Featuring RYAN REAVES!  FREE // 21+ // JUNE 24 AT 9:30 PM

Sunday nights at The Hood are quickly becoming as popular as any other night out in the desert. Comedy Night at the Hood returns this Sunday, June 24, 2018 at 9:30 p.m. Coachella Valley Weekly asked several questions of the comedians scheduled to perform. We asked about their influences, backgrounds, what makes them laugh, where they are headed and what they know about the Coachella Valley.

RYAN REAVES

I’m the youngest of four. I have two brothers and a sister. My sister beat us all up and she was the 2nd oldest. She bullied us and made us do her chores while she played with her Barbies beating up our G.I. Joes. 

My biggest comedic influence was Redd Foxx from watching old reruns of ‘Sanford and Son’ and thinking the grumpy old man was hilarious. Then I saw him in Harlem Nights cussing and couldn’t believe he used language like that! I had no idea he was a foul-mouthed comedian, LOL! My biggest non-comedic influence was my family.

I developed my comedy chops talking mess and cracking jokes with my cousins and older relatives all the time growing up. 

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I know nothing about the Coachella valley except for assuming it’s where Coachella is held…. based on Coachella being in the name.  

Where do I go from here? To keep doing shows and other projects to continue to get my name and brand out there to the people…. then get something to eat and run some errands. 

There’s soooo many sensitive people these days getting sensitive over SOOO many things it’s hard to try to factor out things to keep off limits. Even though as a comedian you should test boundaries and shake things up I find myself staying away from subjects such as politics and religion mostly. 

Something that makes me laugh? Somebody with their arms full of groceries at 3:30 p.m. on a gloomy Wednesday falling down three flights of steps but not breaking their eggs or the Bluetooth ear piece falling out their ear…. but only if I was high. 

I can be found on a stage near you or find me on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram with Ryan Reaves Comedy and on Twitter @RyanReavesJokin.  

MICHAEL BLACKSTOCK

I was raised in a very small town called Ocotillo, CA. There were probably about 500 or so people in the town, so everyone knew everyone. I was raised by my moms who have been together the last 25 years.

My biggest influences would have to be Richard Pryor and George Carlin for their ability to say anything without apologizing, Bill Cosby for his storytelling, and Rodney Dangerfield for his amazing self-deprecating style.

My biggest non-comedic influences would have to be my parents. I know its cliché, but they have always been there for me no matter what and at the end of the day that’s what really matters.

I don’t really know too much about the Coachella Valley other than I live pretty close and the comedy scene is really starting to pick up out there. I know the valley has its music festivals as well.

My comedy is going really well at the moment. I would like for my next step to be going to L.A. to perform, but I’ve been staying pretty busy locally. 

If there is a topic that is off limits, then I haven’t found it. Censorship is the death of comedy and should be ignored. I would say that terrible dad jokes are my serious guilty pleasure and make me laugh like an idiot.

My comedy is available on YouTube. I will be posting more videos as soon as I film them.

JACOB CANTU

I was born here, but grew up in Mexicali. I would spend the summers here with my grandparents. We are God-fearing folks and contrary to popular belief not all comedians are atheist. It was very interesting seeing the difference between life in the U.S. and our life in Mexico. I learned to appreciate a lot of things that people had on this side of the border that they took for granted. My mom is straight up Mexican and my dad is Mexican -American born in Utah. He hated living in Mexico, so that was fun. My grandma is from Texas, so she’s racist. I’m the oldest of four and the oldest cousin on both sides of my family so I was everybody’s go-to for advice so I had to act like I knew what I was talking about. My parents worked a lot so I had to take care of my brothers and sister, they’re still mad at me for things I did when I was 13. My dad loves movies and TV, so growing up there was times that they would cut off our electricity, but the cable bill was always paid. We’d steal electricity before losing our DirecTV. I guess that’s why I didn’t lose my English. My mom loves music so she got me into that. They’re still together, because my mom is hardcore. We moved back to Coachella in 2002.   

