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When life is bleak and times are tough, there’s often no choice but to look for an escape through whatever means are available. For Felipe Esparza, who immigrated from Mexico as a child and grew up poor in a crime-ridden neighborhood of east LA, that escape came in the form of watching the likes of Richard Pryor and George Carlin tell jokes and fantasizing of one day following in their footsteps. After many years and no small number of barriers to overcome, that fantasy became reality: Esparza eventually won NBC’s Last Comic Standing competition and has gone on to appear in television shows such as Superstore and The Eric Andre Show, as well as launch his own podcast What’s Up Fool. All the while, he has managed to stay positive by keeping in mind how far he’s come and drowning out the darkness of the world with a soundtrack to his life that includes the beautifully eclectic, multilingual Latin stylings of Manu Chao’s 2001international hit record Proxima Estacion: Esperanza.
00:45 – Intro
09:30 – Smoking weed in a Volvo, listening to Manu Chao
12:00 – Local access cable star
19:15 – Wanting to be the comedian that gang members respect
27:00 – Apologies and regrets
30:15 – Witnessing a stabbing at 9 years old
37:30 – “Don’t question why the dinosaurs are here!”
45:30 – America is easier to sneak into than Mexico
51:00 – Keeping the romance alive with baking and murder
54:00 – Allentown, PA loves Felipe
56:45 – Dreams of writing books and visiting Italy
01:01:45 – All of Felipe’s past relationships failed
01:11:00 – Just shut the fuck up and chill
01:14:45 – Felipe has exclusively dated women without fathers
01:18:00 – Binging on coke is the only way to do coke
01:23:45 – Life goes by faster than the best summer vacation
01:27:45 – Signing a child support check for $140,000
01:30:30 – Life lessons from turtles
01:34:30 – Everyone is lazy
01:37:00 – Facts!
01:39:15 – The craziest tour Felipe’s ever been on
01:40:30 – Please buy merch!
01:41:45 – Outro
01:44:30 – ‘Oshe Gan Gan’ by Victizzle
The 500 is a production of Native Creative Podcasts.
For show notes, guest playlists, complimentary documentaries, and audiobooks about the music go to The500Podcast.com.