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Comedian Jesus Trejo is a standup son

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Comedian Jesus Trejo says he spent more than two years fine-tuning material for his first hour-long standup special, “Stay at Home Son,” which debuted earlier this year on Showtime, and is now available on demand.

A native of Long Beach, California, Trejo, 33, is a veteran of “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” “Adam DeVine’s House Party” on Comedy Central, Nuvo TV’s “Stand-up and Deliver” and the TBS sitcom “Sullivan & Son.” He was voted one of Variety Magazine’s “Top 10 Comics to Watch in 2017.”

Family looms large in Trejo’s life, and that includes his time onstage. Much of the material he wrote for “Stay at Home Son” deals with family issues, incidents and observations relating to his parents, a rich source for his comedy as you will discover during the following interview.

A first-generation Mexican-American, Trejo is an only child, and has devoted much of the last few years to caring for his aging parents. Trejo’s journey of juggling standup with caregiving has been chronicled in “Care to Laugh,” a documentary from AARP Studios. The film scored the Best Feature award at the Chicago Film Festival in addition to the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival, both in 2018. It is also available on demand.

The Maine Edge: It’s kind of cosmic that your special is titled “Stay at Home Son,” when that is precisely what you ended up doing for most of this year.

Jesus Trejo: That’s right, who could have guessed? I landed on that title in August 2019, we filmed the special at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood last November and it premiered this past May. I really wish I’d put a comma in there to drive the point home.

The Maine Edge: Since you have been unable to tour or do shows the traditional way, what have you been up to?

Jesus Trejo: Just staying at home, trying to keep my parents healthy. They are active seniors, but it feels like I’m the adult sometimes. They want to go out for walks all the time which is something they never did before this pandemic. I tell them if they’re going out, to stay where I can see them.

The Maine Edge: When you and your parents were approached about shooting the documentary “Care to Laugh,” what was their reaction?

Jesus Trejo: They were a little hesitant, but they ultimately agreed and it was really cool for them to see it on the big screen. I took them to one of the screenings here in southern California where they finally saw the end result of this project that had been happening for more than a year. The cameras followed us around recording everything that was going on. We didn’t set anything up or plan anything, it all unfolded very organically.

The Maine Edge: Being an only child, how do you think your life growing up was different from that of your friends at school with siblings at home?

Jesus Trejo: I think your imagination runs wild when you’re an only child, and that has served me well, especially when I started to get into standup comedy. I think a lot of kids without siblings have very vivid imaginations and the possibilities are endless.

I don’t know if my parents were really supportive of my decision to get into standup, at least not initially. I remember one of the first times I went on the road, I toured with Pauly Shore, and I was super-excited about it. I remember telling my father we were headed to Nashville. His response was something like ‘They don’t have comedians in Nashville? Why do they need you?’ Oh man, that kind of hurt but it was also hysterical, and it kind of set the tone for the type of material I was going to write. My parents wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer, so I went to college, got a degree in business but ended up telling jokes and now my dad thinks I’m a clown (laughs).

The Maine Edge: How did they react when they saw this special “Stay at Home Son?” They must have been happy with the fact they have such a big role in it.

Jesus Trejo: It took some time to win them over but I think they’re very proud of it now. They were in the audience when we filmed it so they saw the whole thing come together. Just before it premiered, I told my Dad about it and asked if he wanted to sit down and watch it together. He said ‘Are you talking about the same recording we went to in person last November?’ I said ‘Yeah, the same one.’ He said ‘I saw it already.’

Last modified on Wednesday, 04 November 2020 07:15


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