To call up-and-coming Chicago-based comic Almando Blaxicano a go-getter might be putting it mildly.
Last week, while attending a performance for Jamie Kennedy at Chicago’s Laugh Factory, he worked his way into opening for the veteran comic at the same venue the following night.
“I gave Jamie a cigar when he was onstage and he asked me what I did for a living, and I told him ‘I’m a comedian and I’m trying to be like you,’” he recalled. “And he said ‘the only way you’re going to get that chance is if we get you on stage in front of me. Come back tomorrow night.’”
Slated to make his way to the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza in Merrillville for the eighth annual “Locos of Comedy,” Blaxicano was born Almando Burks and reared in Humboldt Park. Adapting his moniker from a combination of his ethnicity (“my mother’s Mexican and my father’s black … on job applications I would put ‘blaxicano’ down under ‘other’ as my race”), Blaxicano made his comic debut at a Chicagoland comedy club’s open mic night nine years ago.
Over the years, Blaxicano has performed alongside acclaimed comics such as Reynaldo Rey, Alex Ortiz, Marcus Comb and Rudy Mareno, and has wowed audiences both regionally as well as at clubs and on college campuses throughout the country.
Subject-wise, Blaxicano, who resides in Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood and is the father of two teenagers, draws upon his childhood and personal and familial relationships for his source material.
“I think my kids keep me young,” he said. “And I think people can relate and can laugh at it because they’re going through the same things that I’m going through.”
Blaxicano is planning on undertaking a college tour throughout the Midwest and the West Coast between now and year’s end.
“I’m exited to be writing new material and going out there and making people laugh and growing as a comedian,” he said. “It’s not an overnight thing. It’s a craft. You’ve got to study and work at this.”
Joining Blaxicano on stage at this year’s “Locos” are comics Manny Maldonado and Eric Rivera. The evening’s festivities will be hosted by nationally-renowned comedienne Patti Vasquez.
Proceeds from “Locos” will benefit the Gary-based International Community Alliance, which offers counseling and education services throughout the region.