I was born here, my whole family and all my friends are here. I know that the Valley needs outlets for people to try stand-up and grow as comedians. Why is there no comedy club here? Really? Why? There are tiny towns in Iowa or whatever that have a Chuckle Hut, why not here? I guess people may be afraid to tell jokes because we are such a small town. Our people need to learn how to consume stand-up in an intimate setting. We all are missing out by not having that in the valley. We are trying to recreate that vibe with all the local shows we are doing at The Hood and Plan B. When people watch stand-up in a huge theater or on TV they are seeing a polished and complete act. What they don’t see is how many times that comedian bombed to find those jokes in clubs and small rooms like ours to build that act. That in itself is interesting and fun, we need that. Have all the desert cities conspired to kill any and all potential local comedy talent? What are they hiding? What are they afraid of? Will they make me disappear for asking these questions? I write this in jest, but isn’t that something?

I grew up watching every HBO special available. In no particular order, George Carlin, Louie C.K. (I know), Bill Cosby (comedians aren’t the best role models OK!), Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Felipe Esparza. Right know comics that really are killing it in my opinion are Bill Burr, Tom Segura, Ali Wong, Neal Brennan and Hannibal Buress.

The hardest part of stand-up is learning to be yourself on stage. If you start channeling your favorite comics, the audience can see that you’re doing an impression of your favorite comedian; people can see that and don’t laugh. They just feel sad for you. But that’s how everyone starts.

I was a punk rock kid in high school and a total nerd so that influences my stand-up a lot. Even though I’m not about that life anymore, my comedy still is. I like going to Disneyland because it’s an interesting place to observe humanity. Add my wife, a weight problem, my past struggles with the opposite sex and a sprinkle of depression and BOOM, you have my act.

I just want to be as funny as I can and for people to have a good time at the shows. My goal in comedy is to establish and help a local comedy scene grow. I am so grateful to Plan B and The Hood for letting us do stand-up. I say us because they are few of us now and we are combining our powers. I really hope that people can stick with us and help us get better. We need your laughs to keep this thing going.

Our shows at The Hood are different because we showcase local talent but also have more experienced comedians from LA and San Diego come in for those shows. We book national headliners for that show so it is serious business so we try to bring the heat. Nigel has entrusted me to book headliners that I think are funny (and that we can afford). So I try to book comics that may not be household names, but should be. We have reached out to the Big Dogs, so please come and enjoy those shows, a lot goes in to them. The Hood has a great room for stand-up Comedy. Last week we had comedians that work at The Comedy Store regularly including Frank Castillo, the current Comedy Central Roast Battle Champion, they expressed how much that room is similar to the Original Room at The Comedy Store. Performing in front of true professionals only helps us get better. Last show was packed and people were losing their minds, spit takes and Nachos flying in the air funny. We have these shows every other Sunday.

We don’t have a comedy club so we’re doing our own, punk rock style.        

Is there any topic that is off limits and why?

I think a Comedian should be able to say anything, as long as it is funny. Comedy is subjective so if you don’t think something is funny then don’t laugh; that is how a comedian will stop telling a joke, no apologies needed. The thing with Comedy is that, unlike music, you have Jim Gaffigan and Mike Epps working in the same environment under the title of stand-up comedy. You couldn’t have two more different styles and sensitivities. If you do not like Hip-Hop you know not to go in a place where Hip-Hop is happening. With stand-up you do not know what you’re getting, so an open mind is needed. All great jokes start off not being funny and may be offensive or dirty, but with time they turn in to all time classic bits. Like Chris Rock’s classic bit about  “African Americans” from Bring the Pain, after doing stand-up for a bit, I know that joke pissed people off when it started, but aren’t we glad we have it? Sadly that joke may not exist in today’s environment. If someone says they enjoy stand-up comedy they should let the comedians try out jokes and let them fail or succeed, how can that happen if we do not let them say certain things? There are certain topics that I do not touch and there is comedy that I do not like personally, but who am I to tell someone not to try a joke out? These are jokes, if you can’t take a joke, do not ruin it for the rest of us.     

What makes you laugh uncontrollably?

I love watching epic fail videos on YouTube of people falling or hitting themselves. I sometimes I get sad because no matter how much I try, I will never be as funny as a kid playing tee ball hitting his dad in the nuts with a bat. Whatever makes a fourth grader laugh is the stuff that kills me. I’m simple-minded. I love stand-up but no comedian has made me laugh as hard as that.

