More likely than not, you’ve seen Rick Najera and laughed at his comedy. He is one of the most well known Latino comedy writers in Hollywood who has worked on TV show like MADtv — to some of the writing he does every year at the CBS Diversity Program. You have seen him in films or seen films he has written like Nothing Like the Holidays. He has created his own franchise with his award-winning comedy sketch show Latinologues where he has given many talented actors a chance to shine. You might have also read his insightful articles on Latino Holywood (here on Latin Heat and elsewhere) – he does have a serious side to him.
In March of this year Najera suffered an accident and was in ICU for two weeks. As Latino Hollywood held its breath, Najera received an outpouring of support (who says Latinos don’t get along?), his wife Susie and all his family. As he says in the following open letter, he got a “second chance”. He also got material for a new comedy show Rick Najera and the ICU (Purchase tickets here).
Oh Yes, Rick is back.
An open letter to all my friends and family:
Thank you for your support. I have received too many phone calls and emails and get-well cards to even count. I found a huge community of love from my seven years at CBS with the Diversity Program and my many years performing Latinologues around nation. The love was astounding. The biggest question, of course, was how did I end up in the Intensive Care Unit on life support with a massive head trauma when just moments earlier I was fine? The short answer is I had a perfect storm of high fever and undiagnosed pneumonia that caused me to collapse. I was home alone. Susie and the kids were out of town. The pneumonia took its toll and I collapsed – striking my head on the table with the full force of my weight. I nearly bled to death, luckily Susie found me in time.
I spent two weeks in ICU with head trauma. I spent two weeks unconscious and when I came two I saw the huge out pouring of love for me, which has left me humbled.
From the moment I came to there were friends at my side that I had not seen in a while, like Jacob Vargas and his wife Sylvia, as well as others who have always been there with me, like my beautiful wife Susie. I had no idea what had happened to me. I spent two weeks in the ICU at the Northridge Intensive Care Unit. Friends like Rafael Agustin stayed at my side even while I was unconscious, and updated me of the love from our community when I came to.
I went back to work right away. I spoke at the World Bank in Washington DC a week after I left the hospital and I worked on the Ray Williams Johnson’s world-wide web sensation show “=3” days after getting back from DC.
I know that none of this would’ve been possible without friends and people who believe in me – and your prayers.
I came into the ER at a 3 on the Glasgow coma scale (somehow people in Glasgow rate comas!) and almost died I know people have been worried but rest assured that I’m well and fully healed. I have been given a second chance at life. Although I have a huge scar that now gives me” street cred”. I’ve been asked time and time again what I plan to do with my second chance. The answer is easy: I plan to love and appreciate my friends and family more. I plan to continue to be funny. Laughter heals. It healed me. I want to thank my community for the support.
My comic friends wanted to throw a fun-raiser and welcome-back party for me at The Montalbán Theater on Friday, May 18th. It will star Latino comedy staples like Rudy Moreno (Showtime), Johnny Sanchez,( Mad TV) Carlos Alazraqui ( Reno 911) and Jill-Michele Melean.(Mad TV) Latinologues cast members Rafael Agustin will introduce the night along with telenovela star Fernando Carrillo. It’s going to be a comic celebration! But more importantly, it’s going to be a place where I can personally thank you all. What this medical drama has taught me more than ever is that we are a community in Hollywood… I saw it for myself.
You can get tickets on TIX.Com under Rick Najera and the ICU or you can purchase them at the door. I hope you can make it. It’s going to be a great night of comedy. I look forward to thanking you all personally for my recovery.I hope to see you all on May 18th so we can all laugh together once again.
Please feel free to pass this email to others in our community.