Laughter in the Land of 1000 Dances

East L.A.'s Rudy Moreno hosts the annual Komics for Kids Toy Drive Comedy Show at the Commerce Casino, December 18th

By Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: December 17, 2008

Laughter in the Land of 1000 Dances

During the holidays, as the end another year approaches, we tend to start making plans for the next year, as we review what successes we've had during the past year.

To people of substance, being successful means much more than just getting what you've dreamed of‘«™it's also being able to give back and share some of that dream with others, and not crying about what you've lost, that defines the success you enjoy.

To be able to do that with a laugh, a smile, and the ability to make others laugh and smile while sharing that dream is success squared.

Every Christmas for the past 16 years, comedian Rudy Moreno and his wife Arlene have shared the dream of success in show business while making children and their parents smile and laugh, by hosting the annual Komics for Kids Toy Drive Comedy Show, a growing annual event that collects toys for needy children from the East Side of the City of Angels.

Children of East L.A. smile with happiness that they will have wonderful presents of toys for Christmas, while their parents bust a gut laughing with one of today's most talented and versatile comedians and his talented friends who make this event bigger and better every year.

Now in it's 17th year, ARLO Entertainment proudly presents the Komics for Kids Toy Drive Comedy Show at the Commerce Casino Lounge on Thursday, December 18th, featuring top comic talent the likes of GILBERT ESQUIVEL, TOMMY DAVIDSON, JAY LAMONT JEFF GARCIA, MICHAEL COLYAR, CHRISTOPHER "KID" REID, L.A.TV Channel 4's FRITZ COLEMAN, hosted by RUDY MORENO himself, and with musical guest stars THE WISEGUYS, with admission simply being a new, unwrapped toy valued at $15.00 or a $20.00 cash donation.

I had a chance to talk with Rudy recently, and between jokes and wisecracks, a very serious side of him came out.

"You know, times are tough, the economy's suffering, and some parents are hard pressed to provide toys for their kids at Christma . That really bothers me. 17 years ago, my wife Arlene and I noticed that organizations were coming on TV and radio, asking for help for needy children all over the world‘«™but none in our own back yard, and definitely none in East L.A.".

Like myself, Rudy was born and raised in Los Angeles, and the East Side holds a special place in his heart, especially his old neighborhood of Lincoln Heights..

"I've been lucky in show business, I guess, and could probably buy my kids any toy they wanted‘«™but what about that young little kid who doesn't have anything, and has to bear watching other kids with toys, and the endless toy commercials on TV this time of year? With that in mind, we came up with the Komics for Kids Show concept 17 years ago, with collecting toys for kids our priority. Our first year, we maybe drew 40 people. Last year , with the help of comic talent like George Lopez and others, we drew over 1,000 people, and were able to distribute a lot of toys. Man, when you see the brightness of a child's smile, and feel the love and the gratitude of their parents when they see their child get handed that gift of a toy‘«™well‘«™it makes it all worth it," Rudy proudly states, "It just keeps me coming back for more every year."

With names like Gilbert Esquivel, Jeff Garcia, Fritz Coleman, and others, along with music by the WISEGUYS Band, one would think that a large overhead of talent costs would make this an expensive show to put on.

"Nah‘«™," Rudy says with a giggle. "These are some top notch show business people with a heart that I'm honored to call friends. Believe it or not, where these guys could be out in places like Vegas or other venues getting paid for their great talent‘«™they get together and give up one night , and donate their time and talent for a great cause like Komics for Kids that makes so many other people happy‘«™.now THAT is the mark of a pro!".

I tend to agree. I've seen Rudy on TV, in movies, on stage, and have been honored to share a live music show stage with him, and yet, despite his success, he remains that humble but funny as hell guy from East L.A. who could call his own shots anywhere he went. What keeps him coming back to the East Side every year to do this for the kids?... I asked him.

"It's my town, my neighborhood, where my family, friends, and I grew up. It's L.A. I'll never forget that. There may be a lot of other community programs going on in other parts of town, and I applaud them, but this is our community, and I don't see anyone in particular doing anything special for the kids of East L.A. this time of the year ‘«™so ARLO Entertainment is!"

Rudy & ARLO Entertainment have also been involved in other charitable events east of the L.A. river, most recently the fundraiser for Garfield High School to help replace their gymnasium that burned down... another success story.

Ever the jokester, Rudy denied anything political about this event. " Man, this is just for the kids, and nothing or nobody else. There's enough material for jokes about politicians already, I don't need to use my event to add anything. I'll give you an example: Heck‘«™if that reporter that heaved his shoes at President Bush and another person recently had been a Chicana mother wearing chanclas‘«™she would have hit 'em both with just the first one!" he laughs.

And that's the way Rudy and I ended our conversation‘«™with a laugh and a good wish that everybody we know have a most joyous Christmas, and a reminder that the show is this Thursday.

Besides inviting me to the show, he didn't ask for anything other than a well wish of good luck that the show be a success, and many kids have a great Christmas because of it ‘«™

...the story was my idea! Go head on, Rudy !

Note: For contact info on Rudy Moreno: www.rudymoreno.com

‘«™and tell him you hear from Frankie Firme & LatinoLA !

17th Annual Komiks for Kids Comedy Show and Toy Drive
Thursday, December 18 - 7:30PM to 11:00PM
Commerce Casino | COMMERCE

About Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the "Al Capone of the microphone & the Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul" heard daily on Internet Radio.
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