
their own material, which was pretty
radical at the time. It didn’t exist in Austin. By giving to the LCP fund,
you’ll be helping people, like Little Nick here. Nick, we need to pay for
what may very well be a life-saving
operation for Nick. An Anglo to Chicano racial
identity transplant. (audience laughing) (talks in Spanish) (audience laughing) – I looked at the
absence of Latino voices, as a reason to do
what I was doing. And then also, you
get the benefit of you’re providing something
that’s very special, and unique and rare to
the audiences that come to support what you’re doing. And that’s a huge reward. By doing what you’re doing,
and if you’re doing it well, and you’re doing
it successfully, other people can say,
oh, that’s possible. I look at a lot of racism,
and a lot of these isms, sexism, homophobia,
whatever the thing is today, I look at all that as
just a sense of laziness. Psychological and social
laziness, because it’s really just groups of people
leaning back on this thing in order to feel
superior, in order to preserve unearned privileges. The cool thing, though, is that
if you turned it into comedy you make it something that
everybody can partake in. – Hello, I’m a B.C. – And I’m a Mex. – Why the hell are
you dressed that way? – (speaks in Spanish) And I’m an Americano (speaks
in Spanish), just like you. – But you look ridiculous,
you don’t even match. And I already told
you, I’m a BC. – And I’m a Mex. – And I’m with Homeland Security and I can’t tell the difference. – What? (laughs) Surely you’re kidding. It’s so obvious, look man! He’s the one you
should deport, not me. Tell him Mex. – I’ve never seen this
man before in my life – Alright you’re both
coming down to processing, we’ll let them sort it out. – Is okay, I’ll
be back next week. (slow music) – We got back together to do the Out of Bounds show, last
September of last year. And we put this show together
not thinking that it was… Not thinking beyond that,
lets make that show as great as we can, its only
gonna be one night. Lets make sure
that it feels like a second, third weekend show. That was the goal, lets
make sure it feels like we’ve done it a million times. So we overprepared
in a good way. The whole best case scenario
I could’ve hoped for, for that event, came true. So again, we were in a position, where we need to fill
a void of a voice that’s not being heard. And not just a voice
of the Latino community that’s being affected
by gentrification, but the city culture as a whole. But I tell people, we
signed up for one tour and the audience
drafted us into a war. Because this is a different
country now than it was when we were putting the
show together last summer. I told the group about the
show, when we were writing it, I said,the goal of
this show needs to be, first and foremost, that
people walk out of it, they are reminded of the fact that this issue is
about real human lives. It’s not about real
estate, it’s not about just property taxes, it’s
not about demographics or statistics, it ultimately is
affecting real people’s lives. (slow music) One of the shows we
did, we did a sketch about the Jumpolin
Pinata shop incident. The daughter of that family
was at the show one time and they were
cheering that sketch. It’s a long story, but
basically it takes place at the Blue Cat Cafe But it’s the cats,
its about the cats. Today it’s a fresh
pile of rubble bearing
a family’s dreams. Years from meow, it’ll
be, the Blue Cat Cafe is a quirky institution
of revitalized East Austin. Cause you see they,
they bury the truth too. So we forget. If we forget, they win. And we can’t let them win. Not here, not meow, not ever. It’s really gratifying to do
a comedy show that gets laughs from beginning to end, and
then you still have people, after the show, tell you that parts of that show
made me want to cry. I can only speak for
myself what its like for us to work together,
but I know there’s a great sense of family, there’s a
great sense of familiarity, with each other. But the other thing that
keeps us all coming back is that we all make
each other laugh. We’ve been through
a lot together, we’ve been through a lot
of different creative times and shows and
producing and creating stuff. But I think, coming back
to it after a few years like we did with this show,
and seeing the response from the audience and also
being part of the process again, coming at it fresh and
then looking at each other. Its almost like a second
chance, to appreciate something. And I know, I think we all
look around each other and go, how lucky we are that we’re
still able to work together and that we’re doing the
best work we’ve ever done. We’ve had these great
experiences where we’ve had standing ovations, we’ve
had sold out shows. But in the end, its about
what your day to day life is, the quality of your
day to day life. Are you enjoying this? Is this adding
something to your life? So that’s why I told
them before the show. Forget about any
audience expectations, forget about any of that, Just remember to go on
stage and enjoy ourselves. If we’re enjoying ourselves,
they’ll enjoy themselves. And if nothing else,
we’ll be able to take away a good memory from this. We didn’t have a
future imagined past the show at Out
of Bounds, really. Again, we were
just trying to make that show the best we could. If there was no
interest in supporting what we do, we wouldn’t still
be doing it now, a year later. The cool thing is that, even
now it’s really all just driven by being true to
the original mission. Which is being a
voice for people whose voices we don’t
hear often enough.

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