She's One Hot Tamale

Kiki Melendez creates a successful comedy showcase, now on DVD

By Abelardo de la Pe?a Jr.
Published on LatinoLA: September 18, 2003

She's One Hot Tamale

Kiki Melendez, born Christian Dolores Melendez Almonte de Los Angeles, was raised in NYC by her a loving and compassionate single mother who can't speak a word of English. She started her career as a radio morning show host on both coasts and both languages. In New York she was the morning host for "La Nueva FM, 105.9" and in Los Angeles, KRLA, Groove 103.1 before crossing over to television.

In 1998 a pilot she created, executive produced and hosted "Salsa desde Hollywood" for Galavision, later her show "Kiki Desde Hollywood", received critical acclaim and was the first bilingual variety show. It was ranked the #1 entertainment show for the network.

For the past year, she has been creating opportunities, not only for herself, but also for hundreds of ethnic female comics and dancers. Her successful show "Hot Tamales", has garnered sold out performances locally at the Improv and in New York , creating an industry showcase that celebrates diversity in America through the eyes of comediennes, sketch artists and dancers.

Maverick Latino, in association with Western International Syndication, acquired domestic distribution rights to the home video Hot Tamales Live. The critically acclaimed comedy show will be available for the first time on home video and DVD, with a September 16, 2003 street date. Available via the web at www.thevideocompany.com

LatinoLA conducted an email interview with the talented Ms. Melendez, who will host the DVD's release party on Thursday, September 25 at the World Famous Comedy Store. Here it is!

LatinoLA: How did you come up with the idea of a comedy showcase?

Kiki: I wanted to prove that I would be a good host to the entertainment industry in Hollywood and at the same time help other people. I realized the female comics have it the worst as far as opportunities, so I focused on making a difference for all of us.

LLA: Why do you call your show "Hot Tamales"?

Kiki: When I did stand up in NYC at a club called "Stand Up NY" I was always brought up to the stage as "She's one hot tamale....." and I noticed that the audience really loved that and they laughed and gave me a warm welcome so I wanted to feel that again.

LLA: How do you choose the comedians/entertainers to participate?

Kiki: They had to be a better comic than me! I want all my girls to shine, so that is the prerequisite.

LLA: When did you know you had a hit on your hands? Were you surprised?

Kiki: The very first night that I did the show, when we were sold out a few days before, and the love of the crowd, the response of the industry...it was instant! I cried with happiness after the show.

LLA: What has been most gratifying about the response from the audience?

Kiki: The Industry has been so supportive and great. I do not feel discriminated in Hollywood, because we have really been taken into account. The best part is when one the girls performing tells me they picked up an agent, a manager and or a job from their performance on our show. That just makes me elated. The percentage is really high of the girls that get a break from our show and that makes me want to keep on going.

LLA: What is the reaction from women in the audience? Men?

Kiki: Women tell me they feel motivated to do what they always wanted to do. To make their dream come true whatever it may have been. "If you guys can do such a great show I can do anything" is a quote I get very often from female audiences. Men just love watching beautiful ethnic women doing their thing and they say that motivates them!

LLA: What was the response from NYC?

Kiki: The Copa is legendary. All the greats have performed there is like a good omen to be able to say we sold out there like all the greats. UNBELIEVABLE! Although I am a native New Yorker, I have been in LA for the past eight years and thought no one remembered me, but I was pleasantly surprised. The media was so loving, calling us: "The best Comedy Show in LA comes to NYC!"

CBS, FOX, WB, Univision, Telemundo, The Daily News, El Diario La Prensa, and more covered the event and totally supported us. The cover charge was $30.00 bucks and 1200 people paid it. My only regret is that I did not make a door deal. Yikes!

LLA: How did you decide to do the DVD?

Kiki: Doug Schwab from Maverick Entertainment saw our first show and was hooked from that point on, I sold the show to Western International Syndication and they battled it out for the deal that took a year to come true but it is here now!

9. What's next?

We are really working hard so that this video is a success and we can have a series and give more women a launching pad to showcase their talents. Also a National Tour is in the works and we're developing a TV show, with the grace of GOD.

10. What's been the most rewarding thing about originating Hot Tamales?

That I swear it is blessed by God. All ethnicity's together and so many people told me it would not work unless I pigeonholed it into Just LATIN or Just BLACK but I proved them wrong....

I work hard but the miracles that this show has created for all the girls and for me is something that only the Almighty could do.

I only believe in one religion and that is "Treat your fellow man with Love, respect and compassion, no matter the race"

Thursday, September 25th
Hot Tamales Live! Home video and DVD Release Party
The World Famous Comedy Store
8433 Sunset Blvd
$15 Per Person, 2-Drink Minimum (Free DVD with Ticket Purchase)
For Tickets, Call: 323-656-6225 / For VIP Press Passes, Call: 310-470-1041
6:00 PM Red Carpet Arrivals and Buffet Dinner Provided by Casablanca Restaurant
8:00 PM Live Show

With Your Host: Kiki Melendez
Starring: Loni Love, Marilyn Martinez, Amy Anderson, Retha Jones, Cheril Vendetti, Nadine Rajabi, Nicole Gomez Fisher
Direct From NYC: Joey Vega
Plus, From FOX's "Performing As?" a Special Performance by Conchita Leeflang
Featuring: Jorge Geronimo and The Latin Grooves Dancers

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