Comedia A Go-Go finds the bicultural funnybone at Galería Guadalupe
From mariachis to God, SAC students to Sam’s Burger Joint regulars, Comedia A Go-Go sends up San Antonio in What’s funny in Spanish?, now playing on West-Side turf at the Galería Guadalupe. Comedia’s five-man cast and three-man crew perform satirical comedy sketches using multimedia techniques that, in this show, give new meaning to the word “gracioso.”
|Lorenzo Garza pitches a Latino magazine concept in a sketch from What’s Funny in Spanish?, playing at Galería Guadalupe through April 8.|
In the two-hour-plus stage production, Comedia A Go-Go manages to hit every funny bone, ligament, and limb while mastering the accent of a tejano mexicano, spilling out slang words heard in the barrio, and even creating a “VH Juan” band titled “Los Mojados Guapos.” Their play on words, take on pop culture, fascination with J. Lo’s culo, and mockery of San Antonio’s fascination with the Spurs was more than fitting — it was a cool breeze for southern Texans.
Comedia is known for their often raunchy material and new audience members should be prepared to hear words, phrases, and political statements that pull at their threads. The most disturbing and overboard skits mocked handicapped gents dressed as drug dealers and disc jockeys. There are obviously no boundaries in the troupe’s comedic vocabulary. Asked where they draw the line between humorous and inappropriate, the group admitted to censoring itself as little as possible.
“Shock value makes people think in a different light,” said troupe member Larry Garza.
“The only thing we haven’t had is nudity.”
No sooner had that line escaped Garza’s mouth than the group eyed each other. A skit is born?
“A new audience makes me excited to push their boundaries,” Jess Castro added, “`Because` we do things on stage that you only whisper to someone.”
When asked how the troupe came up with material for this show, fingers pointed toward the audience.
“It’s all about the audience,” said Joel Settles. In What’s Funny in Spanish?, Settles plays the mother of a juvenile delinquent, a group therapist, a mariachi player, and a sweaty, high-strung businessman. With braids and a housecoat or a mustache and frequent gestures toward his hard-on, he is quite a catch for either sex.
“The following `of Comedia A Go-Go` tailored the show. It was the motivation for writing a new show every month,” Regan Arevelos said, days before his shining moment singing Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s “Tha Crossroads” in the current show. Although fitting in the moment, a question came to mind: Was this supposed to be What’s funny in Spanish? or in Gangsta’s Paradise?
What’s Funny in Spanish?
Through April 8
723 S. Brazos
In February 2002, when Comedia A Go-Go began their career at Café Latino, crew members admitted that the quality of the shows was mixed. What gave them confidence to continue pursuing their passion for comedy was the fun and friends they’d made along the way. They were the only comedy group producing two shows a night, with multimedia and live work tailored into one production. And they weren’t mini-productions but 90-minute shows. What’s Funny in Spanish? ran well over two hours and it was evident that the troupe could play on stage all night.
Comedia A Go-Go also does their own editing and technical work, holding the audience’s attention with flashy backdrops and virtual plane rides to Iraq. “If we want to go to space, we go,” said Arevelos, referring to the technical enhancements the group has added to this multi-dimensional performance.
Maybe the funniest part of the show is that none of the five males, all of Hispanic descent, speak Spanish. Not even Spanglish flows from their bocas; yet they are talented individuals that wear many hats. Crippled to mute, do-rag to suit, they’re rappers and poets and everything aspiring 20-something Latinos could dream of being.
With plenty of creativity and cleverness, the only thing Comedia A Go-Go lacks is editing — not of their ideas but of the length and sharpness of each skit. But if God graced their stage (surprisingly willing to share space with these foul-mouthed fellas) maybe San Antonians can clear their night for a little comedia. •