Paul Rodriguez talks about ‘Pitch’ at Hollywood’s representation of Latinos
Paul Rodriguez: I’m doing good, I should specify I’m probably a Sr because my kid is also in the entertainment business he’s practically erased me from Facebook, he is so popular especially in Tampa. Now on social media its 100 pages of him and then me.
Victor Padilla: Tell us about where you come from and a little of you family history…
Paul Rodriguez: I was born, they tell me, because I barely remember, in Sinaloain, Culiacan in Mexico. I came here when I was about 3-4 years old. I grew up in the field just following the harvest with my parents always super busy. We picked everything that the ground would grow and right around 12 – 13, my father had an accident, my father broke his back in a farming accident; a tractor ran over him. When I was 18-19, I left for the air force and did 6 six years. I came back, went to college on the G.I. Bill and found my way to law school.
Victor Padilla: Tell us about who inspired to become a comedian and actor in the industry
Paul Rodriguez: My all-time hero was Freddie Prinze. I remember seeing his show, Chico and the Man, and I remember reading thru the teletype communications, when he had taken his own life and it was the first time I cried for someone. I never met him, but he had such an influence in my life. I later became friends with his son.
Victor Padilla: Tell us about the “Pitch” and how you are working with Mike Gomez, can you tell us about it, give us some info on it
Paul Rodriguez: Well the “Pitch” is a protest, the pitch is a reminder to the powers that be that Latinos are all around you, you can throw a rock in any direction. The “Pitch” is a new play that I wrote that’s aimed at shaking up Hollywood. In “The Pitch: Or How to Pitch a Latino Sitcom That Will Never Air,” Rodriguez uses comedy to expose the challenges that Latinos face pitching a TV show to network executives.
Victor Padilla: So what advice would you give to young upcoming Latino actors and actresses?
Paul Rodriguez: To believe in themselves and have the persistence of a Jehovah’s Witness. Do not give, things will get better, and to have some dignity, if you see a part that’s condescending, let them know it. Show them how you will do, how it will be done, even if you don’t get the part, you walk out of that room knowing you didn’t kiss they’re ass, and you didn’t bow your head – you left with your dignity.
Victor Padilla: Im going to ask a very important question: What is your favorite Latino food, and do you love Cuban sandwiches?
Paull Rodriguez: Oh of course man, Im a Cubachero you know, I love it, and big fans of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, but my favorite food when I’m in Florida is Ropa Vieja and in Los Angeles Tacos Al Carbon, and when I’m in new York I go for the Cuchifrito! I am an international Latino person who has embarked and enjoyed all our cultures. That is what makes us better, eh, we bring spice to this country, without us it would be bland.
Victor Padilla: Tell us who your hero has been, living or past…
Paul Rodriguez: Well I have met a lot of my heroes, most of them are gone, but I even have Nelson Mandala was part of the crew of heroes. I walked with Cesar Chaves and my heroes have to be my parents, I’ve never met a pair of people who love each other for 50 years and they have done through bright and dark.
Victor Padilla: So that concludes its our interview time, but I wanted to tell you, my wife and I host the International Cuban Sandwich Festival over in Tampa, so I want to invite you to be a Judge next year, I’ll send Brenda all the info. You can’t eat for a whole week before you judge so haha…
Paul Rodriguez: Hahha, if you see me lately you know eating is not one of my problems haha
But send me some literature I promise you I’ll make time.