Veteran comedian Paul Rodriguez, who has been entertaining people all over the world for three decades, will be hitting the stage at Jackson Rancheria Casino in the Grand Oak Ballroom on May 20.
Rodriguez has been in several films including “Mission Air,” “Without Men,” “A Cinderella Story,” “The Deported,” and “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” to name a few, as well as television series and comedy specials.
In March 2015, he opened the Laugh Factory comedy club in Scottsdale, Arizona and has recently performed a one-man show which he wrote called, “Just for the Record” which is available on DVD.
Along with making guest appearances on several Late Night shows like “The Wanda Sykes Show,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” and “Politically Incorrect,” Rodriguez has also given his voice in a few animated series including “King of the Hill,” “Dora the Explorer,” and “The Proud Family.”
He was also the executive producer and starred in a knockout comedy concert called “The Original Latin Kings of Comedy.”
With a long list of comedic influences, Rodriguez explained that there were not too many Latino comedians at that start of his career that he could look up to. Due to some of the opportunities that he landed, Rodriguez was able to meet some of his comedic influences like Lucille Ball.
“I was on the Bob Hope Christmas special and in the dressing room I talked to Lucille Ball for about two hours, which I will never forget that,” said Rodriguez. “It was like watching Mount Rushmore come to life. She was everything as far as an icon. I was very lucky.”
Rodriguez spent some time as Richard Pryor’s driver and was friends with comedian Rodney Dangerfield.
“There were really no Latino comics out there that I could relate with so I kind of had to invent it,” added Rodriguez. “It is just hard when you are the first.”
With several Latin comics on the scene now like Gabriel Iglesias, the way has been paved by performers like Rodriguez years ago.
But it isn’t always about the laughs.
Honored with the Humanitarian of the Year Award by the City of Fresno for his work on water conservation, Rodriguez has continued to stay involved with the community he grew up in. He is chairman of the California Latino Water Coalition and has been instrumental in driving the California Water Bond Measure.
“I figured that is the best I can do to give back to a community that afforded my family a home,” expressed Rodriguez. “We are very grateful.
“Both my parents are gone but I hope they are proud that I took some time off and we formed a Latino water coalition and we passed this bill that nobody said we could do.”
Rodriguez just finished a film called, “Praying for Rain” that was filmed at Harris Ranch and the surrounding area. The film is about the struggles with the drought and the plight of the farmer.
Although Rodriguez has a long résumé as a comedian, actor, writer, director and producer, there is one thing that he will always go back to and that is stand-up.
“I have always had this saying, what got you there will keep you there,” said Rodriguez. “Stand-up is the reason why I do anything. I enjoy that the most; it comes more natural to me. I am too young to retire and too old to be new.”
The upcoming performance in May will be family friendly, according to Rodriguez, so feel free to bring your grandma.
“My material is not all that complicated; it is about relationships, about, you know mistakes that you have done, growing older and hopefully wiser, that sort of thing,” said Rodriguez. “I have to continue to work on my act. I get a lot of joy to come up with routines that make people laugh.
“I want everyone who is reading this to come out and support your grandpa of comedy.”
To purchase tickets to Rodriguez's May show at Jackson Rancheria, visitjacksoncasino.com/entertainment