Friday, May 15, 2015

Cristela Alonzo's "Some of the Hits"




Hear that? That’s me inhaling a much-needed breath of fresh air followed by a contented sigh of relief courtesy of Cristela Alonzo’s CD “Some of the Hits.”

So many times comedians of an ethnicity other than white or black tend to use their heritage as a crutch, presenting us with an act filled with either hackneyed impressions of screaming relatives  for 50 minutes (I’m looking at you, Margaret Cho and Dat Phan) or delving so deeply into their own experience that they alienate any listener who doesn’t speak the same language (Hi, George Lopez. And the 43% of your act that flies over the heads of anyone who isn’t fluent in Spanish)

“Some of the Hits” lands right where it should. Yes, Alonzo is a Mexican-American who grew up in Texas but that doesn’t define who she is as a person - or as a comedian - and your name doesn’t have to end in a vowel to enjoy every moment of the experience. Rather than focus on her Latina roots, Alonzo has instead opted to focus on being a funny storyteller first and foremost. 

I know. Go figure, right?

It seems like such an obvious path, especially for someone working as a comedian, but for some reason so many other comics who have come before Alonzo seem to have taken their eye off the prize. With her debut project, Alonzo shows just how it should be done with anecdotes and humor relatable to anyone within earshot.

Metaphors are strong weapons in Alonzo’s comedy arsenal and the pictures she paints perfectly encapsulate the feelings she’s trying to get across. She explains why checking out of a hotel can sometimes make her feel like The Bachelor and her comparison of dating a guy who doesn’t have his life together to being a fan of a bad sports team hits the target dead-center.

Alonzo’s experiences aren’t unlike anyone else’s and her observations let everyone in on the joke. When she explains how expiration dates on milk reflect your financial situation, everyone knew exactly what she was talking about and I had to give my wife a side-eye glance when Alonzo shared how women love to brag about how much they didn’t spend on clothes. 

Particularly fun are Alonzo’s ruminations on why you shouldn’t get high if your life sucks (but you should get drunk), who really answers the phone when you call the referral numbers on her résumé, why the day after Halloween is the real holiday, and what would happen if the Taken movies happened in real-life and we had to depend on our actual fathers to come to our rescue.

From relationships to trying to stay in shape to the true meaning behind nicknames, Alonzo covers it all from her fun, unique perspective with a smile in her voice. She’s having fun and as a result, we are too. 

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