Charlie Rose Meets Mad TV
Cris Franco Show wins two Emmys
With significant numbers of U.S. Americans reporting that they enjoy getting their news from non-news sources (Letterman , Leno, Jon Stewart?s ?The Daily Show?) it is no surprise that ?The Cris Franco Show,? which blends sketch-comedy with controversial Latino topics, won two Los Angeles Area Emmy nominations last week: Outstanding Informational/Public Affairs Series and Outstanding Non-News Writer for it?s writer and host, Cris Franco. The show has also received an Imagen Award nomination for its positive portrayal of Latinos.
Published on LatinoLA: September 8, 2004
A self-proclaimed ?Yupsican? (Yuppy Mexican), and openly Latino Valley boy, Franco describes the show as the world?s only Latino-themed, English-language, talk-debate-sketch comedy show.
Franco introduces each program with a ?Hispanically hilarious? send-up of ?Latino-ized? pop culture icons, such as Austin Torrez, Gomez Pyle, Dizzy Ridiculo, Hindu-Spanic Guru Deepack Chulo, Al Bondigas, multi-ethnic/pro-diversity superhero ?Affirmative Action Jackson," and Egregious Philbin, host of ?Julio Wants to be a Millioinaire!?
Adding to the mix is his insightful wit in addressing a range of topics: Conquest of the New World: ?Was Christopher Columbus a hero or ground zero for the destruction of indigenous cultures?? Ethnicity vs. economics: ?Did the Latino sleeping giant hit the snooze button?? On Latino Muslims: "For the holidays, do they sing 'Feliz Ramadan'?? On gay Latinos: Is a gay Latino a "hispanosexual"?
Covering issues and perspectives that reflect the diverse U.S. Latino experience, what follows is lively debate managed by a host with a penchant for bi-lingual barbs and biting, clever commentary.
??Straight-faced? news programs don?t work for me,? says Franco, ?they?re unable to point out the obvious ironies of our modern condition: right wing creationists supporting a war over fossil fuels -- which can?t exist if you believe the world was created in seven days!?
Regarding culture and comedy, ?I?ve heard people say that we Latinos are not funny,? says Franco. ?That?s because you laugh at what is familiar and hispanos are still somewhat alien ? no pun intended ? to mainstream America.?
?By opening each show with a humorous 'tease', we show that, as Latinos, we?re comfortable with ourselves,? said Franco. ?Comedy humanizes Latinos for mainstream America and prevents the debate from becoming a Hispanic Harangue-a-thon.?
Other ethnic groups, including Jewish and African Americans, have used humor to help tell their American story. Franco notes, for example, that African Americans have been able to convey the irony of their experience in the U.S. through humor.
?It?s like talking about the 800-pound gorilla in the room. It?s not only talking about the gorilla, it?s making fun of it.
?You don?t need to be a rocket scientist to know that humor opens doors. People are more receptive if you present something in a humorous manner.?
And humor has its place in the discussion of politics, and broadly speaking, news.
In a study by The Pew Research Center For The People & The Press published in June, 46% of U.S. Americans said they like to receive their news from sources that are funny or entertaining (48%). In addition, 55% said they liked debates between people of different points of view, and 53% liked reporters with pleasant personalities.
?Norteamericanos need to learn more about us, at the rate we?re growing, even if you?re not a Latino today, by 2010 you could be one, too!?
Cris Franco is Public Television's workingest and most lauded Latino on-air commentator with his cutting wit being featured on no less than three outlets simultaneously.
?The Cris Franco Show,? featuring Mr. Franco?s writing, acting and hosting talents, can be seen on LA36-TV, on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Cris is also a featured contributor on KCET's "California Connected,? Thursdays at 10 p.m. Cris frequently reports on issues for Public Radio International (Los Angeles, KPCC, Sundays at 10 p.m.)
?The Cris Franco Show? can be downloaded and viewed via the internet at www.crisfranco.com.
Keith Malone is an independent public relations and strategic communications consultant and native Angeleno who thinks that Cris Franco is muy fabulous.