Will the Real Jose Please Stand Up?

What do you do when the recession leaves you unemployed for nearly three years? Take the life stories you’ve recorded and make them work for you.

JoseChavez 433x300 Will the Real Jose Please Stand Up?

That’s what Jose Chavez has been doing the past year and a half. After he lost his job as a purchasing assistant at a health center, Jose knew he wasn’t going back to the world of crunching numbers. It was time to put everything he knew—his rocky upbringing in Pacoima, the high school days as a bloated teenager, an agonizing stint as a security officer— into six minute stand-up comedy bits. “I was painfully bullied as a kid, so I had to learn how to laugh at myself,” says Jose. “That’s why I got into writing; I wrote everything down and even created a comic strip version of myself as a miserable security guard. Stand up is just another way to test my storytelling ability.”

His first test didn’t go so well. Jose had a good crowd show up to his first gig at the Spotlight Comedy Club in Studio City; so good, in fact, that the night’s organizer gave him a few extra minutes on stage. Jose went through his prepared five minutes of comedy and got some laughs, but then he just froze. He attempted to salvage the remaining time by starting a Q&A session, but the grave digging had already begun.

“I don’t want to be that Mexican comedian. I want to be a comedian who happens to be Mexican.”

InsecurityComic Will the Real Jose Please Stand Up?

Jose's comic strip "In-Security" was based on his days as a security officer.

Despite bumps in the road, Jose knew he found his niche. On stage, he was far away from the introverted teenager who only expressed himself on paper, the one who was “more a part of the set than a character in other people’s lives.”

Not that the socially quiet character is now a distant memory. Jose’s signature clothing item, the newsboy cap he wears low and close to his eyes, suggests more of a timid personality than a natural performer. But with stand-up comedy, Jose, the real Jose, is center stage.

These days his stage is Flapper’s Comedy Club in Burbank, but this weekend you can catch him at a special show at the House of Brews in San Fernando. Jose organized the HOB Comedy Night to bring out quality comedians like Laurie Kilmartin (writer for “Conan”) for a free night of laughs.

So what can be expected from Jose this Saturday? His brand of comedy is strongly connected to his everyday life, yet he’s hesitant to rely on race or culture for material. ”I used to have a problem with comedians holding on to race as a crutch but, at the same time, I dealt with racism growing up and I deal with it now,” says Jose. “You can’t dismiss it because it’s a part of who you are and you use it because it’s still a part of your life. As long as it’s not the only part of your story.” Instead of framing his work after George Lopez or Carlos Mencia, he’d rather align himself with comedians like Chilean-American Pablo Francisco or the late Columbian-American Greg Giraldo. ”I don’t want to be that Mexican comedian. I want to be a comedian who happens to be Mexican,” he says.

So, he works on trimming the fat from his stories and keeps only the core of each anecdote. He spends time practicing his delivery and moving on swiftly after a punchline, something he greatly admires in his favorite comedian, the late Mitch Hedberg.  He constantly hones his craft because he wants to see all the way through. Unlike anything he’s done in the past, stand-up comedy forces Jose to live outside of himself.

“I couldn’t do a lot of things before doing comedy, but there are no boundaries anymore,” says Jose. “I couldn’t even swear in front of my mom and now I can.”

You can see Jose Chavez perform this Saturday, May 14, at 8 p.m. at the House of Brews in San Fernando. The HOB Comedy Night is free; arrive early as the space is small and the expected crowd large.

written by

i am san fernando is April Aguirre, a writer born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. April bounced around the Valley throughout her upbringing and lived outside of California for a quick minute but always felt most at home in the city of San Fernando. To get at April's heart, FedEx puppies to her door, offer In-N-Out cheeseburgers by the dozen or introduce her to a beer tastier than the last.

22 Responses to "Will the Real Jose Please Stand Up?"

  1. Daisy Luna says:

    funny guy! Very talented for a hispanic! lol jk he’s just funny.

    Reply
  2. Wendy Chávez says:

    LOL I love the cartoon! funny stuff…..

