The Life of the Comedian

As part of the podcast version of our LOL show this week, you might have noticed that we featured the voices of three comedians throughout the show. We wanted take a moment and introduce you to each of the the comedians and what they told us.

Jenny Yang

Jenny Yang is a comedian and one of the founders of Disoriented, a (mostly) female Asian-American standup tour. She’s based in Los Angeles.

Tarik Davis

Tarik Davis writes and performs comedy and also teaches improv to children and adults. He’s performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York and The Second City in Chicago.

Jes Tom

Jes Tom is a standup comedian who’s performed at Caroline’s on Broadway, New York Comedy Club, Gotham, and many other venues. They’re from San Francisco but currently based in New York.

Philanthropy Group Announces New Four-Year College Scholarship for 500 DREAMers

In an effort to provide DREAMers with more opportunities to attend four-year colleges in places that do not allow in-state tuition for undocumented students, philanthropy group TheDream.US has partnered with Eastern Connecticut State University and Delaware State University to offer a new four-year scholarship to attend these two schools.

According to a media release, TheDream.US Opportunity Scholarship “will provide a pathway to higher education for 500 highly-motivated immigrant students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protective Status (TPS) who live in states where they are ‘locked out’ of access to a college education because they are required to pay out-of-state tuition or prohibited from enrolling in the state’s colleges and universities altogether.”

Eligible students have until June 9 to go online and apply. According to TheDream.US, both Eastern Connecticut State University and Delaware State University “have the capacity to admit DREAMer Scholars without depriving any Connecticut or Delaware state students of the opportunity to attend these colleges.” Funding for the scholarship will come from private donors.

The announcement of this new program earned the praise of both Connecticut governor Dannel P. Malloy (D) and Delaware governor Delaware governor Jack Markell (D).

“We’re pleased to take part in this program and do what we can to give hardworking students the chance to succeed,” Malloy said. “Our state stands to benefit from welcoming them —along with their talents and potential— to our communities and to our schools.”

“This partnership will add to Delaware State’s incredible legacy of creating new opportunities for students to get a great education and pursue their dreams,” said Delaware Governor Jack Markell. “I’m grateful to [TheDream.US co-founder] Don Graham, [Delaware State President Dr. Harry Lee Williams] and their teams for their hard work to make this program possible for the deserving scholarship recipients. These students will make Delaware State a stronger institution for everyone, and I am thrilled that we are welcoming these talented young people to Delaware.”

In addition, TheDream.US said that it will provide 100 scholarships of up to $7,250 each to in-state DREAMers attending Eastern Connecticut State University or Delaware State University.

Univision’s María Elena Salinas Booed and Heckled During Commencement Speech at Cal State Fullerton

A Monday article published by OC Weekly and written by Cal State Fullerton graduating senior Denise De La Cruz gave a firsthand account of a commencement speech by Univision news anchor María Elena Salinas, where Salinas was booed and heckled by some audience members for speaking Spanish and discussing Donald Trump. At the time of that OC Weekly story, a video of Salinas’ remarks at the university’s College of Communications ceremony was not available, although her keynote address to the entire graduating class was.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post published a video of that specific speech to the College of Communications (above) and also published Salinas’ reaction to her speech, which included shouts of “No!” when the award-winning journalist asked to speak in Spanish and “Get off the stage!” near the end of her appearance. This is what Salinas said on Tuesday: “It’s really sad. And it’s a testament to what has happened in our country. Our country is really divided.”

At an earlier point in The Washington Post video, Salinas mentioned Trump: “They blame us so much for so many things, that now they’re even blaming us, the media, for creating Donald Trump. Imagine that. Isn’t that terrible? But we didn’t, right? Who did it? I don’t know. Who did it? But they’re to blame.” During those comments, shouts and boos can be heard.

According to the Post, Salinas also said that “University leaders had encouraged her to say a few words in Spanish.” Forty percent of Cal State Fullerton’s student body is Latino.

Salinas’s Twitter profile did share praise from students who saw her speak that day during the larger keynote speech:

There was also a Twitter exchange between Salinas’ profile and a student who was at Salinas’ College of Communications speech:

That exchange led to other reactions:

Latest Aeroméxico Ad Targets Donald Trump’s Immigration Rhetoric

A new ad from Aeroméxico spends over a minute talking about borders and taking aim at Donald Trump’s campaign position that Mexico should build and pay for a wall. The ad debuted in Spanish on April 30 at Aeroméxico’s YouTube, getting over 330,000 views. On May 10, the Mexican airline posted the same Spanish-language video on its Facebook page. That posting earned an additional 334,000 views

Eventually, an English version was also posted online:

Ogilvy & Mather México is the agency credited for producing the ad. As Ad Week writes, “The copy even touches on issues of intolerance toward others’ religions or sexual orientation, decrying the fact that we wall ourselves off from others—or worse, engage in abuse and discrimination—simply because “someone didn’t want anything to do with someone next door.”

