Although younger, nastier and a hell of a lot more bombastical, actor and comedian John Leguizamo may be shaping up to be the Latin Bill Cosby. In his recent Warfield performance of "Live!" the one-man show had the crowd laughing non-stop as he made a deliberate arch from his rough childhood under the tyranny of his abusive father to his new place as a father himself. While Leguizamo doesnŐt curb his edge as much as Cosby he left the Warfield crowd in the same warm gush of family sentimentality. No one was complaining, however and it seems that Leguizamo has another hit on his hands once this show reaches Broadway. He consented to an interview via email.
Could you describe your new show in a nutshell?
It's a much rawer, nastier and more mature work. I have topped myself and really show an evolution in my writing. It's about relationships and how sick I was in them and finally got cured enough to have children and pass my madness onto them.
Do you hope to appeal to a broader audience with your new show?
I just hope to do the best I can. It will appeal to who it will appeal. I write a show to make me laugh and to move me, and the rest is up to fate.
What film projects do you have up and coming?
I have a cameo in Collateral Damage. King of the Jungle with Rosie Perez, Marisa Tomei, and Michael Rappaport comes out this fall from Sony. It's the story of mentally challenged guy who wants to escape his mom to find his father who rejected him. I am also in an HBO movie with Ray Liotta called Point of Origin.
What do you have to offer that no other comedian / monologue artist does? Well, every artist is different anyhow. I offer always crazy jokes and angst in one evening. SO I want to rock your world not just make you laugh your ass off. I want you to feel me too. And I do scenes like nobody's business and characters baby that's my special gift. Now I'm pimping myself.
Will there ever be a successful Latin American sitcom? Would you want to be a part of it?
Well, I'm doing a CBS TV series coming out in 2002 -- so this puppy better uplift and change the world . . . or forget it.
Do you think you represent the Latin American community or do you still feel like an outsider?
I think from the size of Latins in the house and the size of the houses that I'm definitely touching something, and representing for them. 3,000 and 4,000 seat venues with multiple nights don't lie.
The number of Hispanics in California is rising at a rapid rate but a Proportionate number of Latin politicians has not yet caught up. Do you see Hispanics becoming a major political force in California in the near future?
Oh, yeah, Latins in politix, in sports, in science and not just entertainment will rise. We know how to work the system and now with the numbers we will get the opportunities that were once closed to us just because we were Latin. Now being Latin is the thing and don't you forget that.
Do you consider yourself a role model?
Not a role model but a pioneer. I definitely helped establish Latin humor in America. I'm the godfather of Latin comedy baby if I do pat myself on my own back.
As an actor, what types of characters do you play best? What types of roles do you hope to get in the future?
I dig roles that are edgy and good talkers but complex and have a lot of issues but still have show some vulnerability.