On this day in comedy on January 19, 1955, Comedian, Actor, Paul Rodriguez is born in Mazatlán, Mexico.
Rodriguez was initially going to be an attorney, but decided on comedy instead (though that’s not much of a stretch). His career took off quickly with appearances in the films D C Cab and Quicksilver. If you missed him in either, no problem – he got his own sitcom, a.k.a. Pablo; an ABC series meant to pull in the Latin viewing audience. It did for seven episodes before it was canceled. So it was back to movies (The Whoopee Boys, Miracles, Born in East L. A., Made in America, Tortilla Soup, Rat Race, and Ali), TV guest starring roles (Tall Tales and Legends, The Golden Girls, Trial & Error) and album recordings (You’re in America Now, Speak Spanish).
Rodriguez was no one trick pony. In 1988 he hosted the epitome of Americana, The Newlywed Game for a season. He hosted El Show de Paul Rodriguez for Univision from 1990 to 1993. He directed himself in the film A Million to Juan and did voiceover work for King of the Hill, Dora the Explorer and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. His second album, Cheese and Macaroni was released in 1997 and he produced and starred in The Original Latin Kings of Comedy movie in 2002. In 2009 he did the Paul Rodriguez: Comedy Rehab movie and Paul Rodriguez: Just for the Record, a comedy documentary in 2011. From 2010 to 2011 Rodriguez hosted two seasons of Mis Videos Locos as part of MTV’s Latin programming.
Paul Rodriguez’s a businessman as well as a comedian. He is part owner of the Laugh Factory in Hollywood and has farming interests in Central Valley. His activism is renowned: charity shows to benefit causes of the Latin community, his 1995 comedy special shot at San Quentin State Prison, his chairmanship of the California Latino Water Coalition.
Comedy Central ranked Rodriguez #74 on its 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Standups of All Time and he won the NCLR Bravo Awards “Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Variety or Music Series / Special” for his work on Latino Laugh Festival in 1996.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
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