comedians you should know

Chris Estrada Doesn’t Think Stand-Up Has to Be Profound

Photo-Illustration: Selman Hoşgör; Photo Courtesy of Subject

This week, we’re highlighting 22 talented writers and performers for Vulture’s annual list “Comedians You Should and Will Know.” Our goal is to introduce a wider audience to the talent that has the comedy community and industry buzzing. (You can read more about our methodology at the link above.) We asked the comedians on the list to answer a series of questions about their work, comedy during the pandemic, and more. Next up is Chris Estrada.

When did you feel that you were funny enough to make a legitimate go at comedy?
When local comedians in the L.A. scene that I considered to be funny told me I was funny.
Describe your comedy in five words.
Overly written but hopefully funny.
What of your work do you think you’re best known for, and what of your work are you most proud of?
I think I’m best known for a half-hour HBO Latino special I split with New York comedian Ian Lara and a Comedy Central Up Next clip on YouTube. But I think I’ve performed in a fair amount of comedy clubs and alternative/independent venues across the country that surprisingly I’ve been recognized by people who have seen me perform live.

I would say I’m most proud of a TV pilot I wrote with comedians Matt Ingebretson, Jake Weisman, and Pat Bishop (from Comedy Central’s Corporate) titled “This Fool.” We sold it to Hulu, then we shot it this past April, and then it was green-lit to series.

If there were a ’90s-style sitcom built around you and your material, in which you had to have a different job than comedian, what would be the title and logline?
Title: The Warehouse Diaries. 

Logline: Miserable guy who works at a warehouse takes too many bathroom breaks.

What have you done for comedy during COVID that you thought you would never do?
I starred in a TV pilot I co-created titled “This Fool” during the pandemic.
Who are some of your favorite comedians right now? Who is putting out work that excites and inspires you?
Some of my favorite comedians right now are Ramsey Badawi, Brian Simpson, and Laura Peek.
What is the best comedy advice, and then the worst comedy advice, you’ve ever received, either when you were starting out or more recently?
Make sure you wash your ass every day before you go to do comedy so that way you feel clean and funny onstage. Worst advice I ever got was, “Don’t wash your ass every day.”

Tell us one story from your childhood that is a good representation of your life.
When I was 11, I got robbed at gunpoint in a comic-book store with my friend Hector. There used to be a comic-book shop called CBC (Comic Book Club) on West Blvd., which is the border between South Central Los Angeles and Inglewood. We were there buying comic books when a gang member comes in with a gun and makes the cashier empty out the cash register, robs Hector and I, and then starts yelling at the store clerk to take out the valuable Incredible Hulk from the display case and give it to him.
What’s an embarrassingly earnest goal you have?
Just to make people laugh, which sounds despicable. And to become so rich that I completely lose touch with my working-class roots and my friends and family who genuinely love me.

If you had the power to remove anything from the comedy world right now, from trends with material to how the industry operates, what would it be?
Profoundness in stand-up comedy.

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Chris Estrada Doesn’t Think Stand-Up Has to Be Profound