For the past few years, we've been told that Latino standup comedy was booming, and this would seem to be supported by the entertainment options this New Year's Eve. Two venues are featuring major Latino comics as headliners.
George Lopez, who has appeared everywhere from The Tonight Show to The Arsenio Hall Show to The Martin Short Show, and who has opened for performers ranging from Vicki Carr to (eek!) Michael Bolton, rings in the New Year on Sunday, December 31 (it would be odd, I suppose, if he rang in the New Year on any other night), at the Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets, available from Ticketmaster, are $39.50 and $47.50; call 480-784-4444.
It's a busy time for Lopez, who has recently acted in such upcoming films as Bread and Roses -- the American debut of rabble-rousing Brit filmmaker Ken Loach -- and the Showtime miniseries Fidel, about you-know-who. Lopez has also added radio to his list of projects; he's heard weekdays from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. on KCMG in Los Angeles.
The show is slated to kick off at 8 p.m. with a performance by another Latino talent, Carlos Mencia, touring in support of Take a Joke America, his debut album on Warner Bros./Parallel Records. This up-and-comer shared the bill with Lopez (and Paul Rodriguez) in last year's "Yo Quiero Comedy Jam."
Meanwhile, across town, Tucson native Pablo Francisco is performing on New Year's Eve at the Improv. The ace mimic and veteran of MAD-TV who has appeared on Showtime's Full Frontal Comedy and Latino Fest, Fox's Comedy Compadres, Comedy Central's Short Attention Span Theater and the Jerry Lewis Telethon, and whose vocal talents have been heard on the animated series The Family Guy, plays two shows: 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Sunday, December 31, at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, 930 East University (at Cornerstone mall). For reservations call 480-921-9735.
Sharing the bill with Francisco is local favorite Mark Cordes. He's not Latino, as far as I know, but like Lopez, Mencia and Francisco, he's very funny.