The multicultural comedian
Meet James Camacho, the New York-based comedian who draws inspiration from his experiences as Chinese and Puerto Rican.
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James Camacho was born in Edison, a small suburb of central New Jersey, where he grew up in an only-child household with very different cultures. His father is Puerto Rican and his mother Chinese, life experiences he uses to create his stand-up comedies and connect with his audience.
“Growing up my mom was very strict in terms of she wanted me to focus on academics. She wanted me to be a straight A student. I had a lot of passions, like my first dream was to be a baseball player. And, yeah, there's a Puerto Rican side there. But she did not want me to play any sports. She just wanted me to focus on my studies,” Camacho joked in an interview with AL DÍA.
His career as a comedian began in his sophomore year of college, about seven years ago. He then moved with his family to New York, where he currently resides and works.
Camacho has also been noted for his appearances in TV shows and movies. He’s been featured on Kevin Hart’s LOL Network, “FBI” and “Kevin Can Wait” on CBS, the movie “Before I Go”, and the Jay-Z music video “I Got the Keys” with DJ Khaled.
James’ viral videos and stand-up clips on TikTok have more than 65 million views and millions more on Instagram. The New York based comedian regularly performs at NY’s “Comic Strip Live” and is currently performing across the country as he gears up for the release of his special debut.
In a time of political turmoil and social unrest, James’ perspective has a wide appeal. He has won over stand-up comedy fans through his rapid-fire punchlines underwriter a boyish charm. Many describe his style as friendly and conversational, but what few know is that Camacho identifies as an introverted comedian. But how does an introvert get to do stand-up comedy? Here our exclusive conversation with him:
How is doing stand up comedy in front of a lot of people and being an introvert? Or maybe you feel more extroverted when you're doing stand up comedy because it's your stuff?
It's funny because you would think that getting in front of a bunch of people staring at you expecting you to make them laugh would be something into an introverts nightmare. But it's actually the opposite. Because technically, it's the show you're putting on. So you have to kind of have a captive audience. And, you know, like a good comedy club if someone tackles you, they'll pull them out. So you have your ideas that are prepared, that are you know, honed, and then you're just telling them. I have more trouble in uncontrolled environments. Like if I go out, like today that I'm going to a birthday party. And obviously, I can’t prepare what I'm going to say and what's gonna happen. So that gives me a little bit more anxiety. I definitely prefer a night where I go home, and I just watch TV rather than going out for a drink or partying.
What's it like to be an only child and live with two parents with different cultural backgrounds?
I think it's a good question because I'm not a fan of being an only child. I always wished I had a sibling. I used to have dreams where I had an older brother. But I think one thing about being mixed race is that it can be a little bit lonely because you're kinda unique and different from everyone else. So I think on top of being different I was alone as in terms of being an only child so I think it was it made it even a bit more isolating.
What inspires you to dedicate yourself to comedy?
I've always been interested in the entertainment industry. Growing up, I always wanted to be on TV and be some sort of actor. So I just didn't know exactly what it was. I went through a lot of phases when I was in college. In my freshman year, I was telling everyone's like, oh, I want to be a journalist. Then it was like, oh, I want to be a screenwriter. And then it became I want to be an actor. And then I want to become a comedian. So I think the drive is really just the need for self expression and performance. I don't have this thing of Oh, I watched SNL or this comedian growing up because it inspired me. I think I just have a very huge desire to be understood. I've always been kind of quiet about what I won and my thoughts. So I think doing stand-up or performance art is a way for me to, I guess, let people learn about me and understand me a little better.
From June 24 through December 2, Camacho will be touring New Jersey, Tennessee, Florida, Connecticut, California and Washington, D.C. To purchase tickets, go to www.jamescamacho.com.