On this day in comedy on May 21, 1962, Comedian, Actor, Gilbert Esquivel was born in Parma, Idaho
Esquivel’s parents were migrant workers who kept the family traveling. Eventually, they settled down in Pacoima, California, where young Gilbert became a gangbanger. When he figured out his quality of life aspects would be low based on his lifestyle choice he decided to pull a 180 and get his positive on. He began going to church to hang out with a girl he liked and ended up accepting Jesus as his savior. Next step towards his salvation – he became a comedian. Many of his first bits revolved around his gang life experiences. Why not? It was universal. Who didn’t know a gangbanger?
Gilbert Esquivel found work easily after winning a high-profile comedy competition at the oldest comedy club in Southern California, The Ice House, his first year as a comedian. He came in during the comedy boom and took advantage of the television available. He appeared on a multitude of shows including Que Loco and BET’s Comic View (the first Latin to reach the semi-finals) as well as performing nationally in clubs, prisons and colleges. His comedy style appealed to all audiences; which was evident by his rousing reactions at the Apollo Theater and Caesar’s Palace.
Esquivel is one of the country’s leading Christian Comedians even though he doesn’t classify his comedy by that label. He views himself as a Christian doing comedy. Either way, he’s a funny role model for the nation’s youth. That’s the goal. To show kids it’s more fun to laugh and live a positive life than to cause misery and end up behind bars or under a tombstone.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
Check out this clip: