Frank Lucero’s comedy brings audiences into his world
What: Stand-up comedians Frank Lucero and Brian Hicks
When: 8 p.m. Friday Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1Where: Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St.
Cost: Friday tickets range from $15 to $25. Saturday tickets are $19 to $29.
Stand-up comedian Frank Lucero, a veteran of the touring life, doesn’t pay too much attention to his ethnicity until he’s performing outside of his hometown of Los Angeles. One time, he received a stark reminder.
“I can’t remember where it was, but I was introduced as a Latino comedian and people booed,” said Lucero, who is set to perform with Brian Hicks this weekend at the Egyptian Theatre. “They booed without knowing me, but then I got on stage and got them to laugh.”
Lucero uses stories about his family and twisted perceptions of life to make his audiences laugh.
“Sometimes when I perform in Connecticut or Oklahoma, people will tell me that the audiences won’t understand my mariachi jokes, so my idea is to bring the audiences into my world,” Lucero said.
The American comedian also uses his stature to “gently” educate people who stereotype him.
“First of all, my Spanish is horrible, but people still think I should speak it,” he said. “When they find out that I can’t, they ask me where I’m from, and I say, ‘California.’ And they say, ‘No. Where were you born?’ and I say, ‘California.’ Then they’ll say, ‘Where are your parents from?’ And I’ll say, ‘California.’ And They’ll say, ‘No. Where were your grandparents born?’ And I’ll say, ‘California.’”
Lucero has always been interested in comedy, even though he started his showbiz education as a music major at San Jose State University.
“I’ve always been the showoff, and I entertained the family at our parties,” he said. “We would do a talent show and I would lip sync, do puppet shows and just be a goof to make the family laugh.”
He changed majors after auditioning for a production of “West Side Story.”
“I was asked to audition to be in the orchestra,” Lucero said. “I thought about things and decided that people wouldn’t see me in the pit, but they would see me on stage. So I auditioned to be an actor, because I wanted to be on the stage.”
Upon graduation, Lucero’s father asked him how having a theater degree would “feed his face.”
“I convinced him that it’s not just acting,” Lucero said. “I told him I can work in set design, lighting, management and other practical jobs, even though my goal was to be on stage.”
Lucero moved to L.A. and tried acting, landing roles in a few small commercials here and there.
“The thing was that the theater training made it easy for me to get on stage anywhere and speak my mind,” he said. “So I began doing that and have been doing it ever since.”
Lucero has appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The James Franco Project.” He has also performed fundraisers for cancer patients and entertained U.S. troops in the Middle East.
“These are the people who are giving 100 percent,” he said of his military audiences. “And you go out there to make them laugh and bring a little home to those guys.”
He also performed at Guantanamo Bay on a USO tour.
Lucero savored these experiences because he is a “military brat.”
“My dad was in the military for 20 years, and my little brother is a colonel in the Army,” he said. “I’m the comedian, who, as my mom says, heals people with laughter.”
Lucero said the real reward isn’t monetary.
“It’s about making people laugh,” Lucero said. “Doing those kinds of shows is my way of giving something back.”
Being on the New Latin Kings of Comedy Tour in 2007 and 2008 with Paul Rodriguez, Manny Maldonado and Gene Pompa, was another career highlight for Lucero.
“There were some strong headliners, so I knew I couldn’t suck,” he said.
One night, Rodriguez told Lucero to open the show.
“We had gotten lost and arrived at the venue 15 minutes before showtime, and Paul said, ‘Let’s have Lucero start the show,” Lucero remembered. “So I put my game face on and told myself the audience was there to see me. I said they may not know who I am, but they came to see me. And they will know who I am after the show.”
The biggest challenge of being a stand-up comedian is looking for the next gig, Lucero said.
“You never know what’s around the corner, and that’s exciting, but also scary,” he said. “Comedy has taken me to all of these different places, and you don’t know what’s going to pop up. I never thought I’d be coming to Park City.”