You can find Jacob at the open mic at The Hood every Wednesday.

DACODA MIRACLE

I grew up in Hollister, CA (no affiliation with the clothing store). It’s a small town about an hour south of San Jose. If you’ve heard any country songs about cold beer, fishing, and driving on back roads then you’ve got the gist of what Hollister is like. We were by no means a wealthy family but they always did what it took to be comfortable and raise me right and that has given me the drive I have today.

Growing up, my dad and I would watch Friday night comedy specials on Comedy Central. So I was exposed to great comedy from a young age. I would watch the greats like Dave Chappelle, Dave Attel, Bill Burr and Greg Giraldo. I would also watch MADtv every day when I got home from school before I did homework. In a way, watching those shows was my homework. Bill Burr makes me laugh uncontrollably. He’s been my favorite comedian since I was around 12 years old. Outside of comedians, anytime my family gets together we are constantly laughing. Every time my cousin and I are together we just riff off each other. We could probably do a two man show.

My family has always been hilarious. My uncles, mom, dad, cousins, grandparents, I feel  very lucky to have a lot of funny people in my life and thankfully the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! I’ve talked a lot about my family already and how funny they are but more importantly we are a close family. 

I know that the Coachella Valley is as beautiful as it is scorching hot. There’s a reason everyone wants to be here (9 months out of the year). Also, I love the Palm Springs Film Festival. 

I’m just getting started in stand-up but I got my start doing improv comedy with ComedySportz in San Jose. So where I go from here is unknown. I’m just going to keep telling jokes and hopefully it’ll lead to something great. It hasn’t steered me wrong yet. 

I don’t think I’m qualified to say what is off limits in comedy. If it’s funny then it’s funny and everyone has their own definitions of what funny is. A lot of people laugh at pretty messed up jokes but then get offended when the topic gets to something about them or their life. 

ISABELLA LUISI

I have a story just like the next person. My dad died when I was 5 months old, and my mom did her best to raise my brother and me. I moved around a lot, and I had a lot of problems in school, but my mom put a lot of time and effort into me, she taught me to be strong and not to take shit from anyone. I learned how to make fun of rough situations, because laughter really is the best medicine. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her. 

My biggest comedic influences range from Kevin Smith to and Dave Chappelle. I grew up watching Jay and Silent Bob, and I used to love Kat Williams stand-up, the Pimp Chronicles and American Hustle.

My biggest non-comedic influences are my mom, my boyfriend, and my friends. They are my family. I feel very strongly about integrity, I’m always fighting myself about what the right thing to do is, and my family always inspires me to be the best that I can be. 

Being 23, I’m still learning my way through the valley, moving through different scenes. Things have changed in the 8 years I was gone. I’ve met some interesting people to say the least, but I can say this valley is exploding with talent. From painters to music to comedy, there are artists from all walks of life around here. I’m not afraid to ask anything, life is all about experience, and I’ll take as much as I can get.

I plan to work with as many comics as I can, learning as much as I possibly could from any open mic I go to, or show that I perform. I want to branch out of Palm Desert. One day I’d like to make my way to a stage somewhere in L.A, maybe even a movie with Seth Rogen. 

Part of writing jokes and performing on stage is knowing your audience and being able to relate to them. I enjoy shocking people with my vulgarity, but I tend to stay from rape jokes, or using the word “rape” in all in my sets. I personally do not think jokes about sexual assault are funny, therefore I don’t use them in my sets. Rape is not treated the way it should be in our culture today, for men or for women. I don’t think anyone should joke about it. 

Nothing makes me laugh harder than roasting my friends. I could spend 5 hours in a room with my homies just cracking jokes and talking smack, nothing is better than that. 

For now you can find my comedy at The Hood Bar & Pizza thanks to Nigel Dettelbach and Brad Guth. Maybe one day you’ll see me on Comedy Central.

Contact Isabella at wanda6595@aol.com

JOSE LEO CITAL

I’m the oldest of three boys. My mom and dad raised us in Calexico, CA. I think the uniqueness of Calexico helped me develop my sense of humor. My youngest brother, Danny, now lives in Florida. My brother, Carlos, passed away in 2005. I have two kids, Margot, 22, and Guillermo, 20. I have a beautiful girlfriend, Michelle, who, luckily for me, supports my comedy. She has two kids as well, Jaden, 18, and Chloe, 15. We still live in Calexico, but hope to move to a bigger city soon where I can do more comedy.

