Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Interview with Ramon Rivas II

Ramon Rivas II, fresh of his Comedy’s Central half hour special, kicks off the "Break Out Comedy Festival" this Thursday night with some of Chicago’s favorite comics. The 3rd annual comedy fest is a fresh partnership between NBCUniversal and Second City showcasing some of the hottest comedic acts in stand-up, sketch and improv.

Ramon took some time out of his busy schedule for a quick interview via email...

Comedy of Chicago: You work incredibly hard at this craft, what drives you to be a comedian?

Ramon Rivas: What drove me to be a comedian was not having passion for anything else in life. Once I started doing comedy, I didn't feel so aimless. I started treating it like a full time non-paying job about a year in, and it still mostly is.

COC: How would you describe your comedic style?

RR: Other people have told me, I'm "self deprecating with swagger" and that I resonate a "low-fi confidence". Someone recently told me I remind them of something between a Wyatt Cenac & Patrice O'Neal. I'd describe myself as high & charming.

 COC: How do you feel about crowd work? Is it planned or completely random?

When I do crowd work, it's mostly unplanned. Ideally, I'd just do my material and move along. Sometimes it's fun to go up and just flail about and find something in the nothing. Your instincts really kick in when you're up there without a plan.

COC: You inject a few bits about your family into your material, are they all true?

RR: Yes, most everything in my act is the truth because you can't fuck with the truth.

COC: How did your involvement with the Break Out Comedy fest come about?

RR: Back when JB Winkin was curating it, she invited me after seeing me work at UP. And I did well enough that the current admin kept tabs on me and asked me back to host the showcase I was just on the first time. Cool to level up.

COC: You have a whole lot of hometown pride, Why is Cleveland a great comedy town?

RR: Cleveland is a great place to fail anonymously. There's a natural farm system of mics, showcases, the accidental shows I run and then several comedy clubs so it's a good place to work in a variety of environments without having to drive more than 30/40 minutes to get to anything.

COC: Any predictions on the NBA final between Cleveland and Golden Sate?

RR: Everyone will get paid more money than us to play a game - and people will cry over whatever the result is.

RAMON RIVAS is a stand up comedian who made a name for himself in Chicago, New York & Los Angeles while building up the independent comedy scene in Cleveland through his ACCIDENTAL COMEDY shows. Ramon has appeared on @MIDNIGHT, MTV Decoded. Vicland & more.