I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural version of the new comedy show Chico Libre. This Hispanic wrestling themed comedy show took place at The Basement Theatre. The cast consisted of Vinny Bucci and Kim Huapaya, who were the brainchildren of this high energy Chico Libre fun. The show was hosted by Jeremy Crawford and included Carlos Rodriguez, special guest Menuhin Hart, and headliner Dwayne Jackson. I always enjoy time spent at The Basement Theatre. JSTAR provides a great place to hone your talent. There is no pressure ‘cause he actually provides stage time and opportunities. If you have an idea or concept, he will back it. The 48 seat crowd creates an intimate platform for an honest response to a comics’ vision. The Hispanic themed Chico Libre show was a way for these comics to play in to ethnic subjects. They had a chance to push the envelope with Latin humor. This show keeps an open mind and relates on levels that cross racial stereotypes and biases. Hispanic comics always get taken for Mexican even though Kim is Peruvian and Carlos is Puerto Rican. Racy subjects can be pulled off, if delivered the right way. Intent and upbringing come through on stage. This show gave an insight to how Latin comics observe life.
The lights went dim, the music was Spanish, and off we went to ChicoLibre. Jeremy Crawford, the host, ran in with crazy energy. He explained the show concept and quickly got the diverse crowd warmed up. His ability to riff on subjects grabbed our interest to what was coming. The first comic of the night (Puerto Rican) Carlos Rodriguez exploded on the stage in a Luchelibre wrestling mask. He later told me he draws inspiration from Louis C.K. Within seconds of his coming onstage, he took off the mask. “Too Hot in there for a big guy.” Carlos is the common man and is “likeable.” The audience cannot help but relate to his wit and charm. His joke about wearing a thong to the prostate exam and leaving it on during the exam had me rolling in the aisles. Carlos claims he usually gets mistaken for security, but don’t get it twisted. This guy is clearly a comics comic!
The 2nd comic gracing the Chico Libre stage was Peruvian Kim Huapaya. She admires Joan Rivers and her stage presence proved this. To describe her brand of comedy I took wit, charm and tenacity and mixed it all up in a pot of a memory of Washington Heights in New York City. She brought the crowd through glimpses of her life. I am a big fan and love it when comics do phone call skits between their parents and them. Kim had a joke where her Peruvian mother stalks her answering machine and tricks Kim into calling her back. When Kim gets her on the phone her mother turns the tables and makes Kim out to be the obsessive one.
Mexican for the sake of this show, Vinny Bucci fell onto the stage in sunglasses, workout gloves and a leather jacket. Reminiscent of his idol Andrew Dice Clay, Bucci commands the audience’s attention! The subject matter painted a picture of desperation, nerves and a subtle compassion that drew us all in. His set made us pay attention with strict anticipation. His appearance is captivating in itself. A bald head and creepy mustache caused the audience to chuckle before Vinny opened his mouth. You have to use what you have and Bucci does just that!
I was delighted by Chico Libre’s special guest Menuhin Hart. An Atlanta transplant in New York City, Menuhin has been a closer on A Jew and a Black Guy Comedy Tours. He has been crowned The One To Watch In Up and Coming Comics! He stormed the stage with vigor in a bit about cougar ladies. His growling brought the energy up and his sound effects are enchanting. I love slap-stick comedy! Menuhin moves about the stage and brings fun. He was a rare treat and made the show gel. Look for Menuhin Hart, a.k.a. Feenaum, ‘cause he is coming!
Chico Libre’s headliner was Dwayne Jackson, a Patrice O’Neal fan! He brought the crowd to a new level from the second he approached the stage. Dwayne has been doing comedy since 2006. The material could have stood on its own, but Dwayne has amazing stage presence and a cartoonish demeanor. I got the vibe that he is always goofing around as his playful antics shadow the act. He took down two rude hecklers and brought the energy back up to a higher level. Dwayne Jackson was the perfect ending to a fantastico show! The entire cast of Chico Libre at The Basement Theatre, agreed they would like to see themselves on televison in the next five years. In the meantime, their individual goal is to develop a fanbase and be simply known as funny! Hispanic comics putting in the work is no new concept. You can find great comedy at The Basement Theatre with JSTAR. Look for the magnifico Chico Libre comedy show in your town soon.