When I was about 7 years old I used to listen to a Cuban comic by the name of Alvarez Guedes everyday and laughed at jokes that were crafted for adulthood. I remember bracing myself and running to my mother and stating boldy “I want to be just like him when I grow up”. Unfortunately, this along with being a basketball player or an Army General were out of the question to my mother, because these were all things that men did. And so I was rendered the list of things that were acceptable for me, among them: teaching, decorating, cooking or any combination of the three. I learned them all for the sake of my womanhood, but as for a career, I was still lost!
Those of you that know, know that when the comedy bug bites, it NEVER goes away. I’m often asked why I chose comedy, and I have to tell you that it chose me. I have always looked at life through a comedic eye and my dire need to express that has haunted me. I had dreamed of jumping on that stage and just share me and how I think with the world. And so I decided to pursue it and as I approached the mic, it embraced me. Trial and error are amazing teachers and as I worked the muscle and started to develop my funny for an expanded audience (other than my friends) the rhetoric started to pour in. I can be raw and so many have tried to alter my point of view. Instead of saying “Fuck You” (which is my natural instinct) I say “Thank You”, because now I am at a comfort zone so ridiculous that I can write this. Comedy is an interesting space for women, when you come with the bullshit you are a joke (pun intented) BUT when you come with the real you are a threat! I have no desire to meet the standards of mediocrity and so often as a newer comic you are subjected to the continous advice of comedians that didn’t make it. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, so I say to you older bitter comic “You are crazy!” I am not saying quit comedy, I am saying maybe you should change what you are doing because no one is listening, and if they are, they don’t care.
I am a grown up, so when I am told that it is going to take upteen decades for me to find my voice, I laugh. I found my voice a long time ago, I just decided to take it to the stage. Now what I interpret that to mean is that many comedians go on stage with an “idea” of what it is to be a comedian and are often afraid of being themselves. Being yourself is a process, yes and I am in that battle just like everyone else, but don’t disrespect my journey. I am new to comedy YES but not new to writing, not new to acting, not new to producing and not new to getting paid for all of the aforementioned. So forgive me if I get a little touchy when you try to tap me on my head or my tit and take me to the corner and “school me”.
I aim to be a People’s comedian, I say I want to be the Muhammad Ali of Comedy not the Michael Jackson. People take offense to this and ask “Why?”, I simply respond “While Michael was running from the people, Muhammad walked with them”. I belong to many groups of people that need a voice among them: Anorexics, Women, Single Mothers, The Raped,The Abused, The Forgotten,The Hungry,The Repossessed,The Evicted, and The Convicted. My testimony is my joke, and I choose to be as great and memorable as Chris Rock when he made his bold statement about men paying child support, George Carlin about God or Richard Pryor about the word nigger.
I study the Science of Comedy to one day be a great and make people think, it is not always for the laugh people, but for the impression that you leave on the mind. There is a place in comedy for every voice, I hear that this room is ghetto and that Comic is ghetto. Well, that Comic is a reflection of an environment that needs a voice. I remember when a certain Comic called me ghetto, well I kinda am ghetto. I come from a lower income beginning, my mom was on Welfare and I am from the neighborhood that Rick Ross raps about, and I actually grew up in. But my beginning is just that , so don’t undermine my evolution and growth: I really do this shit.
An older comedian told me that I shouldn’t be up for a show, “It’s too soon”. I looked him in the eye and said “Really?” He responded. “Why should you be up for a show when I have been doing comedy for 12 years?” My response, simple “Because I can write one”.
So time to sum this up and I would like to do it with some of the great advice I have received from some excellent people that happen to be comedians.
Chris Spencer “You should do Stand Up, you’re a natural.”
Joe Clair “Do you, Shawty.”
Russell Peters “Just be funny, the outfit doesn’t matter.”
Paul Rodriguez “You’re already good, work on being great.”
Corey Holcomb “Be real like you are off stage and fuck what the people that aren’t going to make it tell you.”
Na’im Lynn “Don’t dumb down for Black audiences.”
Ian Edwards “Don’t be afraid to drop a joke, you have more don’t you?”‘
Maronzio Vance “Don’t be afraid to be smart on stage, tell your jokes to the top of the room.”
Hugh Moore “Just be yourself.”
Clayton Thomas “Have fun.”
Cocoa Brown “Keep taking your crazy to the stage.”
Max Amini “Just make them love you and they will go wherever you take them.”
Byron Bowers “Do what you did in the grocery store on stage.”
Arsenio Hall “Write a joke everyday.”
Jay Leno “It’s never too late, but it can be to soon!”
My name is Aida Rodriguez and I am a Comedian.