Well, first things first, who is Felipe Esparza and why does he warrant an HBO comedy special? Evidently, he is the winner of 2010’s run of Last Comic Standing. Yeah, I didn’t know that either and since then he has honed his shtick and even acted some. Superstore, anyone? He even has a weekly podcast out called “What’s Up Fool?” so I guess he is doing alright and I’m the one out of the loop because I never heard of him.
Well, I’ve heard him now and he has a story to tell and he makes it funny. That is a good quality for a comedian to have. He admits in the clip I offer below that he has added a bit to create a character who is more of a loser than anything, but the rest of what you get in his routine is all him.
What a wallop of a tale you get from this guy. He is a “dreamer,” a child brought to America by his illegal immigrant family and raised to be American. His relating to us his story of crossing over and being raised as the bilingual translator of the family is humorous for sure. He also riffs on girlfriends before his now wife, who has a producer credit on this special, drug abuse and his stint of being a single parent. He shares a lot but tells you in ways that make you laugh. He patters between Spanish and English and gets reaction regardless of which one he uses. When he really gets into a good rhythm and all are loving it he even starts to laugh at the jokes himself. He is happy doing his gig, and so he should.
Now for the slight grumble. I only point this out because a key to any performance, especially stand-up, for me is the presentation. Though animated in voice Felipe’s mannerisms are kind of quirky. Chalk it up to nervousness or tics or whatever. He just shifts back and forth in one spot mostly and is constantly brushing his long locks out of his face. But, it is Felipe being himself and it doesn’t mar the content of his bit. So good for Felipe Esparza. Now I know who you are. You can also when you watch FELIPE ESPARZA: TRANSLATE THIS across HBO’s platforms.