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Comedian Shayla Rivera will be coming to Sacramento on Feb. 17 for a four-night run of comedy shows at the Punchline Comedy Club.
This is Rivera’s first time performing at Punchline Comedy Club. She said she has performed once in Sacramento years ago, but she is still new to the city.
“It’s fun for a comedian to go to a city for a first time,” Rivera said. “Sacramento is going to be a special treat for me. I plan to stick my head everywhere.”
A self-proclaimed history buff, Rivera said she is excited to see the different buildings and learn more about the history of Sacramento.
Rivera was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She immigrated to the United Sstates after high school and attended Texas A&M University, where she earned a degree in aerospace engineering.
“I had to shut up and listen and learn to speak the language,” Rivera said. “You learn to observe people, and you find a lot of funny things and learn why people behave this way.”
After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Rivera began working at the McDonnell-Douglas Space Systems at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for eight years. She said she switched to comedy because she wanted to be more involved and interact with people. Working in the technical field, Rivera said she noticed funny behaviors in people that she also uses in her jokes.
“I really find that every group and every single demographic has something to point at and make fun of,” she said. “Everything that I talk about is the truth. There is nothing funnier than that. I exaggerate a little, but it’s the truth.”
People who take themselves too seriously are great targets for jokes, she added. While Rivera makes many jokes related to the Latin community, she also likes to poke fun at the green movement, smart cars and vegetarians.
“This is what the world has come to: We are more about convenience than about common sense,” Rivera said. “If you look at all my jokes, everything points to that, and I poke fun at myself, things that I do that I find everyone else does.”
In addition to holding comedy shows around the country, Rivera travels to places like Iraq, Kuwait and Korea to perform shows for the military.
“A lot of people here in the U.S. have never left the U.S., so they really don’t know what it’s like elsewhere, so you don’t really get to appreciate your home like you should,” she said.
Rivera said she tries to inspire people through her comedy and also by being a motivational speaker.
Many times people believe in what their parents taught them without questioning it, through comedy and motivational speaking, Rivera said, adding that she tries to question those ideals so people can have a better understanding of what they believe in.
She has also helped many students both in high school and college by offering coaching, and she said she keeps in touch with many students even while she is on tour. Rivera has also held conferences for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and has received recognition from various communities.
Some of the awards Rivera has received include The Presidents Volunteer Service award in 2007 and Latino Speakers Bureau Award for Excellence in Motivational Speaking in 2010.
“If you can make people laugh at themselves, that’s really great,” Rivera said. “Anyone can change the world by doing what they love.”
The Punchline Comedy Club is located at 2100 Arden Way, and tickets range from $13 to $19 depending on the time of the show.
The shows are 18 and over, and require a two-drink minimum. For more information, click here.