I think that’s what is happening with this new generation. I think we have our own niche. We all know that we are Latinos but we don’t feel the need to push it.
Last Comic Standing is back after a four-year hiatus on NBC. This time Texas born comedian Nick Guerra made it through the first round and is currently competing for the show’s Comic Comeback spot in which fans can vote week by week. Guerra kindly took some time to talk to us about his childhood, his views on the new Latino generation, and his many observations about women and comedy.
A well rounded entertainer Guerra’s television credits include writer, assistant director, actor, and story producer for the Mun2 reality show Pitbull’s La Esquina (2nd season), he performed on Comedy Central’s Gabriel Iglesias Stand Up Revolution (2nd season) and Nuvo TV’s Stand Up & Deliver (2nd season).
Latin Heat Magazine (LHM): How did you develop your comedic style?
Guerra: First off, my comedy is American sarcasm. That style of sarcasm or mockery comes from my mother. For example when I was little and me or my siblings would pout and try to throw a tantrum, she would mock cry and say things like “Boo hoo…nobody loves me…everybody hates me”. So when our friends would pout and complain about their problems we would do the same. My mother had no clue that she had that influence. We absorbed what our parents did and then they threw us out into the world where we have to deal with people that were raised by however their parents raised them.
LHM: How do you think film and TV in the 1980’s and 1990’s influenced your comedy?
Guerra: I think I’m a product of the sitcom generation and films of the 1980’s and 1990’s. Kids that grew up during that time are part of the SNL generation because SNL started in 1975. The influence brought movies like Three Amigos, Stripes, and so many others. Actors like Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Martin Short became the hip actors and comedians to our parents. Then our parents gave them to us. They passed on that comedy through what was the boom of the VHS era when people no longer only watched a movie once, but they watched it over and over and even memorized it. I also loved Roseanne, In Living Color, and John Leguizamo’s House of Buggin’ when I was a kid.
LHM: After watching and discovering comedians in film and TV, who did you connect with the most?
Guerra: John Leguizamo’s special Freak was the one that I connected to the most. You kind of watch stand up before and see many comedy specials, but Leguizamo was the one. Then someone got me tickets to see him on stage and that was great. I got to meet him briefly sometime ago, but I didn’t get to tell him that. Truly I didn’t want to turn into a fan boy there and then. It’s difficult to approach your comedy icon and say something like, “it’s because of you”, because then you realize that you yourself don’t know what to say when people approach you and say things like that. But of all the beginnings it started with him. Leguizamo was probably the kickoff for me.
LHM: How was the journey to getting on Gabriel Iglesias’ Stand Up Revolution?
Guerra: I wrote a blog about it on my website, it’s called 25 Steps To Getting On Comedy Central. It outlines how I made it to Gabriel Iglesias’ Stand Up Revolution on Comedy Central. It was through the process of meeting comics and making friends through the course of many years. Eventually I met Rick Gutierrez and then Alfred Robles and then I met other people that were close and around Gabriel Iglesias. It took all of these little dots before I got to the Gabriel camp. Everybody was telling him that I was funny. So I didn’t get the immediate connection, I got the surrounding connections and eventually it happened.
LHM: How would you describe being part of this new Latino generation in Hollywood?
Guerra: I think our generation is what our grandparents and great grandparents moved here for. This is exactly what they wanted us to be. They wanted us to speak great English, to mix in well, to continue on and strive. I think that’s what is happening with this new generation. I think we have our own niche. We all know that we are Latinos but we don’t feel the need to push it. We want people to treat us as individuals. We don’t want our ethnicity to be the thing, for example we don’t want people to say she’s a great writer for a Latino. In entertainment so many times they will put that on us. Until Last Comic Standing when my clip went out about me being from McAllen, TX, I then shared that clip on my Facebook page, and some people asked “Your Mexican?”. For me it was perfect because it meant that they were fans first, that fact didn’t hinder them. You will also see that my stand up routine includes topics and observations that are relatable to everyone.
LHM: What do you do for fun here in Los Angeles?
Guerra: I go eat. I go find out all the late diners and I go to Koreatown to get late night ramen. I also read. I go to comedy clubs, sometimes I stop at three just to be around it. I try to remind myself to take a night off, but in the end I love being around comedy.
LHM: What do you watch on TV?
Guerra: I have Netflix – I mainly watch documentaries. I’m a very analytical guy. I watch industry and business documentaries, and a lot of North Korean documentaries – I don’t know why but they are interesting. I love hanging out with comics because that is all we do, we sit around analyzing things we watch or read about.
LHM: Tell us more about the nightclub bit in your show, how did you come up with that material?
Guerra: My material comes from the fact that I’m an analyzer. I used to love doing puzzles and women are the ultimate puzzle for men. I figured out that by watching them I could learn a lot. I also saw these interactions first hand at clubs. For example the club bit about the Alpha girl, well this is from when me and my friends were dancing with her friends and suddenly the Alpha girl walked up to us and just waved us off. She never knew she became my joke, at that point I realized, “they travel in packs”. I’m very observant and I love women so I’m going to study them.
LHM: What else have you learned from studying women?
Guerra: As a young man the key is to go get some life experience and that is what will be attractive to women. When women get frustrated with men it’s mainly because they themselves are trying to get this life experience. Everyone is trying to figure it all out and it’s all scatter brain for both men and women. There’s a point later in life when both genders may have figured out their careers and passions. Then their love and everything else just straightens out – at least enough. In the end all we want is to be around somebody that has stories – someone that isn’t boring. The truth is some people figure it out early, some never figure it out.
LHM: Have you thought of adding these observations into your stand up routine?
Guerra: I want people to know I’m a fun guy. Then after that we can get serious. Most great comedians have done that – for example George Carlin with his book Last Words – he talks about starting a bit in 1982 which he didn’t release until 2004. It just had to wait that long, sometimes it’s just like that. You have to wait for the right time. For everything to gather and for everything to be. It’s a matter of time.
Nick Guerra started his career in Dallas, TX in 2005. He moved to California in 2009. You can stay connected to Nick Guerra by following him on Facebook and Twitter @nickcomic. His website is www.nickguerra.com. Be sure to vote for Nick Guerra for the Comic Comeback on Last Comic Standing http://www.nbc.com/last-comic-standing/exclusives/comic-comeback . Also check out Nick Guerra on July 1st at the Ontario Improv and on July 2nd, 2014 at the Icehouse in Pasadena, CA.