Published on April 26th, 2012 | by simeon0
Interview with Comedian Rex Navarrete
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Rex Navarrete about his careeer and his upcoming shows, one of which will bring him to Stand Up Live in Phoenix. I have caught Rex twice prior and have always loved his unique and honest look at the Filipino culture. I want to thank Rex for taking the time to answer some questions for us.
What inspired you to go into comedy and what reaction did your family have when you told them?
I’ve always been a comedy fan since I was very young. Shows like Saturday Night Live, Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Sanford and Son were some of my favorite shows on television. I loved them more than cartoons on Saturday morning. I didn’t discover standup comedy until much later. I just knew that I loved this medium that made everyone laugh. Then I got into Eddie Murphy, that got the ball rolling.
The family never knew that I’d take this seriously. I started dabbling in it in college and took it seriously in a comedy competition in 1991 called “The Color of Funny”. There was my picture in the article on the front of the style section of the SF Chronicle. That made it real. The family was shocked and worried. They still haven’t gotten over it.
We’re curious to know what makes a comedian laugh. Any particular show, movie, or other comedians who make you laugh?
These days, I’m not watching a whole lot of comedy on TV or in the movies. I’m a big Bill Burr and Louis CK. fan. My kids make me laugh and that’s enough.
Last year you mentioned to us about making stand-up comedy grow in the P.I. What would you say is the state of comedy there, compared to a few years ago?
I’m actually doing this interview with you from Manila for a gig I have here at a casino showroom at Resorts World’s 1,400 seater. Standup is big here now. I’m glad to have paved some of the way for local Manila comics to get where they’re at. It’s all over town now. The Philippines has always had a deep and long comedy tradition. Everyone’s funny here.
What does your family think of being in your act and have any not taken kindly to a joke about them?
They are all pretty cool about it. I never put details into the work but they know which bits borrow from them. Even though I say my mother character isn’t my real mother, she thinks she is. I’m just trying to keep her off my stage. That’s one funny lady.
When you are in a writing mode, where do you draw your inspiration from and how long would you say it takes to create enough material for a show?
That’s the challenge we deal with always. I’ve written hours and hours of my own original material since 1989 and I still wonder where the next gems are coming from. It takes forever to feel at peace with a routine you think needs more work. Each one matures as I do. I just go with a premise and run with it from there. All my shows have to have a lot of the fan favorites. Just like singers, the fans wanna hear the hits and newer hits.
What would you say are the biggest differences between performing now and when you first started out?
I’m feeling more at ease with the whole process and the industry. I’m not anxious of breaking it big in the industry. I’m happy that I’ve got good work under my belt and that new fans are discovering me everyday. It’s the journey that I love now. Having a family of my own has tempered me in my later years.
Where do you get your inspiration for new material and do you test it prior to performing it with family and friends?
I never test it new stuff in front of friends or family. I’ll let it take its chances onstage.
If you were not in comedy what would you be doing?
I would have been in the Army full-time I believe. I put off enlisting to give college a try first. I hope it’s not too late to join now.
What is the hardest thing about being on the road and what do you do in your free time when you travel?
It’s tough being away from the family and having the wife take care of all the duties I love doing. I’m a homebody and being on the road gives me the time to get out there for the act. I like to check out a new city if there’s time. Otherwise, I’m at the movies.
For your upcoming show at Stand Up Live in Phoenix, what can the audience look forward to and how much new material will be included compared to your past tour?
This will be my first time in Phoenix at the Stand Up Live, so I’d say I’m gonna mix it up real nice. I’m as excited as my Arizona fans are to be in Phoenix for this one night.
As a follow up, that must be tough as some classics like Manny, Joke of Jokes, etc are expected by the audience so how do you decide which jokes to use before you go on stage each night?
Those routines make me laugh too, so I try to keep them on the list. It’s still fun when I’m having fun doing the act. The fans enjoy the work even more.
You can check out Rex and all the shows at Stand Up Live
Stand Up Live