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Sacramento Comedy on the Rise: JR De Guzman

When it comes to comedy, a unique take on any given situation is vital to stand out. As an immigrant from the Philippines raised in Sacramento, comedian JR De Guzman has found his niche in the world of comedy, with an acoustic score to his prominent stand-up material. In winning the 13th Annual Standup NBC nationwide search for comedians this month, De Guzman has solidified his genuine appeal.

Since 2011, De Guzman has been performing internationally with a casual, yet captivating, showcase of multi-cultural experiences, which will be on full display this Friday at the Sacramento Comedy Spot. On the same day, his debut comedy album, “Dual Citizen,” will be released, via 800 Pound Gorilla Records.

In fact, Friday’s show will bring De Guzman’s career full circle as the Sacramento Comedy Spot was the first place he ever performed. Moreover, the show will include performances from his first stand up teacher, Keith Lowell Jensen, and one of his best friends in comedy, Diego Curiel, while local comedian, Melissa McGillicuddy, is set to host.

“I want to be surrounded by the people who supported me and give back to them,” said De Guzman. “It’s really just a way to be like, ‘Hey guys, what up, let’s do this and celebrate.’”

A celebration indeed, for a career that has taken De Guzman around the world. Most recently, his talents have nestled him down in Los Angeles to pursue a role in the film industry, as he auditions for various roles throughout the infamous “pilot season,” where many stars are born.

However, De Guzman is not looking for an easy payout. His opportunities thus far have come with reminders to stay true to the commitments he has made with himself. Most recently, that reminder came in a chance meeting with Saturday Night Live alum, Jon Lovitz, in a CVS parking lot of all places.

“It was just a magical moment because he gave me advice for like an hour and I had no plans of doing that,” said De Guzman. “I was just going over to say ‘Hi,’ but I hope more stuff like that happens where I realize, ‘Oh, these are the guys who are just working really hard and that’s why they got successful.’ I really want to meet more people on that level.”

In looking towards the future, De Guzman is set on breaking barriers, while keeping himself in check and making sure his goals and vision are aligned.

“One of the things that’s been really exciting is realizing that I can be one of those pioneers for Asian Americans in media who are representing that underrepresented voice,” said De Guzman. “I can’t let these people down. I want to make them proud.”

More specifically, he wants to create a show that has musical comedy, similar to HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords.” The difference would be that his show would include jokes from the perspective of a young immigrant from the Philippines, which takes a lighthearted and steady approach to sexual relationships, racial issues and family quips, among other topics.

De Guzman is on his way to join a class of individuals doing their part to shift the culture in this nation’s entertainment industry. Whether it may be by gender, race, sexuality or a mixture of many other factors, there is a desire to hear and see a new perspective, which he understands quite welll.

“I feel like it [is] more important now than ever to have something about an immigrant,” said De Guzman. “Because then there’s that voice, that’s not just a voice that’s saying, ‘Oh there’s these scary aliens,’ or whatever word that people use, ‘that are coming in,’ but sometimes there’s funny people out there too that you like and you’re like, ‘Oh, they’re an immigrant [and] that’s not a bad thing at all.”

JR De Guzman’s “Dual Citizen” Album Release Show at the Sacramento Comedy Spot takes place on Friday, February 24.

For more information, visit: SacComedySpot.com

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About the author

Cesar Alexander

Cesar Alexander

Cesar Alexander is assistant editor for Sacramento Press. A native to California, he enjoys writing and discovering the varieties of art, live music, nature and everyday wonders the Sacramento region has to offer.

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