By Jonathan McNamara
In his teen years, celebrated director George Lucas wanted to be a drag racer when he grew up. Fate had other plans however, as the young Lucas found himself in a terrible car crash shortly after his high school graduation that made him think twice about his career choice.
Sometimes the universe gently pushes you in the right direction; other times it uses a sledge hammer.
Local comedian Anthony Padilla knows this only too well. He moved to Phoenix from Albuquerque during the baseball off season to pursue his dream of becoming a pro ball player. By the time try-outs rolled back around, Padilla was dealing with a shoulder injury that would take over two years of rehabilitation to get over.
Padilla found the silver lining of his debilitating setback when he got into writing. He started with a monthly sports column called In the Zone published in Grand Season magazine. Eventually, writing would lead to thoughts of acting and finally writing comedy as a way to bridge his two interests.
In an industry where many get their start before they are legally allowed to tip their wait staff, Padilla jumped in just before turning 28 years old.
“For me, not starting until I was almost 28 actually, I’ve already seen life a little bit and I feel like I can handle situations a little differently. I feel like I learn things a little bit quicker,” he said.
At 30, there is no sign of apprehension from Padilla as he performs his routine. He bounces from topics including the dating scene in Arizona to how people who eat out neglect their children.
Off stage, Padilla often works with comedian Steve “The Short Bus” Krauss to book open mics and other shows around the Valley.
Last year, both comedians were headed to the California Comedy Festival in L.A. and decided to car pool without really knowing each other very well.
“When you’re going for a week somewhere, especially with another comedian that you have no knowledge of as a person, you’re going go on that trip and either become really good friends or never again will you talk to each other,” he said.
Now Padilla and Krauss are hitting the comedy scene in the Valley several times a week.
“He and I have that same driven goal to make comedy a career,” Padilla said.
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For more on Anthony Padilla check out his myspace page.