"Latinos are black, white, brown, beige. What does that say about our ancestors? We'll sleep with anybody!" Paul Rodriguez
Mexican-American comedian Paul Rodriguez, who performed at L.A.'s famous The Comedy Store, has branched out as an actor, writer, director and producer in TV and feature films. He starred in the films "D.C. Cab" (1983), "Miracles" (1986), "Quicksilver" (1986), "Born in East L.A." (1987), "Made in America" (1993), "A Million to Juan" (1994), "Melting Pot" (1998), "Price of Glory" (2000), "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles" (2001), "Tortilla Soup" (2001), "Rat Race" (2001), "Ali" (2001), "Blood Work" (2002), "Chasing Papi" (2003), "How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your A**" (2003) and "A Cinderella Story" (2004). His upcoming films include "Vicious Circle," "Lonely Street" and "Beverly Hills Chihuahua."
Rodriguez has appeared in countless television series and specials, most notably the ABC sitcom "a.k.a. Pablo" (1984), in which he starred as struggling Hispanic stand-up comic Paul 'Pablo' Rivera, and the Showtime dramatic series "Resurrection Blvd.," in which he played the recurring role of Paulie (2000-2001). He also won an NCLR Bravo Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Variety or Music Series/Special for his performance in "Latino Laugh Festival" (1996). Additionally, he wrote, produced and starred in the specials "Paul Rodriguez Live!: I Need the Couch" (1986) and "The Original Latin Kings of Comedy" (2002), as well as the TV series "Show de Paul Rodriguez, El" (1990) and "Loco Slam" (1994).
Childhood and Family:
Born in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, to parents who were migrant farm laborers, Paul Rodriguez moved from state to state as a child, working with his family as a fruit picker, before eventually settling in Los Angeles. He attended Roosevelt High School before serving in the military, where he was stationed in Iceland and Duluth, Minnesota, and the Philippines as a Communications Officer in the Air Force. After finishing his military service, he went to California State University on the GI bill.
Rodriguez has one son, Paul Rodriguez Jr., who is a professional skateboarder and won the gold medal in the 2004 X Games Skateboard Street Competition. Rodriguez was a close friend of late stand-up comedian and actor Richard Jeni.
In the 1990s, Rodriguez, who once moved with his family to Compton a month before the Watts riots and claimed to be a member of the Compton Varrio Setentas street gang when he was a teenager, began helping the El Centro Police Activites Leage raise money to help keep the Imperial Valley youths off the streets and out of gangs. In early 2005, the city of El Centro announced that January 22nd would be named "Paul Rodriguez Day.”
Latino Laugh Festival
Initially planning to become an attorney, Paul Rodriguez became interested in comedy while taking elective courses at college. He sharpened his stand-up act at L.A.'s famous The Comedy Store while working as a doorman there. In the late '70s, he got his first break as an opening act for others at various concerts and universities and as a warm-up comic on Norman Lear's short-lived sitcom starring Sally Struthers, "Gloria" (1982).
In 1983, Rodriguez made his feature acting debut in the Joel Schumacher-directed comedy film starring Mr. T, Max Gail, Adam Baldwin, and Gary Busey, "D.C. Cab." The following year, he starred as struggling Hispanic stand-up comic Paul 'Pablo' Rivera on the ABC sitcom "a.k.a. Pablo," which was produced by Lear. First airing on ABC on March 6, 1984, the show was canceled after seven broadcasts.
Rodriguez subsequently branched out as a host on FOX's late-night talk show "The Late Show" (1986). He followed it up with another hosting job on the syndicated "The All New Newlywed Game" (1988). As an actor, he co-starred with Teri Garr and Christopher Lloyd in Jim Kouf's independent comedy "Miracles" (1986) and with Kevin Bacon and Jami Gertz in Thomas Michael Donnelly's thriller "Quicksilver" (1986). He also teamed up with Michael O'Keefe in John Byrum's comedy movie "The Whoopee Boys" (1986) and portrayed Cheech Marin's cousin in the Marin-directed indie comedy "Born in East L.A." (1987). On the small screen, TV viewers could catch him in the pilot episode of "Hardesty House" and guest starring in an episode of the anthology series "Tall Tales and Legends," NBC’s sitcom "The Golden Girls," and the short-lived "Trial and Error."
