Comedian Paul Rodriguez on Immigration Reform, His Skateboarding Son, and How Latinos Have Reacted to 50 Shades of Grey
To the average person, the name Paul Rodriguez invariably brings to mind memories of his numerous appearances in flicks like Tortilla Soup, A Million to Juan, or Born in East L.A. (the film that launched his cinematic career). Those are merely one part of Rodriguez's lengthy and varied résumé over the past three decades, as he's also pulled numerous guest star gigs on the small screen, hosted game shows and a talk show, and is an outspoken activist and political wag.
He's also an affable guy, one helluva funny stand-up comedian, and arguably one of the most famous Latino comics working today. Rodriguez took time away from his busy schedule of doing stand-up gigs across the country, promoting the 2012 documentary The Fight for Water (in which he makes an appearance on behalf of struggling farm workers in California's Central Valley), and meeting with politicians to speak with Jackalope Ranch about his performances this weekend at Stand-Up Live.
The 58-year-old star of The Original Latin Kings of Comedy, who kicks off a three-night stint at the downtown Phoenix comedy club on Friday, got both profound and humorous as he discussed his feelings about the state of Latinos in America and immigration reform. He also dished on less-serious topics like his take on 50 Shades of Grey and how your grandmother might be a fan of the twisted tome, as well as his favorite film roles and how his son Paul Rodriguez III (a.k.a. P-Rod) is killing it in the skateboard world.
So are you still doing your "50 Shades of Brown" tour?
Yeah, we're touring with that. There's four of us that have been touring, but on this particular show in Phoenix it will be less shady, you could say. It will be just myself. But "50 Shades of Brown" has been a spoof on the 50 Shades of Grey [phenomenon]. It's just an overall view, in a funny way, of Latinos in general. Kind of like a report card in a comedic kind of way.
It's a review of how many of us there are. We break it down and give a sort of "You can't judge a Latino by its cover" [message] in just an overall new and comedic way. It's hard to explain right now because you don't want to preach to them all the time because that's not what we do. We try to make 'em laugh. And I try to make 'em laugh during my shows, like the one in Phoenix.