*Comedian Paul Rodriquez and 4 other comedians Ruperto Vanderpool, Jochy Santos, Cuquin Victoria and singer and comedian Anthony Rios will take over the stage at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts as part of the Festival Del Humor: A Night of Laughter to Remember during the Thanksgiving weekend of Saturday, November 30th at 8:00 pm. Lehman Center for the Performing Arts located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West in the Bronx, is in its 33rd season.
Paul Rodriquez is revered as one of the first Latin Kings of Comedy. He is also one of the co-owners of the Laugh Factory out in LA where Michael Richards (formerly Kramer in Seinfeld) had his racist episode with two African American hecklers. Paul has made several TV appearances and hosted Mis Videos Locos on TV, as well as hosted the Newly Wed Game. His film credits include Blood Work; D.C. Cab; Born in East LA; Tortilla Soup; Rat Race and Ali. His very recognizable voice has added voiceover background to King of the Hill, Dora the Explorer and Beverly HillsChihuahua. He directed and starred in the film “A Million to Juan” and he produced and appeared in the 2002 comedy film “The Original Latin Kings of Comedy.” He is planning a theatrical release of the motion picture comedy, “Gravy” which will be out in December 2013. He also pitched a show to the networks called Three Generations starring Paul, his son Paul and Edward James Olmos. The show is expected to get the green light.
Rodriguez has been nominated for two American Latino Media Arts Awards, an Imagen Award and won an NCLR Bravo Award. He was also acknowledged with a “Humanitarian of the Year Award” by the City of Fresno for his work in the area of water conservation.
Paul came from a family of 12. His Mother had 5 children and his Dad had his own set of children as well. “We moved to America when I was two years old, so I have vague memories of Mexico” said Paul. “I think my father wanted his own baseball team with all 12 kids,” quipped Paul.
Paul was born in Mexico to a family of migrant farm workers. His father was contracted to work for a season and then decided to immigrant to America for a better opportunity. “My father saw a better way of life in America for the family so he moved us here. We spent most of my youth traveling around the country from harvest to harvest, picking everything the earth grew,” recalled Rodriquez.
“When I began to make money, like every other kid I wanted to buy a farm for my mom. I bought my parents a citrus ranch and that is what they did until their death. Then my sisters and brothers took it over. I have farming in my blood but I am not very good at it. I guess all that traveling and staying on the road during my childhood taught me to survive on the road because my life as an entertainer keeps me on the road.”
Paul thinks the rural way of life sets a good example for urban youth. “I think they can learn something about morality working the land. They took a survey wherein they asked kids where eggs came from and the popular answer was the refrigerator,” chuckled Paul. “I think a good couple of weeks on a farm would give kids a good education and an appreciation for the world around them.”
With Thanksgiving coming up, Paul spends Thanksgiving on the road since his mother died. Due to his travel schedule, his family has Thanksgiving in October to accommodate his schedule; although he is able to spend Christmas with his family. “My family fries the turkey and stuffs it with dried red peppers and it’s really delicious. Colonel Saunders has nothing on the way Spanish people fry turkey,” says the comedian. “Someone needs to open up a Colonel Saunders Fried Turkey Shop and I think that would really sell like crazy. My mother used to coat the turkey with crushed corn flakes and honey put into egg batter. It makes for a mean sweet turkey. I tell a joke about how African Americans and Mexicans love fried food. But Mexicans love to double fry,” claims the jokester.
Paul will feel right at home in the LehmanCenter neighborhood since he grew up in a mixed community of Black folks and Latinos. Since it’s his first appearance at LehmanCenter, Mr. Rodriguez is looking forward to performing at the venue and promises it will be a family orientated show free of profanity, so bring grandma and the kids he says.
If you are a fan of Paul Rodriguez or just in love with comedy in general, be sure to catch this laugh fest. Tickets can be purchased at the Lehman Center Box Office by calling 718-960-8833 or by going online at www.lehmancenter.org
Deardra Shuler is a well published journalist who has profiled celebrities and written about people of note for many years. In addition to her column at EURweb.com, she is the host of her radio show “Topically Yours” on BlakeRadio.com and has shows featured on NPR via Initiative Radio. Ms. Shuler is featured in several papers. Her international column in Sweden, “Music Pastures” is available at http://soulinterviews.com. Interested parties can acquire info regarding Deardra through Writspirit.com, Tagged.com, Facebook and Google. Contact her via: [email protected].
Photo by Michael Schwartz