This year, the Latino Comedy Project is celebrating their 20th anniversary by getting the band back together for a one-weekend-only performance of their latest multimedia sketch comedy show, Gentrif***ed.
"We had an opportunity to do a reunion show at Out of Bounds [Comedy Festival] last year, and the question among ourselves was, 'are we going to do a nostalgia, greatest hits show, or do we want to do something new?'" says Latino Comedy Project artistic director Adrian Villegas. "And pretty quickly we decided we needed to do kind of what we've always done, which is do material about what's happening right now. And gentrification is happening right now in Austin, and it's also something that's affecting the Latino community, so it's very relevant to us and relevant to the city."
Once the topic was picked, it was time to start writing. "We had a lot of initial writing meetings that were just us telling stories about stuff that we had experienced [and] that friends and family had experienced," says writer/performer Omar Gallaga. "And we realized really quickly that there was way more material than we'd probably even get to use. Some of those stories were very sad, but also we were laughing a lot telling those stories."
"And then... the current political climate of course added added a whole other element of humor," adds writer/performer Danu Uribe. "Because sometimes things get to such a point that you have to break the tension -- even in your own real life -- with laughing."
"We volunteered for one more tour of duty only to be drafted by the audience," says Villega. "We thought we were just going to do the show at Out of Bounds. The path that's developed since has been comepletely organic. And it's all been driven by audience response. It's like Danu said -- it's because of the climate we're in now. I feel like there's a greater demand and a greater need for the kind of work that we're doing."
Gallaga points out that while the topics in the show are serious, it's still very much a comedy show (comedy is literally the middle name of the Latino Comedy Project, after all). "This stuff still has to be really funny and has to be audience pleasing," he says. "As well as being about an important topic."
Now that the LCP is performing together again after a hiatus of several years, they're looking forward to moving on to new works after this run of Gentrif***ed.
"And this is our 20th anniversary, so we're going to add a few things in the introduction to the show that... kind of acknowledge the history of the group. Some old videos that haven't been seen in forever," says Villegas. "So they'll be able to see which of us are fatter and skinnier now. And you'll be surprised at the outcome!"