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Texas comedian Vanessa Gonzalez talks standup ahead of San Antonio’s all-Latino comedy show

Rising Latino comedians will take center stage June 6th for a night filled with comedy and entertainment at TPR's Creekside Sessions in downtown San Antonio.

Laredo native Vanessa Gonzalez is one of three comedians making an appearance at the inaugural show.

TPR's Marian Navarro spoke with Gonzalez ahead of the event. Tickets are available here.

This conversation has been edited for length, continuity, and clarity.

Marian: Tell me about how you got your start in comedy and what made you want to be a comedian.

Vanessa: I grew up in Laredo, Texas, and I feel like I was always, you know, class clown and the funny one of my friend group and stuff. So, I always knew I wanted to perform or do it, but I was always scared to or I never thought it was like a realistic possibility for me to be a comedian as my job. You know, I thought growing up in the border, I was like, 'Well, I got to get married, have kids, work for Border Patrol, I guess,' you know, like, there's not a lot of options here.

Once I got to college and started taking classes and acting and you know, movement and all the dialect and all of those thing, I was like, 'Oh yeah, I love this.'

Then I got into improv and I just loved improv, which I did a little bit in college and theater, but it was so fun and freeing. And then from improv, I did my one woman shows. I went to sketch writing again and did solo shows, and then I finally got the courage to do standup, which was the scariest one. It's still the scariest one of improv sketch.

Ever since I've started doing stand up, I've fallen in love with it. And I love that I get to use my voice, use where I'm from and my experiences to make people laugh.

Marian: Comedy seems very personal. How does your life and your experiences influence your comedy and your sets?

Vanessa: When I did my first standup set, my friend, she kind of threw me in the deep in the pool and you're like, ‘You’ve got 5 minutes, you're doing it.' And I was like, ‘I don't know what to say.’ So, she's like, ‘Talk about whatever. You're funny, you're naturally funny. Just go.’ And first thing I was like, 'Well, my mom's, you know, pretty crazy. Let me talk about her.'

So, that's what I did. And that's what I've always done, is just told stories, things that I've been through and just try to be as authentic as I can when it comes to like my relationships. I feel like the more honest and vulnerable I am on stage, the more people connect to my stories.

And you know, not knowing if I want to be a mom now or I'm not married. And kind of the expectations of a 37-year-old Mexican-American in Texas. I feel like the only way to kind of deal with those things, those are the expectations set on me, is to like talk about them on stage and then see that I'm not alone and people relate to these experiences.

Marian: What were some of the struggles or the challenges that you faced kind of as you got your start into comedy or even now? What are some of the the challenges that you've experienced throughout your career?

Vanessa: Well, I feel like comedy has always been, you know, a male dominated field, for sure. It still is. And yeah, it's still hard to, you know, get clubs to book me because they don't think that, you know, I'll sell tickets or whatnot.

But yeah, it's it's always been that way, especially as a female comedian waiting for someone to tell you, 'Okay, you're a headliner now. You can do that.' So, it's always felt like my whole career, even now I have to continuously prove myself and, and show that, you know, I've got the goods just like anybody else here, just like any guy here.

And I'm trying to, you know, as I move forward, like keep moving people up. Maybe I wasn't lifted up as much, but I feel like that's the only way you can be in comedy is like lifting other women up, other women of color, queer people. I feel like that's what we have to do because it's still very straight man dominated.

Marian: You've been a part of several comedy specials that highlight Latino comedians. For example, HBO's Entre Nos and Comedy Chingonas, a word that I can't say on air. What was it like to be part of these specials with other Latino comedians?

Vanessa: Oh, it's so it's always so amazing and so empowering. I've always felt so proud to be a part of exclusively all Latino lineups because, you know, I predominantly perform in Austin and now I'm on tour with Chelsea Handler. These are for the most part, very white crowds. And whenever I'm a part of all-Latino lineup, it's so awesome to see the Latinos show up, the Mexicans show up, you know, and that support is just not like any other.

It feels so good. So yeah, it's always great whenever I get to be a part of any type of all-Latino anything. Just like this show.

I'm really excited about it. Tori Pool, Raul Sanchez, two comics that I've always been fans of, especially in the San Antonio scene. So, I'm so, so excited to to perform with them and to see the crowd that's going to show up for us. I know it's going to be great.

Marian: And looking to our event here at TPR, what can people expect from your set at the Comedy and Conversation Creek Creekside Session on June 6th?

Vanessa: Well, I asked, a couple times, if I had to be clean and I was told I didn't have to be. So, definitely expect some some curse words. I ... it's how I, you know, express myself. I talk a lot about my my parents and my boyfriend, my experiences on the road. And yeah, just it's it's going to be a great time. I'm so, so excited. So, yes, please come get your tickets.

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