From the depths of comedic cravings, comedian Felipe Esparza is bringing his ’Bad Hambre Tour’ to Sacramento’s Crest Theatre this Saturday, September 14. In formulating his next special for Netflix, a two-part presentation in Spanish and English, the bilingual “fool” from Los Angeles will be giving audiences the first dose of his newest material.
Since entering the comedy scene in 1994, Esparza has grappled through the ups and downs of becoming a successful comic. As is common with the greatest artists in any industry, Esparza has taken his personal strifes, such as teenage fatherhood, drug addiction, and more, and turned them into an unapologetic brand of comedy.
“When I write a joke, if it makes me laugh it’s funny already, so I know it’s going to be funny on stage,” said Esparza over the phone this week. “I don’t think people are offended by anything I say, and if they do, I never know. I have no idea if they’re offended and I really don’t care. I don’t apologize for my stand-up comedy and I never will.”
For someone who claims to have been a bad person prior to the fame and relishes in the jest of bad decisions, Esparza carries great confidence as he strives for a more positive role across the comic landscape of today. Among his current triumphs, including a running special on Netflix (“They’re Not Going to Laugh at You”), a re-occurring role on NBC’s “Superstore,” and an additional project for Netflix in the works (“Gentefied”), it was 2017’s “Translate This” that seems to have been the firmest step in his rising career, thus far.
Together with his wife, Esparza got tired of missing opportunities often given to other comics. The two saved up their own money to record the special, sold it to HBO and ultimately made a decent profit with full ownership of “Translate This.” Once the contract with HBO is over, the Esparzas plan to sell it to another company, and repeat the process indefinitely.
“I learned that I cannot wait for nobody to give it to me,” said Esparza. “People are out there, they want to do standup comedy they want to do anything, they shouldn’t be waiting for somebody to give you it, you should just do it all yourself. We have more technology now than the two astronauts who went to the moon in 1969.”
It was this same mentality that pushed Esparza to create his “What’s Up Fool?” podcast four years ago, which boasts a non-thematic platform. One week may feature a stranger off the street, while the next week could feature actor Luis Guzman or fellow comic Tiffany Haddish, talking about anything and everything that life throws at us.
When thinking of all the guests over the years, Esparza recalls the story of Franky Carrillo, an ex-convict who spent 22 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. They met on the street when Carrillo told Esparza he had been voting for him during his triumphant season on “Last Comic Standing.” Despite the two decades of injustice, Esparza often looks at Carrillo as an inspiration.
“They took everything from him and he’s happier than anybody who I see walking down the street who had nothing taken from them,” said Esparza. “This guy should be bitter but he’s not, when I see him on Facebook, when I’m depressed, I just go to his page and realize that I could be that guy, you know, so just appreciate everything I have now. I take the good, the bad, I love it all. It’s life.“
For more information on everything related to Felipe Esparza, including the ‘Bad Hambre Tour,’ visit FelipesWorld.com.
Photo by Frankie Leal