Stand-up is What I Love Most

The Paul Rodriguez Interview

By Virtual Chicano
Published on LatinoLA: October 19, 2004

Stand-up is What I Love Most

Date: 15 October 2004

Hello and welcome, I am the webmaster for I'd like to thank you for taking the time for this interview. This interview will be un-cut and un-censored. Let's get started.

Q: Virtual Chicano: As you know, Oct. 5th marked the passing of Rodney Dangerfield. Did you ever have the opportunity to work with Mr. Dangerfield?

A: Mr. Rodriguez: Absolutely Rodney Dangerfield was one of the first comedic superstars that extended his hand in friendship. I did many projects with Rodney including his last film not yet released "Back by Midnight". I go back with Rodney all the way to 1981 when I auditioned for him for a young comedian special which I did not get. Rodney would come to the club and all of us would comedians looked up to him. I was privileged to be asked by Rodney's wife Joan to be a eulogist at his funeral along with Jim Carey, Bob Saget, Michael Bolton, Rosanne, etc. There was about seven of us who spoke. I was proud to be asked to do this. Rodney was probably the best stand-up of his era. I do not think there will ever be another Rodney. He was someone who was famous to my mom and dad to me and my kid. Imagine, he crossed all generations. Now he finally went to heaven and got some respect.

Q: Virtual Chicano: Please describe your character "Mr. Wong" in your new movie "Cloud Nine".

A, Mr. Rodriguez: Mr. Wong is a character I play. A guy living a lie. I am a Hispanic gardener who realizes that as long as he is Mexican that is all he will ever be?a gardener, but if he is Asian he can be a landscaper. Which is about 10 bucks an hour more. It is a movie that I sacrificed the most for. I lost 28 lbs in order to portray a tall slender Asian man. Burt Reynolds said that if I were fat playing an Asian guy they might think I'm Buddha. I can not wait for the release of this picture. I enjoyed playing off-beat characters

Q: Virtual Chicano: Your website, lists 28 movie appearances. Which do you enjoy more, live stand-up or making movies?

A: Mr. Rodriguez: Stand-up!! All stand-up is live. It is the viewer that has the choice of seeing you in person or on tape. Stand-up is what I love the most. Everything else i.e. movies, television, recordings, plays, and radio I do just to keep my name out there so that people will know you and will be motivated to come and see you perform stand-up comedy in person

Q: Virtual Chicano: Latin Kings of Comedy was an enormous hit. Any plans for a Latin Kings 2?

A: Mr. Rodriguez: I certainly would love to do a Latin Kings 2. Yes I think in the future. Soon as I find the next George Lopez, which will be difficult to do. I would love to do a Latin 2. I do not think that George, Cheech, or myself would be able to do a Latin 2 because it would cost too much dinero. The ticket price would hover around $200, but never say never.

Q: Virtual Chicano: Much of your guest book is signed by young ladies that would like to meet Paul Jr. I understand he's quite a skateboarder. Please describe your relationship with him.

A: Mr. Rodriguez: He is my son. I am his father. I love him. He loves me

Q: Virtual Chicano: Have you ever been back to Culiacan, MX?

A: Mr. Rodriguez: Yes, uh...not as often as I like to. Mexico unfortunately is a very dangerous place to visit. Culiacan even more so. If I do go it would probably be to take my mother to a funeral. I am afraid. Plus there really is nothing in Culiacan for me. I have no memories of it. I was born there and my parents immigrated to America. I was maybe a 1yr to 1 1/2 old.

Q: Virtual Chicano: What high school did you attend and did you play any football there?

A: Mr. Rodriguez: I played Futbol?.soccer. I was the kicker for the American style football?varsity I might add. As well. I went to four different high schools. My parents were migrant farm workers so we were always on the move. I went to Roosevelt in East LA, Dominquez High in Compton, Dana in San Pedro, and Garfield for a brief amount of time. I also went to Fresno for about three days. You don't even want to know how many elementary and junior highs I went to. Every once in awhile someone send me a picture of me and them in school. Wondering if it was me? And what happened? And where did I go? It was living the life of an American Gypsy, which prepared me to be a traveling strand-up comic.

Q: Virtual Chicano: I did not realize how star studded the Alma Awards really are. As host, what do you think could be done to create a better awareness of the ALMA Awards?

A: Mr. Rodriguez: For one thing networks should stop having the NCLR pay to get on their air. The NCLR has had to pay over 1 million dollars for an hour. I am totally pissed. None of these networks ever ask the NAACP to pay in spite of the fact that Hispanics are the largest minority ethnic group we still have not achieved equality?at least not on the air waves. What we Latinos could do is to complain and challenge the license of these networks that won't allow us access. After all the airways belong to all of us.

Q: Virtual Chicano: You've had quite a long successful career. To what do you attribute your "staying power" as opposed to those that have broken into show business, but have had shorter careers?

A: Mr. Rodriguez: I refuse to get a real job. Tenacity is my biggest asset.

Q: Virtual Chicano: What would you say to all those aspiring young comedians that would love to be the next Paul Rodriguez?

A: Mr. Rodriguez: Don't. Don't aspire to be me. That is my job. I am doing the best I can. Aspire to be you. Which will probably be way better than me. That is the way to bring respect and honor to all of us.

Q: Virtual Chicano: When you feel like relaxing and listening to something really funny, who do you listen to?

A: Mr. Rodriguez: The news. As far as comedy albums I am a fan of just about everybody who does comedy. Both in English and Spanish. For Cantinflaus to Richard Pryer from Republicans to Independents. I have a very eclectic taste. I find humor in everything from the bible to the yellow pages, but yes I do have my favorites. Cheech and Chong, Dangerfield, Robin Williams, Tres Patinas, Resortes, Moms Mabley, and on and on?..

Q: Virtual Chicano: Any idea on a release date for Cloud Nine?

A: Mr. Rodriguez: No, to my understanding it is still in post production. I am hired to do movies, after I finish a picture it is out of my hands. I have done movies that have yet to come out. I have done movies that will never come out. I have done movies that have come out before they are finished. The process of making a movie is one of the biggest mysteries of life.

Q: Mr. Rodriguez, thanks again for the interview. Please let me take this opportunity to wish you much continued success. Would you like to add any words regarding future appearances, or maybe add a comment?

A: Yes, I wish to congratulate you and to thank your readers for taking a few moments to read my comments. I believe that the work of Hispanic Entertainers will grow exponiciously. I have always seen the glass half full. The importance of Hispanics in America can not be overestimated. Our talent in all the fields of entertainment has barley been touched. Many years from know we will dominate many of theses fields because our numbers will continue to grow to the point that advertisers and network executives will be unable to exclude us as they have been able to do thus far. I hope to be an old man watching T.V. with sitcoms such as Everybody Loves Reymundo, Buffy the Vampire Puta, O.C. The other Chicano, Instead of Friends?Amigos, for soap operas: All my Ninos.. Instead of All my Children and The Guiding Luz, in movies: The Mexican starring real Mexicans, The Alien.. A movie about Canadians, Terminator 10?Hispanics have taken over the Machines, Shakespeare in Spanish, Julieta and Juan and on and on and on????????. You do not have to be Nostradomis to know that this shall come to pass.

Thanks to Morgan Wall, Rodriguez Entertainment for your kind assistance.


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