Entering the new decade, Rodriguez had a recurring role on the CBS action adventure series "Grand Slam" (1990). He made his debut as a TV producer with "Paul Rodriguez: Behind Bars" (1991), in which he also appeared with Ice-T. He then appeared as Ralph, The Angel, in the comedic TV movie starring Kevin Conroy, "Hi Honey - I'm Dead" (1991), headlined the HBO live show "Live in San Quentin, Paul Rodriguez" (1995), and was featured in "Latino Laugh Festival" (1996), which won him an NCLR Bravo Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Variety or Music Series/Special. He was also spotted as a guest in an episode of the PBS long-running show "Great Performances," the educational series "The Eddie Files," CBS’ drama "Touched by an Angel," and FOX's Emmy-winning cartoon series "King of the Hill." Additionally, he made the pilot for The WB sitcom "The Paul Rodriguez Show" in 1998 and received an ALMA Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Individual or Act in a Variety or Comedy Special for his performance in the TV special “Comic Relief VIII” (1998).
During this time, Rodriguez executive-produced and starred in the HBO stand-up comedy series "Loco Slam" (1994) and made his feature directorial debut with the comedy "A Million to Juan" (1994), a modern spin on Mark Twain's story "The Million-Pound Bank Note.”
Rodriguez supported Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson in Richard Benjamin's successful comedy film "Made in America" (1993) and was cast in Matthew Harrison's independent drama starring Jason Andrews, "Rhythm Thief" (1994). He also shared the screen with Bridget Fonda, Russell Crowe, and Jim Broadbent in Clare Peploe's film adaptation of James Hadley Chase's novel "Rough Magic" (1995) and played the lead role of a house painter who runs for City Council in Tom Musca's independent political drama film "Melting Pot" (1998), opposite CCH Pounder.
Hitting the new millennium, Rodriguez co-starred with Jimmy Smits in Carlos Ávila's boxing drama "Price of Glory," with Danny Aiello in Reuben Gonzalez's delightful romantic drama/comedy "Mambo Café," and with William Forsythe in Christopher Coppola's comedy "G-Men from Hell." He also played a recurring role on the Showtime dramatic series "Resurrection Blvd." and provided his voice in the family TV movie "Ready to Run."
2001 saw Rodriguez play featured roles in Simon Wincer's comedy starring Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski, "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles," the Razzie Award-nominated sequel to the 1988 film "Crocodile Dundee II," and Spanish director Maria Ripoll's remake of Ang Lee's "Eat Drink Man Woman," "Tortilla Soup," in which he played Elizabeth Peña's love interest and received an ALMA Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. Also in 2001, he appeared in Jerry Zucker's comedy "Rat Race" and co-starred with Matthew Modine, Elizabeth Berkley, and Nicholas Turturro in Alex Wright's indie comedy "The Shipment." Additionally, he portrayed Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, Muhammed Ali's former personal physician, in Michael Mann's biopic about the boxing legend, "Ali," starring Will Smith.
Afterward, Rodriguez appeared in Harry Basil's independent comedy "Back by Midnight" (2002), Clint Eastwood's film version of Michael Connelly's novel, "Blood Work" (2002), and Rich Christiano's "Time Changer" (2002; opposite D. David Morin and Gavin MacLeod). He also had an unaccredited role in Linda Mendoza's comedy "Chasing Papi" (2003), played roles in Mario Van Peebles's homage to his father Melvin's 1971 film, "How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your A**" (2003), and appeared in Mark Rosman's modern day fairytale starring Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray, "A Cinderella Story" (2004). He also guest-starred in an episode of the PBS drama starring Edward James Olmos and Constance Marie, "American Family," the anthology series "The Twilight Zone," Disney Channel's animated sitcom "The Proud Family," Nickelodeon's animated series "Dora the Explorer," and Disney Channel’s original comedy series "The Buzz on Maggie."
Rodriguez was recently seen in Roger Donaldson's film based on the legendary speed bike racer from New Zealand named Burt Munro (portrayed by Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins), "The World's Fastest Indian" (2005), Harry Basil's volleyball comedy "Cloud 9" (2006; opposite Burt Reynolds), and Damon 'Coke' Daniels' comedy "Swap Meet" (2006). He also lent his voice to the straight-to-video released animated movie "Holidaze: The Christmas That Almost Didn't Happen" (2006) and appeared in David Siqueiros' "One Long Night" (2007).
Rodriguez will soon complete his upcoming films, "Vicious Circle," a drama directed by Paul Boyd which also stars his son Paul Rodriguez Jr., "Lonely Street," Peter Ettinger's film version of Steve Brewer's novel starring Jay Mohr, and "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," a live-action comedy film by Walt Disney Pictures.
NCLR Bravo: Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Variety or Music Series/Special, "Latino Laugh Festival," 1996