Tag: Jon Stewart

A Latino Millennial Walks into a Bar…


We Latinos are known for many positive characteristics, such as our strong family bonds, fierce work ethic, and inherent sexiness (really, it’s a thing).

However, we don’t have the reputation of being particularly funny people. As I’ve written before, Hispanic equivalents to Jon Stewart or Chris Rock or Tina Fey are tough to name.

But maybe that has less to do with culture than with access.

Historically, there has been no hub for Latino comedy. To fill that niche, Broadway Video Enterprises (founded by SNL creator Lorne Michaels) recently launched Más Mejor, a new online comedy studio powered by Latino voices.

The site will feature content by Hispanic comedians and/or about Latino themes. Among the big names involved are SNL alumni Fred Armisen and Horatio Sanz, who joined together to contribute one of Más Mejor’s most popular videos so far. Other early hits include a takedown of Mexico City’s tourism campaign and a jab at every Latino’s favorite presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Future content will include topical sketches, cultural and political satire, and original web videos.

One of the site’s partners is Batanga Media, which will distribute premium content to its 70 million monthly users.

Rafael Urbina, CEO of Batanga, agrees that few Latino comedians have broken through to the mainstream. But he sees that as less of an issue — and even less of a goal — going forward.

“Crossing over into the mainstream is great,” Urbina says. “But Más Major isn’t so much about breaking through to the traditional media. It’s more about engaging with the audience directly.”

Urbina points out that Latinos in general, and young Hispanics in particular, are voracious consumers of online media. For example, Hispanics watch 62 percent more digital video than non-Hispanics.

To a Latino Millennial, therefore, it doesn’t matter if a comedian has his own Comedy Central show or was featured in a Judd Apatow movie. All that matters is whether the guy makes them laugh when they click on a video downloaded to their phones.

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“We can reach exactly who we want to reach, and not have to water down the content in hopes of reaching a mass audience,” Urbina says. “If we do that well, we will create our own mass audience. A new mainstream.”

It’s an ambitious goal, and one that goes beyond proving that Hispanics can be funny. If Más Mejor is successful, it could indicate a new model not just for Latino audiences, but for an increasingly digital world.

Urbina adds, however, that one element will always be essential when it comes to great comedy.

“Authenticity is a key pillar,” he says. “Young Latinos love comedy, and if people are authentic and talented, we now have a way for them to build a dedicated following.”


Not Quite Ready for My Close-Up

The email was unexpected, even alarming.

It read, “I book guests for an Hispanic television show. We’re taping a program on Latino bloggers, and we’d love to have the Fanatic appear. Please let me know if you’d consider being a part of this show.”

Obviously, I replied that I was interested. What red-blooded American living in our reality-show culture of a society could pass on the opportunity to appear on television, which is the very pinnacle of existence?

In truth, it should be clear to everyone that if I really wanted to be a celebrity, I wouldn’t be a writer. I would be a rock star or, at the very least, a pathetic hanger-on to some washed-up actor (whichever is easier).

So it wasn’t about my getting my fifteen minutes. My only motivation was to publicize the blog.

I agreed to talk to the booking agent to see if I was a good fit for the show’s topic. After speaking with this very nice, albeit fast-talking woman from New York, I found out that I would appear as a panelist on the show, via satellite no less. I would debate, banter, cajole, and confront the other panelists on live television. It sounded good to me.

Later, I did some research on the show. The publicity for the program refers to the hosts as “multicultural journalistic powerhouses,” which sounds pretty damn cool. Of course, it also sounds like the hosts are Latinos who have been exposed to excessive radiation.

In any case, I was excited to appear on the show. This would be my television debut, unless one counts the myriad times when I was a teenager that I snuck into the background of a hapless reporter delivering an on-location news story. This time, I had no plans to stick out my tongue and wave rabbit ears behind someone’s head. Otherwise, my maturity level would probably be identical.

Alas, the producers decided that my blog’s subject matter didn’t quite fit the show’s theme, so I won’t be appearing. They broke the news to me via another unexpected email. In less than twenty-four hours, my small-screen debut went from genesis to untimely death. After my brief flirtation with fame, it is indeed a bitter pill to go back to a life where I cannot introduce myself with the phrase “as seen on tv.”

Nevertheless, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before some other television program recruits the Fanatic. And when that day comes, it will be a foreshadowing of my future multimedia presence, when I’ll be exchanging bon mots with Jon Stewart, snipping with Bill O’Reilly, and slapping high-fives with David Letterman.

Can’t you just see it? I know I can.

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