I was a big fan of sitcoms from elementary through high school. I loved watching Happy Days, Mork & Mindy, Three’s Company, Cheers, Seinfeld, and countless others. I think it was all those sitcoms I watched as a kid that helped develop my comedy style. When I was about 8 or 9 years old, we got HBO. That’s when I first discovered stand-up comedy. I would stay up late watching Rodney Dangerfield, Andrew Dice Clay and George Carlin. HBO was where I first found out that Robin Williams wasn’t just Mork from Ork, but a stand-up comedian too!

When I was in high school, I never expected to perform stand-up comedy. I thought I was going to be a rock star. Ha-ha! I am a big Jim Morrison fan. Jim liked to improvise during The Doors’ live performances. I try to do that, too…but not to the extent he did, of course. I’m pretty sure I will never show my penis in public.

When I was a kid, my Nana used to work in the fields in Coachella. When I was a teenager, KCLB 93.7 FM was my favorite radio station; they used to play all the best rock and heavy metal of the time. I will hopefully find people who are willing to pay me to make them laugh. I don’t expect to become a world famous comedian, but I would consider myself a success if I can just do comedy full-time.

It really depends on the audience to determine if a topic is off limits. I once hosted an open mic in El Centro and this girl from the audience came up and took the mic out of my hand after I told a joke about masturbating, because she was so offended by the joke. In her defense, the girl was funnier than the masturbation joke.

My friends make me laugh uncontrollably. All of my friends are really funny

I have a YouTube show called “Keggercast”, where I interview entertainers in the Imperial Valley.

You can contact Jose at jcital5150@gmail.com

CHRIS ARELLANO

Humor was always played a big role in my family growing up. My father’s humor was corny and my mother’s was raunchier. I’m somewhere in the middle.

George Carlin is up there for me. I love Bill Hicks, Richard Pryor, Bill Burr, and Jim Jefferies.

My biggest non-comedic influence has to be my English teacher back in high school, Mrs. Judy Jacklich. She helped me to get mechanics in my writing. Back in high school I even had an underground which I almost got expelled for. At the hearing one of the people on the board said, “You clearly have a talent, but you use it for evil.” It took everything I had not to laugh at the hearing.

From my visits to the Coachella Valley, it parallels some of the vibe from my hometown, Imperial Valley. It has its farmland, desert, parts you shouldn’t visit and those you should. It’s not as blatant here, but the stratification of classes of the haves and have nots are apparent. Yes, it is the place that holds that yearly festival yearly, but it’s so much more. One thing I learned in Coachella, a hot tub in 100+ degree heat is oddly refreshing.

Imperial Valley does have a stand-up comedy scene now. That wasn’t the case two years ago. Also, if one wants mic time one has to put on the shows. I’m seeking to move to either LA or San Diego for now to get more mic time and polish my craft. I want to do anything and everything my heroes have done to get a laugh from people; whether it’s sketch comedy, stand-up, hidden camera bits, man on the street, pranks, memes, etc. Comedy is about risk. If it’s funny, it’s fair game. I see comedy as being a sort of social lubricant. It’s there so we can discuss difficult subjects in a more palatable manner. Either everything can be joked about or nothing can.

In comedy, nothing is off-limits. People think being offended is on par with creation. Anybody can be butt-hurt about any given subject. It doesn’t take much these days. I saw a Mexican seafood place in San Diego called “Titanic” with a big picture of the boat sinking. 100 years ago one wouldn’t have been able to get away with that, now nobody bats an eye. Comedy is so many things, one of them is the ability to laugh at pain, even our own. The job of comedy is to transmute tears into laughter. Those who are easily defined are easily offended.

One of my openers is to tell people, “Don’t worry, I have something to offend everyone.”

Deep down inside, everybody wants to be made fun of to some degree and by not picking on someone you are then picking on them by not including them.

Some things that make me laugh uncontrollably are when Paula Dean got hit in the face with a frozen ham during a food drive, when Kelsey Grammer fell off the stage during a speech or remembering when Michael Jordan thought he could play baseball.

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