How to enjoy two of Netflix's best Latin comedy specials
Some tips to immerse yourself in the comedy of George Lopez and Aida Rodriguez.
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Beyond the concerts and movie theaters that were missed looking back at 2020, there was also an absence of comedy. There's something about the warmth a good comedy routine provides that was missed last year, but Netflix still provided content from two Latino greats on stage.
The streaming giant has some of the biggest names in comedy within its catalog, from Dave Chappelle to Hannibal Buress, and Kevin Hart. There is also the politically incorrect humor of Jim Jefferies, who offered one of the most outrageous specials of the year in Intolerant.
Some from last year often discuss police brutality and the problems of racism in the United States, but of the four comedians mentioned, there is none who concretely explore the vicissitudes of the Latino situation often protested in other types of news and the subject of cruel jokes.
It is precisely along these lines that George Lopez launches into his special, We'll Do It for Half, discussing language, borders, new relationships, and changes in the politics surrounding immigrants.
In the process, Lopez shows he can draw humor from all the topics without being dismissive or racist, while inserting Latino visions into the narrative of family life.
Lopez is one of the best-known figures among famous Hispanics, with a long experience of introspection into Mexican-American culture, and has received numerous awards throughout his career such as the Latino Spirit Award in 2003.
From 2002 to 2007 he had his own television series that aired 120 episodes and he has participated in dozens of comedy movies such as Marmaduke, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and The Smurfs.
Another hidden Latina comedy gem is part of the six-episode mini-series, Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready. The famous actress hosts a program that presents six voices of comedy. It is a breath of fresh air to see several women of color on stage, and even more so when they reveal their intimate experiences of struggle or their queer perspectives.
Between great monologues of Tracey Ashley, Flame Montoe, and Chaunté Wayans is Aida Rodríguez.
How does a homeless woman with two children living in a car grab a microphone and hit the stage with humor? It is accomplished with consistency, but also an indomitable character.
Rodriguez's story is one that deserves to be heard and exemplifies the harshness of life for many immigrant Latinos. Previously, she was the producer of her own television series, Truth Serum, and a model and actress.
While Lopez's monologue catches stereotypes and turns them into comic archetypes, Rodriguez works in a more introspective, open-hearted line. Being aware of all the contradictions that surface in her Caribbean relatives, she tackles the racism between Latino countries with perfect sarcasm, along with the maternal insecurities, and the corporality inhabited by the colors of the skin.
From childhood anecdotes to the complications of interracial marriages, everything becomes material to talk about to oneself and one's community.
Both cases are a painting of healthy Latino humor that not only shows the ability of two schools of acting but also proves that, with talent, Latinos know how to create their own stand-up without falling into the usual slippery slopes.