I was working at Kentucky Fried Chicken when my math teacher said, “You’re failing in school, you’re messing up, why don’t you just try this?” I said, “Alright, let me try it,” and I started going to acting classes and I loved it. I thought, “I may not make it but I love doing it.”
At Murry Bergtraum High I wanted to be as different from my father as possible. So I acted out in school, I was very anti-authority.
Well I was about to be expelled from school, I had been arrested and a teacher said: “Why don’t you try acting, instead of distracting the class? Why don’t you use your comic talent for something more productive?” My maths teacher suggested I do comedy and I decided to have a go. I pursued it after that. I was about 17.
I would be jokesmithing. I had files with tons of disses that I would try to write as I was on the train going to school.
So many people, my friends and family, were all saying, “You’re so funny. Why don’t you become a comedian or an actor?” But it wasn’t a reality at the time, it wasn’t a road that Latin people were accepted in.
I see the new Latin artist as a pioneer, opening up doors for others to follow. And when they don’t open, we crowbar our way in.
I’d be terrified even now for a Latin kid wanting to be an actor, but back then? Forget it. They must have thought I was going to be working in restaurants and driving cabs for the rest of my life.
I’m hoping my play opens up conversations, I hope it makes people question textbooks, I hope it makes #OscarsSoWhite and #HollywoodSoWhite question things. I hope my play sparks conversation between Latin kids and Latin parents and people start doing their own due diligence as well, I think it’s everyone’s responsibility.
Latins for Republicans. It’s like roaches for Raid.
I don’t think it’s my responsibility, but I definitely try to create my own projects that are Latin-based with a Latin crew and Latin cast. I try to give all my characters Latin names whenever I can and make sure that they are of Latin heritage. But that does not work with every project.
You have the hilarity and the great production. These films are distinctive because they are not just topical, they tell good stories and they let scenes play out physically. Apart from the dialogue, the characters also have a non-verbal existence, for example with Scrat.
It’s the flip side of illegal success. This man [Pablo Escobar ] turned a small-time drug thing into a large industry. An international, successful industry. And he almost took a country, Columbia, he took it almost hostage, took over it. It was incredible.
You people go back to your damn country! You multiply like roaches!
On the way to our tenement building, it was like the modern day Tower of Babel. The many colors of Benetton were there.
My only brother… was beaten senseless with that damn antenna.
Is there a God? Yeah, but there’s not just one God. There’s a whole lot of gods, because one God couldn’t have possibly made so many mistakes all by Himself. This had to be done by committee.
Independent film is for actors that love to act.
America may not realize it yet, but Latin prototypes are being created right now, and not just by me. They are these mambo kings and salsa queens, Aztec lords and Inca princesses, every Hernandez and Fernandez, whom this country will one day come to understand and respect.
You know, I am kind of a bi-polarish schitzerphrenic. I run the gamut of being incredibly shy and withdrawn to being a crazy-eccentric exhibitionist. And I have always been like that.
When you feel the world is against you or you give up hope, you look at your heroes and say, “They were able to do it. They had hard times and a lot of opposition, but they got through it.” Then you feel, “I can do it too.