Six Years of Dedication
TV's Thee Mr. Duran Show celebrates its six-year anniversary
?Watcha, mi gente!
Published on LatinoLA: November 16, 2006
Here we are, halfway into November. This year sure flew by fast. With Turkey Day around the corner, I sure have a lot to be thankful for. This last weekend, we had the honor of MC'ing a show at the Lakewood Hop with a lot of legends that performed, celebrating the life of Huggie Boy. Tony Valdez and I had the privilege of being the MCs for this event. I would like to thank Max Uballez, Ruben Molina and Robert Beto Zapata for putting this beautiful event together. That same night, we later flew out to Original Mike's in Santa Ana, CA to MC for Orange County favorites, Barela with members of Tower of Power. It was a fundraiser for Francis Rocco Prestia, bass player for Tower of Power. This event was a huge success. I want to thank everybody for showing up at both events. Your contributions made a world of a difference.
November 1st was my 6-year anniversary for "Thee Mr. Duran Show." Wow, I am just blown away that we're still here, alive and kicking; the show is doing very well for itself. We started out at the East L.A. studio on Eastern and Floral, now we're in the studio out in Hacienda Heights, CA. I'll never forget my roots. I want to thank everybody that I've worked from the show's beginning to where we're at today. Truthfully, there's been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears involved. It has been a lot of hard work and sacrifice. The show operates on volunteer labor and no pay. The pay we get is the satisfaction we get when the show is wrapped up, and seeing the talent going home with a copy of the show. For some of us, this is as far as it gets for being on TV. Mi gente, I pray to God that I have the energy to continue another year and be able to help our local talent. Our goals for next year are to bring more talented artists, and also some well-known names, to the show. A balance like that keeps originality and inspiration for our upcoming talented groups.
People ask me, "Why do you do a show for no pay?" If we were getting paid for it, you would not get the flavor and humor that you see this short, pudgy man go into his character. To get the Latino message across to every living room, without having somebody control what I say, is worth more than money. I strongly live and breath this. To be able to promote different events going on in different communities, my God, what a blessed man I am.
What a feeling it is to bring recognizable faces that you normally won't see on the Jay Leno and Oprah shows, that I've been able to have on my show, like Mia St. John, Tony Plana, Thee Midniters, Tierra, Charles Wright, Rudy Moreno, Danny Trejo, Art Laboe, Huggy Boy, Brenton Wood, Tony Valdez, Redbone, and many more. In the past six years, I've had the honor of having George Lopez as a studio guest before his sitcom went on the air, and also going to ABC to interview him after becoming world famous.
I've been fortunate on going on location to interview Culture Clash, Edward James Olmos, Ozomatli, War, Malo, Cheech Marin, Lupe Ontiveros, Pete Escovedo, Oscar De La Hoya, Fernando Vargas, Julio Cesar Chavez, Marco Antonio Barerra, Don King, Los Lobos, and Jimmy Smits. On the day of the 2001 Grammys, I even hungout with SmashMouth in the green room. I've hung out with George Lopez in his dressing room at the Gibson Amphitheater, in the same as Samuel L. Jackson, Cheech Marin, Laurence Fishburn, Sandra Bullock and Big Boy. I've even had the opportunity to film interviews with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. I've had limousine rides with Constance Marie and Fernando Vargas. In 2001, I moderated a community Q&A session with Antonio Villaraigosa during his first run for mayor. We've even had actress Sean Young be in our studio audience for a show. When my show was bicycled to Santa Monica, I was even called in by VH1 executives to audition for a show (imagine Mr. Duran imitating Eminem! Yes, they actually had me do that.)
In February of this year, the L.A. Times did a feature story on my show, with a huge color picture on the cover of their California section. A month later, Channel 13 came down and filmed a segment on Thee Mr. Duran Show that aired in May. In September of 2006, we were also one of the Top 3 finalists for a Western Access Video Excellence Award. To be recognized, by a panel of public television experts, as one of the three best public access entertainment programs in the entire western half of the United States is an honor I never would've imagined six years ago. And finally, on November 3rd of this year, at the Garfield Alumni Foundation's 5th Quarter Fundraiser, I was surprised with an award from Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, on behalf of the United States House of Representatives, for six years of community service in the television field.
Wow, what a dream come true for a 52 year-old gordito chulo man. These experiences have been my pay.
Mi gente, please don't take this as a man that is bragging. I just wanted to share my accomplishments of the last six years with you. This is a man that's worked very hard for all races, all people, in all communities. It is my dream to bring this show to even more communities. In 2003, we used to air from Hacienda Heights, to East L.A., to Santa Monica, to the San Fernando Valley. My health sidetracked my ability to continue shipping the show out that far, but guess what's on the plate for next year. As long as public access continues, and no wrenches are thrown at us, we'll be storming into new neighborhoods in the coming months.
Mi gente, Happy Thanksgiving; spend it with your friends and relatives. Keep praying for our men and women out there, serving our country in the war. God bless our veterans that have served our country. As the holidays approach, please don't hestitate to dig into your pockets and give to the less fortunate. And please, if you must drink, I beg of you, don't drive. If Mr. Duran has ever asked you for anything, it's finding a designated driver.
?Hasta la otra, mi gente! If you see a little gordito out on the street, with a salt and pepper beard, don't just stare at him. Come up to him and poke him in the stomach. And if that man isn't Mr. Duran, run like hell!
P.S.: Let's give a big thanks to everybody else that is producing and volunteering on a public access television show. Without these people, believe me, it cannot be done.
Richard Duran hosts "Thee Mr. Duran Show", which can be watched online every Wednesday at 8pm at www.mrduran.com and www.kcat.tv