While online reaction to the ad has been mostly positive, some are making sure to remind the Internet that Aeroméxico had to apologize three years ago for a casting call announcement saying that no dark-skinned people need audition.

Sanders Answers Questions About Venezuela and Latin America in Interview with La Opinión

In a Monday interview with journalist Pilar Marrero of La Opinión, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders shared his views about the current crisis in Venezuela, saying that he although he is focusing more on domestic issues, the United States still needs pay attention to what is happening in Latin America.

Marrero, who had seven minutes with Sanders before at a campaign stop in East Los Angeles, asked the Vermont senator if he was following the recent events in Venezuela, which have once again reached crisis levels.

“Right now, my focus on this campaign… that’s a very important question, I am aware of the instability in Venezuela. My focus right now is on this country,” Sanders told Marrero, who is originally from Venezuela. “Clearly, but I will tell you, is that in general I do not believe, whether it is Venezuela or Mexico or any place else, that we have paid the kind of attention that we should to Latin America. And what we have seen in recent years is are countries like China making very significant investments in countries throughout Latin America, and that concerns me. Latin America is natural and strong ally of the United States, and I think we have got to pay a lot more attention to that continent than we have in recent years.”

Besides answering questions about American-made guns used by Mexican drug cartels and his immigration voting record, Sanders also answered Marrero’s question about the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, which expedites permanent residency for Cubans. Sanders admitted to Marrero that he couldn’t offer “a definitive answer” about his position.

“Well, I think I can’t give you a definitive answer. It’s something that I’m going to want to study. But I do believe that we need comprehensive immigration reform. When I talk about comprehensive immigration reform, it certainly means taking a look at immigration and how it applies to people not only from Latin America or Cuba or Mexico, but all over this world. And that’s an issue we’re going to want to address, but I can’t give you a definitive answer.”

Marrero posted the full seven-minute interview on her Soundcloud page.

This Web Series Spotlights How Gentrification Impacts Latinx Communities

A new web series is shining a light on how gentrification impacts Latinxs living in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles.

Gente-fied” is a dramatic comedy web series that follows seven characters as they fight to stay rooted in their quickly gentrifying neighborhood.

The series describes itself as “an explosion of fusion tacos, LGBTQ raza, micheladas, defiant murals, generational clashes and more,” and features little to no mention of guns, cartels or drugs. Okay, so there’s a little marijuana, but it’s mostly a story about Latinx people struggling to hold onto their roots in a rapidly changing community.

Read more at HuffPost Latino Voices.

Late-Night Laughs with Grace

Grace Parra is a screenwriter, actor and comic. One of the few Latinas on late-night television, Parra currently works for The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. She talks to Latino USA senior producer Daisy Rosario about how being the first member of her family born in the United States helps inform her work and how older female comedians are forging the way to new roles for women in comedy.

Featured image: Grace Parra from her Hispandering skit

The Man Behind Your Favorite Guilty Pleasure TV Shows

When you think of some of the biggest reality shows like The Surreal Life or Flavor of Love, you may not immediately think of them as “comedies.” But the hilarious love triangles, silly challenges, and juicy drama do make us laugh. Cris Abrego, the creator of some of the most popular and funniest reality shows, takes us behind the scenes of what goes into making binge-worthy television. He also tells us how he went from looking at the Hollywood sign from his backyard as a kid to becoming the co-CEO of one of the largest reality TV empires in the United States.

Featured image: Cris Abrego

Painting Out Blackface

In countries all over Latin America, using blackface is still considered acceptable in variety shows and cartoons. William García grew up watching one show with blackface called Raymond y sus amigos (Raymond and Friends) in Puerto Rico. García understands how problematic it is to portray stereotypes and racial caricatures on TV, and soon he got interested in the work of activists in Colombia who were trying to change another notable blackface character, Soldado Micolta.

The activists held rallies outside Caracol, the network that hosts Micolta’s show. Chao Racismo (Goodbye, Racism), a Colombian civil rights group, prepared to take legal action against the show. Caracol took note, and now Micolta doesn’t paint his face black on TV—although he does paint his face with other designs.

Featured image: Soldado Micolta (via Latino Rebels)