Comedy festival provides diversity of laughter

By Staff Writer
September 26, 2002

You have no idea how excited I was last Sunday night. I was going to see the final show of the Latino Comedy Series that was being sponsored by Jack Daniels and icaramba.com. The show was going to feature a bunch of Latino comedians that have appeared on television networks like BET and Galavision, and performed in NYC comedy clubs like The Comic Strip, The Supper Club, and Comedy Cellar.

I was especially giddy because I would be seeing famous people that I have been watching for several years on the tube. It was like I was experiencing the magic of Walt Disney World all over again. I won free tickets to go see the show through the web site icaramba.com. Icaramba.com is a site created by comic genius John Leguizamo (remember Mercutio in the 1990s Hollywood version of Romeo and Juliet?) where Latinos can set up pages describing their interests and whatnot.

I went with a group of friends to StandUP New York Comedy Club not knowing who was going to be cracking the jokes. The show started at 9 p.m. and we laughed for three and a half straight hours to jokes with political, sexual, and identity connotations. Some of the comedians that were featured were Sara Contreras, Rich Ramirez, Davian Velez, and the host himself, Ruperto Vanderpool. The comedian with the most impressive resume was Angel Salazar. Angel Salazar has done small roles in the movies Scarface and Carlito’s Way.

To say that my group of friends and I were rolling on the floor from laughter is an understatement of the comic flair that the performers displayed. I don’t know if I can reenact or rewrite some of the jokes for you, but I’ll try. Comedian Rick Mann (who by the way has his own site called funnyman.com) tells his audience, “The other day my friend gave me this sex tip. She said, ‘Don’t brush your teeth before you give oral sex because it opens up the blood vessels.’ I say to myself, ‘Hmmm.. that’s a good tip.’ But then I say, why in the world am I having sex with someone who’s all diseased?” This was actually one of the tamer jokes of the evening. Jokes about the political state of the United States were thrown into the audience with much approval. We witnessed a drag queen performance. And we crossed our fingers for the prizes that Jack Daniels and icaramba.com were giving out, but to our dismay, most of the prizes were given to one conspiratorial table.

I tried to speak to host Ruperto Vanderpool about his thoughts on the show but I think he was too drunk on Jack Daniels to give a coherent answer. He hugged me so hard that he cracked my neck. So I turned to my table companions for some serious wordplay. Sergio Orozco was obviously having a lot of fun but as a fellow Hispanic, I wanted to know what his thoughts were on the show. Did he think that this comedy series has any connection to how Latinos are “coming up on the ladder” of the entertainment business? Sergio Orozco said, “I don’t think that has anything to do with it. I just thought that with all the promotion yelling about Jack Daniels and icaramba.com that the host was doing, that it actually exploits the talents of the comedians.” I was a bit worried for Billy Peterman, who is of Hungarian descent, because he missed out on many of the jokes that had Spanish undertones. Billy Peterman said this of his experience, “I liked the show a lot, it was a glimpse into Latino humor… even though there were some parts which I did not understand, and for the most part I was able to enjoy the experience. I had a lot of fun, and I recommend it to all.” If you are interested in this series, you can still check out the Grand Finale show on Oct. 4th at The Supper Club in New York City.

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