By Ryan Meehan
Steve Treviño is fast becoming one of the country’s hottest comics and the new voice for the 21st century Mexican American. Finding his way from a Hispanic upbringing in a small South Texas town to living his dream in Hollywood, has infused Treviño’s comedy with a “TEX-MEX” sensibility, yet as a performer he has a uniquely American voice that transcends anything about ethnicity, making him universally relatable. Outside of being a national headliner, Treviño has made memorable appearances on The Late Late Show, Comics Unleashed and BET Comic View, among others. He also wrote on Mind of Mencia and produced and wrote on rapper Pit Bull’s La Esquina. Most recently, Treviño landed in the Nielsen Top 20, with his 1st Showtime comedy special, Grandpa Joe’s Son. His 2nd special “Relatable” is currently airing on NUVOtv. Treviño is currently working with Whalerock Industries and Televisa USA, developing a sitcom based on his stand-up, and my guest today in 7 questions.
RM: First off, how many comedy clubs leave the Tilde off of the “n” in your last name when promoting your shows? Does that ever bother you at all? Why or why not?
ST: That’s a great question. I’ve never been asked that before. Obviously it gets left off a lot on the marquee cause the set of letters doesn’t come with one. It is how my name is spelled…I’m very proud to be a Trevino and if I personally have anything to do with it, I always make sure it’s on there. But if someone else does it, I don’t make a big deal out of it. RM: What exactly is “Tex-Mex” comedy? If you had to compare your work on stage to one type of Tex-Mex food, which dish would you say it most closely resembles?
ST: It’s kinda my brand. It’s how I grew up. A lot of people like to use the word Chicano to describe Hispanics, and most famous Hispanic comedians are originally from California like George Lopez, Paul Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias. But I’m a proud Texan or Tejano. In my stand-up I tell a lot of stories about being a proud Texan and what it was like growing up there. I tell stories about my life, and that “Tex-Mex” sensibility is infused in everything I do. If I were to compare it to food, I would say my stand-up is beef fajitas washed down with a shot of tequila cause I come out sizzling and steaming hot. And Tequila, because the first shot you take is a little rough, but after that you can’t get enough.
RM: How did you end up working with PitBull? What was the end result of what you did with him; and where can we find it? Did you get any free Bud Light?
ST: I worked with PitBull back before he was Mr.Worldwide. Then he was just Mr.305. The show aired on MUN2 called “La Esquina” I had the privilege of getting to know him pretty well. He’s a great guy and a class act. I haven’t talked to him since he’s become Mr. Worldwide, but I’m sure if I saw him he’d say Hi.
RM: Could you briefly take us through a day writing on the set of a popular television show? What do you think is the biggest misconception that most fans have about comedy writers?
ST: It’s hard for me to answer to those questions because most of my experience is as a stand-up not a writer. But I do have a lot of friends who are great stand-ups and spend a lot of time in a writer’s room as well. Currently I’m working on a pilot script for a sitcom based on my stand-up routine, and I have a team of two writers who are crafting a story using lots of bits from act and piecing them together for the TV format. It’s tricky because I want it to be authentic to me (that’s what’s most important to me on stage) but we have to tweak it to make it work for story structure. If the pilot gets picked up, we will bring on a show runner and a whole staff of writers. That’s a big misconception; I don’t think the general TV viewer realizes how many writers work on each episode.
RM: What was it about your Grandpa Joe that inspired you to name an entire DVD special after him? Do you think a comic’s early development has a lot to do with how many funny people are in their immediate family?
ST: I am lucky enough to have grown up with a very funny family on both my Mom and my Dad’s sides. I named my 1st special “Grandpa Joe’s Son” because of one of the bits I do about my father Joe Trevino. We were having a hard time finding a name – it was suggested by the producer Scott Montoya and I agreed. I liked it because my father was a big influence on my life, and a lot of that first special is about what it was like growing up in my father’s house.
RM: Do you typically do a lot of crowd work? What’s the most bizarre interaction you’ve ever had with an audience member; and how did it end? If you had to go back and do it over, would you have handled it in a different manner?
ST: I almost never do crowd work. In my opinion, it makes people feel uncomfortable. However, there have been times when the crowd feels like they need to get involved. For example in Indianapolis, there was a blizzard and the club almost canceled the show because of the dangerous weather conditions. Fifteen people showed up, and we decided to do a show anyway. What the heck, we were already there. One of the audience members was really drunk and was heckling the comedians opening up before me. He was taking over the show so much so that the comedians bailed on their time and brought me up. While I was on stage the guy continued to be annoying. I tried everything I could to avoid asking him to leave, so finally when I did ask him to leave, he started walking to the stage to challenge me to a fight. I looked around and there was no management or staff to be seen. As the guy got closer to the stage, I warned him if he took another step I would knock him out. He took another step, so I did, and we ended up on a customer’s table. Management ran out and pulled me off of him and I asked the audience if they wanted me to continue the show, they cheered yes, so I did. It actually turned out to be a great show.
RM: When it comes to accomplishments within the entertainment industry, where would you like to be ten years from now? What do you plan to do over the next decade to make sure those things happen?
ST: I plan to be on a ranch raising my family in Texas, touring and working on projects I get to choose. I would like to have a career similar to Ray Romano’s. I’m working on a sitcom now and if things go well, I’d love to have a nice run on a successful sitcom so that moving out of LA would be possible.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about? ST: Like I said, I’m working on a sitcom pilot. It’s a long process, but I’m really excited about the team I’m working with.
My 2nd hour Special, “Relatable” will be released on DVD later this year. If you want to check it out in the meantime, you can watch it commercial free here: Relatable on NUVOtv I filmed it in my hometown so it definitely has that ‘Tex Mex’ feel to it and I’m really proud of it.
I also have a new podcast called “The Process with Steve Trevino”. I travel the country with my podcast equipment talking to other comedians, talent bookers, club owners about the laughs, the struggles and the ongoing process of becoming a great standup comedian. It’s an inside look about comedy beyond the stage & stool: http://sideshownetwork.tv/podCastsEpisode.cfm?podcastid=105&episodeID=4857
Official Website: http://stevetrevino.com/
Steve on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stevetrevinolive
Steve on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MrSteveTrevino
Steve on Instagram: http://instagram.com/texastrevino
Podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-process-steve-trevino/id886066727
Dayton Funnybone, OH – July 31- Aug 3rd
La Jolla, CA Comedy Store – Aug 29-30
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