In this edition of Run The Light we interview comedian Francisco Ramos.

Ari: Did you find being from Venezuela to be advantage to your comedy or did you find it made it harder?

Francisco: It has been both. Being from Venezuela has being an advantage because I am “different” or more “original” to the rest of the comics in the USA, because I am a non-mexican latino that wasn’t born here. So that’s an advantage in that is hard to find another comic that shares the same characteristics. However, it has made it harder because the industry sees me as just as a Latino/Mexican comic, so I’m pigeonholed into a category. I am not going against to what I am or where I come from, its not something I hide, but I am more than that, and sometimes the industry doesn’t see that.

Ari: Do you ever perform in Spanish?

Francisco: I have performed in Spanish. Some here in the US and in Venezuela. Is funny because even though I know Spanish, my comedy is much better in English because as we all know, comedy is about timing and delivery, and since I do most of my comedy in English, I’m used to it. The times I have performed in Spanish hasn’t been bad and a lot of the jokes have translated, but it not as tight as my English performances. I would love to perform more in Spanish, but around Los Angeles, there’s not that many shows in Spanish, which makes it difficult to get a rhythm going.

Ari: What does your family think about your career choice?

Francisco: My family, surprisingly, has been very supportive of my career choice. I say surprisingly because I never expected them to be. Both of my parents went to college and had 9-5 jobs and me and my sister were supposed to follow that path. I majored in Finance and International business, but when I decided to pursue comedy, my family was very supportive. I believe that it was mostly because I had already graduated from college, so at that point, I could have done whatever I wanted, but I was still surprised that they didn’t disown me when I told them I wasn’t following my business career.

Ari: When did you start doing stand up comedy and what made you start?

Francisco: As I mentioned before, I majored in International Business and Finance because that’s what I was “supposed to do”. All my life I was a follower and basically did what was “right” or “what my family or society” wanted me to do. The last semester of college, I started realizing that I wasn’t passionate about the career I had chosen. However, still being the follower, I got a job as soon as I graduated, and started working for an Investment firm. However, a couple of months in, I had what I called a “early-life crisis” in which I realized that if I kept doing what I was doing during that time, I was going to kill myself. So I started looking to see what I really wanted to do. Went to libraries and read self-help books, and then read my favorite book, The Alchemist, which talks about following your Personal History. After reading all this books, I realized that my passion was Comedy. It was always what I was attracted to. So I took one class of Improv. I never had taken any acting classes whatsoever in my life. But I realized that I was made for this when I felt natural doing it, and I finally found something that I wanted to keep doing over and over again. So I took Improv classes at the DC Improv for about two years, and then I decided to make the jump to Los Angeles, and discovered Stand up.

Ari: What’s do you find the hardest part of being a stand up comedian?

Francisco: I think it depends on what stage of your comedy career you are. When you are starting, I think the hardest thing is allowing to be yourself on stage and be comfortable. In my point of my career, the hardest part about being a stand up comedian is breaking into being a true headliner. As we all know, you need to have credits for major clubs to hire you. They don’t care that you’re funny and can headline, as long as you can put people in the seats. Thus, is frustrating to know that you can headline but not being able to get hired by the clubs because of the lack of credits.

Ari: Who are your biggest influences in comedy?

Francisco: My biggest influences in Comedy is a mix of Venezuelan and American comics. From Venezuela, there is two very popular comics that influenced since little, and they are Emilio Lovera and El Conde del Guacharo. Emilio was kind of like the Jim Belushi of the SNL in Venezuela. I was really influenced of all his impersonations and characters, which shaped how I do comedy. El Conde del Guacharo is actually one of the few Venezuelan comics that does actual standup. He has been doing since the 80s, and he was another big influence in my comedy because he showed me what stand up was before I even knew what it was.

For American comics, growing up I was a huge fan of Seinfeld. I have watched every episode and his stand up shows, and he influenced me in doing comedy that is relatable to everybody. Even though I talk about material, especially Venezuelan or Latin material, that people in the US might not be aware of, I always make it relatable so they can understand. Another comic that has influence me was Dave Chappelle. He influenced me with his pace, his cadences, and his overall presence on stage. His show too was a very big influenced, because my comedy is about characters and act outs, so watching him in the Chappelle show made me more attracted to that type of comedy. One last comic that has influenced me has been Sebastian Maniscalco. His biggest influence has been showing me how important point of view is in comedy. His POV is so established that anyone that sees him know what his comedy will be about.

Ari: You are a regular at the comedy store and perform at all the major clubs in LA, do you plan on doing more road work or continuing the grind in so-cal?

Francisco: I wanna do both. I love acting, and I know is good to stay in town to be available for auditions, showcases, etc. However, I also want to keep doing the road because that’s where you develop more as a comic, develop longer sets, meet and create new fans, and make money. So my plan is to balance both, as long as I can do it until there is more demand for one or the other.

Ari: You were in a Jimmy Kimmel sketch, how was it performing sketch as opposed to stand up?

Francisco: As I mentioned before, I love acting too, especially when I can do characters. Performing in Jimmy Kimmel was awesome, the crew was great, and everybody was so helpful. The main difference in my opinion between performing sketch and doing stand up is that when doing a sketch you’re playing a character, is not you. So you have to really commit to that character and be in the moment of whatever the scene is. In Stand up, even though you are performing, it is still you, so you have to be real. You have to be you on stage, the performer you. And unlike sketch, you have to pay attention to what’s going on in the room. Any kind of distraction, i.e. broken glass, drunk girls, or if you’re set is not going well, you have to address it. When acting, you can’t get out of the scene to address that the audience is not laughing.

Ari: You were in the film Rio, would you say your stand up helped you with voice overs?

Francisco: Yes, my stand up helped me book the role in RIO, and is still helping me to book other jobs. First, my stand up revolves around act outs and characters, so that makes it easier for me to come up with voices for different characters. Also, in stand up, you have to improvise, and when you’re in an audition, voice over or not, you have to be ready for anything, especially when there are instructions given. And finally, stand up just gives you more confidence in the voice overs because as all stand ups know, we have done any kind of situations or performance, so an audition doesn’t compare to the shitty gig that you had when you had to perform in front of families at noon at an outside basketball court (it really happened).

Ari: Any new projects you are working on?

Francisco: I just finished working with Jessy Terrerro, best known for working with 50 Cent, for a youtube show called #Bashtag on channel 123UnoDosTres. I also recently joined the Soccer Comics Podcast, with Ian Edwards and Jason Gillearn, which is about soccer from the comics point of view. You can hear it in the All Things Comedy network. And I’m also currently working on writing projects with fellow comics, and a spanish projects as well.

You can find Francisco At:

twitter at @FRamosComedy


But the best way to find  Francisco is “the old school way in any of the major comedy clubs in LA.”

Francisco: “Vayalo!”

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