Laughing for a Good Cause

Kiki Esquivel brings it home for the Gente

By Frankie Firme
Published on LatinoLA: August 16, 2005

Laughing for a Good Cause

Summer is half way gone, and I've had a great time steppin' out, meeting good Gente, and enjoying life. Living, loving, and laughing, despite the difficulties of the World we live in today....what else can an older vato do who still hasn't hit the lotto?

Life ain't easy, that's for sure, so why not make the struggle at least bearable? If anything, I've some good laughs this summer, and sometimes that's all I need to get me by.

Speaking of laughs, nobody brings them out like the Crown Prince of Chicano Comedy, mi camarada Gilbert "Kiki" Esquivel.

Although Kiki is one of the more popular and in demand Chicano comedians touring the Country today, he always comes home to Califas for a good cause, and a break.

This summer, between a grueling schedule that had him going from Hawaii to Las Vegas and back, I was able to catch 2 of his recent Southern Californa shows that were for good causes.

Recently, Kiki and Company put on a benefit show for the Drama Department of Charter Oak High School in the San gabriel Valley that included musical group the Blazers, and comedian "Reverend" Monty B. Sharpton (who claims to be Al Sharpton's 5th cousin, on his momma's side). The show was hosted by former "Thee Mr. Duran Show" co~host "East L.A. Rey" Garza, and helped raise money for the Drama Department's invited trip to Europe, a recently coveted award.

Returning from a Las Vegas engagement just hours earlier, Gilbert was in fine form with his trademark "Ghetto humor" routine that had sides splitting in the aisles. Later on, he donated part of the proceeds from his CD sales to the cause. "The crowd was enthusiastic, but not that big. I couldn't just walk away without giving something back. I mean these kids in a high school drama department were good enough to be invited to Europe!" Gilbert told me after his performance.

The following week, I caught his benefit show at the Lakewood Hop, at the invitation of Steve Caudillo, where Kiki and a fine crew of comedians helped raise scholarship funds for the Paul Griego Jr. Foundation, aka C.H.A., helping at risk youth in Long Beach, California.

"Paul Griego Jr. was a young Chicano killed in senseless street violence", Kiki told me. "He was just on his way to buy a car. He wasn't a gang member, and he wasn't doing anything wrong but looking to buy a car, when he was gunned down for no reason. After his death, his mother started the foundation in his memory to help at risk youth in the city of Long Beach." The show included comedians Charley Sanchez, Dennis Gaxiola, and "Jammin'" Jay Lamont, and was a sold out, standing room only event.

An L.A. street "Veterano" himself, Gilbert knows well the pain and heartache associated with street violence. His humor is based in part on his street experiences, and has helped bridge racial gaps in a way nobody else does. "It's senseless, man. Young people don't need to be dying for no reason. It's organizations like C.H.A. that make a difference, and if I can help bring attention to their cause...and it helps young know I'll be there, as will my friends", Kiki told an enthusiastic crowd during the show. The response was more than was love!

That's one thing that sets Gilbert "Kiki" Esquivel apart from a lot of other comedians, besides his unique gift and talent of making people look into themselves and laugh their pain away....homie got heart!

Go head on, Kiki! Si se puede, Carnal!

(...Vato makes me laugh every time!)

note: For information on Gilbert Esquivel's upcoming performances, go to:

About Frankie Firme:
Frankie Firme spins the finest Chicano Oldies and Latin Soul music on the World Wide Web.

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