SportsChump Whirlwind Comedy Tour, Part Four: Marcello Hernandez

Date: Friday, December 29, 2023

Time: 7:30 pm                                  

Venue: Funny Bone (formerly the Improv), Ybor City, Florida

The final stop (or so we thought) on our comedy tour included a special surprise: a new face, at a club with a new name, yet an old haunt and an old soul.

As our chance to see Nate Bargatze came and went due to circumstances outside our control, an SNL cast member came to save the day and ensure we rung in the new year with some well-needed laughter.

Anyone who makes it through Lorne Michaels’ seal of approval must be special.  The list of names that have graced his nearly fifty-year-old institution range from Belushi to Murray to Aykroyd to Radner to Murphy to Crystal to Guest to Short to Sandler to Farley to Rock to Ferrell to Fallon to Forte to Fey to Norm.  You get the point.

Rarely in its run, however, has the show seen Latin representation, which is surprising considering how liberal the show has been with both its casting and its humor.  So marginalized have we been that the show would have Black not so ready for prime-time players portray Latin characters #ChicoEscuela.  You’d have to dig deep to find the funniest Latin star in SNL history.  In fact, a 2015 Huffington Post article cited that, by that point, out of 790 episodes, only 19 had been hosted by a Latino.  I’m not sure who was counting but the disparity does seem a tad off, and the race grossly underrepresented.

Enter Marcello Hernandez, a Cuban-Dominican barrel of laughs from Miami whose Wikipedia page is still a short read and whose act is still in formation.  Give it time.

I’m not necessarily a fan of comparing modern comedians to those who have come before them.  Drawing similarities between comedy legends is high and often trite praise.  Most of you reading this probably don’t know who Freddie Prinze is.  Heck, I was still a kid when he passed away, but Prinze (you probably know his son) was a megastar in the 70s, a young Latin rocket ship that burned out but not before making his mark on the comedy scene.  Legend has it that Prinze was the first comedian to ever be called over by Johnny Carson after his set.  Most comedians from that era praise Prinze’s impact, however, short-lived.

I am not saying that Hernandez is Freddy Prinze by any stretch of the imagination.  But what the two share in addition to their proud Latin heritage is a sincerity, honesty and humility in their act, an energy that is incomparable and a youth and promise that is contagious.

Hernandez walked into the club unassuming, amazing for a kid who is only 26 and stars on America’s longest running sketch comedy show.  Black t-shirt, jeans and baseball cap turned backwards, gold chain dangling outside his shirt, with his innocent good looks and infectious smile, if you saw this kid walking down the street, you’d never know he’s currently paying his dues on SNL as one of the funniest young acts around.

After an opening act, Hernandez took the stage and we immediately witnessed why he made Lorne’s cut.  Hernandez’ stories were like so many other young men who grew up in a Latin household with hysterical tales to tell, the differences between growing up Latino in America that resonate with the same old stories I’ve heard my family tell for generations.  For someone of Latin descent, his comedy was perfectly relatable. 

Hernandez’ comedy is not George Lopez’ (Mexican American) nor is it John Leguizamo’s (Puerto Rican) whose broad ranging dramatic and comedy routines resulted in one of the most telling specials you’ll ever watch “Latin History for Morons.”  Hernandez isn’t that embittered.  He’s a young comedian whose routine is still fresh and hasn’t yet been soured by the long leg of comedy touring.  Hernandez’ stories were genuine, how he grew up in Miami surrounded by Latin culture then moved overseas, to Ohio.  He discussed the differences in growing up White versus growing up Latin and how “white kids learn better through conversation.”  Not so much in the Latin household.

He related to the crowd and everyone in it, a young bright face to complement the comedy vets we’d seen over the past two months.  It only made sense that Hernandez cap off our run of laughter.  Who knew this would not be the end of our tour, that there’d be more surprises in store.

As time passes on, and comedy evolves, it’s amazing how much of it carries over from one generation to the next, how much comedy differs and how much it remains the same, with new life breathed into it.  That night Marcello reminded us all how important it is for all of us to find laughter.

There would be more to come.

Also see: SportsChump Whirlwind Comedy Tour, Part One: Andrew Dice Clay

Also see: SportsChump Whirlwind Comedy Tour, Part Two: Dave Chappelle

Also see: SportsChump Whirlwind Comedy Tour, Part Three: D.L. Hughley

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

2 Replies to “SportsChump Whirlwind Comedy Tour, Part Four: Marcello Hernandez”

  1. Very well written, SC. You really captured the vibe at the show. I really enjoyed his act and he performed as if he has been on stage for decades.

  2. BCole…

    The only thing I neglected to add, which was really the highlight of the evening, was the post-show dad tats.

    But some things are better left to ourselves.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *