He was partly raised in Miami and has plenty of comedic fodder. He’s Orlando Leyba and he’s going to be among a few other comics on the Fuse Network series Uproarious 11 p.m. Friday.
We talked to the funnyman before the sketch filled comedy series aired:
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to a single Dominican mother. Very early on we moved back to the Dominican Republic after my mom was deported. It was quite shocking because my family is from a humble neighborhood in the capital of Santo Domingo. It was a modest living- we took showers out of buckets; electricity and water would come and go; it was never a constant luxury to have these amenities, so the whole community would gather at someone’s house, however many blocks away, and fill up as many containers with water as we could. The greatest luxury was having electricity to be able to watch Telenovela & Wrestling on TV. One time I even got to see the Michael Jackson video “Beat It” and I felt like I had unlocked a whole other world of my imagination in those few minutes. Once my mother received her Visa into the USA we lived in New York City for a few years. We moved from time to time. I lived in all 5 boroughs at some point. Later on for my early formative years we moved to Miami, and stayed there into my adulthood, and I must say I Love Miami. This city has been the greatest to me.
When you are back in the Miami area where do you like to go?
I have this tradition the moment I land and I get out of the airport: I head to La Carreta on SW 36th Ave & 8th St. the moment the plane touches the ground it’s like my body knows to get that good Cuban food in my system ASAP. If my flight lands earlier in the day, then it’s all about a Pan con Bistec (Steak Sandwich) from Enriqueta’s on NE 1st Ave & 29th St. I won’t leave city regardless of how many days I’m there without visiting my Colombian joint: Sanpocho on SW 8th St & 9th Ave for the Sancocho de Res (Beef Stew/Soup). So easy to say when I’m back in Miami. It’s all about the 4 F’s ; Food, Family, Friends & Food Again.
What is your favorite joke /favorite topic right now?
Fitness. I’m doing a bit about CrossFit and how I feel it’s a scam – you go to a sketchy part of town walk into a hot warehouse – with no juice bar – but giant monster truck tires and cruise ship size ropes. You pay to move all these items around as part of a workout, but in reality it’s clearly a junkyard posing as an exercise facility. Another thing I love talking about is my wife and our marriage – about how I’m evolving from the man I was to the man I am now, cause after years of being together, things have changed. For example, I’ve become a very sensitive man. I now care about things I never cared about before, like cats. That one kitten on the internet that puts its paws up in surprise – I swear a single tear jumps out of my eye every time. So much joy!
What is it like being a comedian these days in this political climate?
I think it’s the second greatest year for comedians and politics. It’s actually an even tie between now and the George W. Bush administration. It’s like comedy gold. These politicians are walking punchlines! I don’t do political material in my comedy. I really like bringing people together and helping them forget about the outside world for a moment. It’s so great to see total strangers just enjoying each other’s company and laughter. Laughter is so powerful!
Which comedians inspire you and why?
I have a few comics who inspire me a great deal. Bill Burr for one. His work ethic and the growth you see and hear on every comedy special is incredible and he really makes the effort to continue to elevate his craft. I also have a great deal of admiration for Gabriel Iglesias – the way he tells stories is second to none. I have to tip my hat off to Kevin Hart who is always striving for greatness and bringing comedy to new levels and platforms. Sebastian Maniscalco too for his stage presence and act outs; he’s great at portraying his father. It’s almost as if you may know him. I can’t leave out Forrest Shaw. He was the first comic I personally knew that moved from Miami to Los Angeles and he truly inspired me through his actions.
Tell us about Uproarious!
Well first off I’m going to say that everyone should tune in because I promise you’re in for a great time of comedy, plus you can watch in your PJ’s, eating your favorite snack, laid out on your couch from the comfort of your home. Doesn’t get any better than that! This was truly an amazing experience for me. I shared a special night of Comedy TV Magic with a wonderful crew, audience and other fellow comics. I had the greatest time from the moment I stepped onto the set. It was incredible how welcomed I felt. We were all there with one objective: to have the best time possible and I believe that will translate onto the viewers this Friday. Frankly I’m so grateful for this opportunity. It took so many folks to make it happen and I’d like to give thanks to everyone who had a hand in bringing this moment to life. A special thank you to Jeff Singer, Judi Brown-Marmel, Stu Schreiberg, Neil A. Sheridan, Jeff Thorsen, Myra Byrne, Alex Goodman, Michael Cox, and the amazing crew on the show.
What else do you have going on?
I’ve been on the road more this year, so a few city dates that you can always check out on my website. I’m also very excited to be performing for our Troops overseas. I’ll be heading to Japan and Korea.