Brown Collar Comedy
By Jasen T. Davis
Steve Trevino is a stand-up comic from Texas who infuses his blue-collar humor with a Mexican American cultural perspective. His comedy veers away from the predictable ethnic references, instead focusing on observational humor about life as a member of the working class, infused with an energy only a guy from Texas could generate.
Trevino will be performing this Friday as part of the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Festival at the California Theater of Performing Arts. His hour-long comedy will be filmed for a Showtime special, along with routines by Rita Rudner, Jay Mohr, Tommy Chong, Willie Barcena and Monique Marvez.
The comedian took time away from his touring schedule to talk about his work. The Weekly asked him if he changes his routine based on what city he’s performing in. Do the same people across the country laugh at the same jokes he delivers?
“I bring people to me,” he says. “I expect the audience to come to see me and already be familiar with my humor no matter where I am.”
“I write material about life. Whether you are black, white or Asian, you can relate.”
As a Mexican American, Trevino says he sometimes has to deal with an entertainment industry that expects his work to just be a series of jokes based on racial stereotypes.
“I’m very proud to be Mexican American, but I set out to make my material as broad as possible. George Lopez does a lot of racial humor, but we are different types of comedians.”
Trevino’s persistence has paid off, and he’s currently working on a pilot for a sitcom that will be bankrolled by legendary producers David Himelfarb and Vic Kaplan.
“We are working on a show about my life with my family, the woman I live with and the love/hate relationship a couple can have.”
He points out that since it’s about him, the show is going to have a cultural element. “I want to show a Mexican American couple in a good light.”
Trevino talks about how the network got so carried away with the racial vibe of The George Lopez Show in that they even asked that comic to have a tortilla machine on the show. It doesn’t get more one dimensional than that.
“I think George Lopez’s sitcom was great, but the networks really pigeonholed him.”
He’s looking forward to his one-hour special because it’s going to be televised for Showtime. He says he’s glad to be performing in the Inland Empire instead of L.A.
“I’m a Texas guy, and if I had my way it would be in Texas, but if it was going to be anywhere else it would be in San Bernardino.”
Trevino admits that for all its glitter and glamour, L.A. can bring an audience that might be too cynical to laugh.
“When you play in Hollywood, it’s like there’s a big attitude problem. When you perform in the Inland Empire, it’s for people who work like I do,” he says.
“I’m a story teller, I talk about my life. You have to be sincere. People can tell if you are lying.”
Showtime Laugh Out Loud Comedy Festival w/Steve Trevino and others at California Theatre of the Performing Arts, 562 W. Fourth St., San Bernardino, (909) 885-5152; www.californiatheatre.net. Aug. 25-28.