    Reply
  3. “Nevermind” the Other Blogs : i am san fernando. says:

    [...] album cover, which now seems like an eerie prophecy fulfilled, our resident comedian and cartoonist Jose Chavez pulled the above image from an earlier Valley Daze comic strip. Seems like Serg is always after [...]

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  4. Friday Funnies: Fall Beach Daze : i am san fernando. says:

    [...] about Valley Daze creator, Jose Chavez, here. Chavez is a local comedian from Pacoima and runs the comedy shows at the House of Brews. Related [...]

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  5. “ThanksnStuff” Comedy Night | i am san fernando. says:

    [...] for your monthly laughs at the House of Brews. Comedian Jose Chavez brings together the best comics (who are willing to drive to the Valley) for the monthly comedy [...]

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    [...] past weekend, Jose Chavez gathered talent at the House of Brews for a round of laughs. He brought along 20-year-old comedian [...]

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    [...] Daze comics are brought to you every Friday by comedian Jose Chavez. Related Posts :Veterans Day Parade Recipe: Chicken Noodle Soup Photos: HOB Comedy "ThanksnStuff" [...]

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    [...] read more about Valley Daze and creator Jose Chavez, click here. Related Posts :Black Friday Special: $10 Shirts My Nephew, the 8-Year-Old Blogger Giving Thanks in [...]

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    [...] Daze funnies brought to you by local comedian Jose Chavez. Related Posts :Mayor Announces Affair at Council Meeting Free Computer Lab at SFiAM Friday [...]

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    [...] Serg takes Christmas matters into his own hands in this week’s Valley Daze comic strip by Jose Chavez. [...]

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    [...] of you may have heard of Jose Chavez, the local comedian who produces the popular comedy shows at the House of Brews. Well, Jose and his [...]

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    [...] little thing with the mayor, which generated a flurry of user comments here and here, profiles of local residents, the ever-popular nostalgic pieces and, of course, San Fer [...]

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  13. Friday Funnies: Holiday Misadventure | i am san fernando. says:

    [...] about Valley Daze creator, Jose Chavez, here. Chavez is a local comedian from Pacoima and runs the comedy shows at the House of Brews. Related [...]

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  14. House of Brew Monthly Comedy Show This Weekend | i am san fernando. says:

    [...] always, the event is free but donations will be gladly accepted. The show is produced by Jose Chavez. Related Posts :P et Adoption Center Now Open and Gilbert's Lo… Bike Ride in Pacoima Saturday [...]

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  15. i am san fernando Turns One | i am san fernando. says:

    [...] fire underneath your fingertips as you type until 4 a.m. about a vegan chef raised in Pacoima, a comedian rediscovering community through his craft, or even red velvet pancakes in the ‘hood (the [...]

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  16. House Of Brews Comedy Show This Weekend | i am san fernando. says:

    [...] J. Garcia will provide the soundtrack. House of Brews brings you comedy once a month produced by Jose Chavez. Small donations are  greatly appreciated but the presence of children? Not so much. Kids are [...]

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  17. House of Brews Comedy with Martin Rizo | i am san fernando. says:

    [...] it’s hard to find local ways to spend a Saturday night and Jose Chavez, the event’s producer, is fixing that problem at least once a month. Two, this is a free [...]

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  18. Calling All Comedians | i am san fernando. says:

    [...] taking the stage yourself? Now, you might have a chance. The House of Brews comedy shows producer, Jose Chavez, is looking for locals who want to give stand up a go. He’ll plans on scouting various open [...]

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    [...] night will be hosted by your local stand-up comic, Jose Chavez. He’s bringing Carlos Santos, Greg Santos, Christine Medrano and Rev. Mitcz to the small [...]

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    [...] a fan of the comedy shows produced by Jose Chavez, which you may have caught last year at the House of Brews. Now that the Valley Wing Pit is open, [...]

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    [...] can thank SFV native Jose Chavez for that. He’s been hustling for the past year and bringing you stress-free comedy nights at [...]

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    [...] Jose Chavez took some time off from his monthly House of Brews comedy shows to work on his personal comedy endeavors and create a new comedy event at the Valley Wing Pit. But, he didn’t go away for long, and now the first HOB show of 2013 is set for this Saturday, March 16. [...]

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