El Barrio is born!
I’ve lived in this city for over ten years now, and I’ve never been able to perform in Spanish, my native tongue. I guess that’s not so strange considering I learned how to perform in an English-speaking school in an English-speaking city. And I’m not really complaining either. I’ve had a chance to perform stand-up, improv, musical improv, sketch, storytelling, I even wrote a one-man show! I have a great time performing in English, but if I’m being honest, I’ve always had this itch I couldn’t scratch. Knowing that I could perform all these things in Spanish if I only had an audience. Sadly, that audience didn’t exist… or so I thought.
The truth was there was an audience, I just didn’t know where they were. And they didn’t know where I was! So time passed, and I made peace with the fact that, other than Spanish commercials, I would only be able to perform in English here in the city. This year, something changed though. I started seeing more and more Spanish comedy specials on Netflix, which led me to look up Spanish-performing comedians online, and finally, I saw that Franco Escamilla was performing at a Broadway theater here in the city. That’s when it hit me. THERE IS AN AUDIENCE IN THE CITY FOR SPANISH COMEDY! They just didn’t have any shows to go see. So I decided to change that.
I started El Barrio. A group whose purpose is to create a Spanish comedy scene here in the city. We’ve started by teaching free classes in stand-up comedy, and hosting a free stand-up comedy open mic, both in Spanish. Soon we’ll start hosting shows where we’ll showcase all the Spanish stand-up this city has to offer. This is a culturally rich city. We have people from México, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, the list goes on and on. We just have to light the match and watch it spread through the city like wildfire!
Once we have a solid audience base, we’ll start bringing in Spanish-speaking comedians from all of South America. Maybe start performing some improv and sketch. My dream is to create an audience and talent pool that are so big that they demand their own space. A place where we can teach and perform comedy in all its varied forms. All of it in Spanish.
What started as a selfish dream to perform in Spanish has grown into a movement that is changing people’s lives throughout the city, and adding to the colorful tapestry that is New York. I couldn’t be prouder. But we’re just getting started so if you’d like to perform some comedy in Spanish, or just come by and check out the show, stop by www.ElBarrioComedy.com to find out about all the upcoming events. You can also find us on Facebook under @ElBarrioComedy
Nos vemos pronto!