Yamil Piedra is something of a comedic giant, in the sense that he’s really funny and really, really tall. The Miami actor and comedian and one-half of the now defunct comedy duo A Pair of Nuts, continues on his mission of making comedy a full-contact sport this Saturday with his new interactive comedy spectacle, The Pretty Rock Project. The show integrates stand-up, sketch comedy, social media, video and a lot of audience interaction. “The audience doesn’t get to just sit there,” he assures.
Piedra spent the last decade partnered up with friend Johnny Trabanco, whom he met as a student at Florida International University, performing as A Pair of Nuts. The duo, which performed at the South Beach Comedy Festival in 2012 and won an Emmy for their Spanish language sketch comedy show El Vacilon, separated last year. Piedra says it was just time to part. “We had been doing it for nine years and we decided to end it on a high note. We just decided to call it quits but just because the Nuts ended I didn’t want to stop performing. I’ve been performing for 16 years.” Aside from his comedy gigs, Piedra still lands roles that force him to wipe the smile off his face. He will be featured on USA Network's Graceland on July 18 playing a DEA agent.
Piedra’s new show shares the rhythm of a Nuts show, jumping between video and sketches then audience participation. “I have this one character named Lance Thunderstorm who is like a Criss Angel-style illusionist, but his tricks never work. What I do is choose an audience member to be a part of the trick. It all just goes wrong.”
No one in the audience can escape. Piedra warns, “If you hide there is more of a chance that you will be chosen. If you are pointing at someone, there’s a chance I will pick the one that’s doing the pointing." Piedra uses his iPad, hunts down audience members who shout him out on Twitter (@ypiedra), throws out hashtags for audience members to tweet, all the while changing in and out of costume for sketches between video clips. The show, he promises, is a completely interactive experience. “It’s all about having a good time.”
Just make sure you don’t set your watch for Miami time. “I am used to my audiences being late. But sometimes I just say, ‘You paid full price to watch half a show?’"
Then again, showing up late will almost ensure you get called onstage, if that is what you want.