I met Erick Esteban on the set of an AFI film called “Unrest” several years ago. We have collaborated on the sketch comedy show we featured on Kababayan Today on several occasions, and when I heard about him getting back into the swing of stand-up, I knew it was important to share this information with kababayans. Get to know the man behind the parody of Minny Pacquiao.
G: Tell us how you got started doing comedy?
Erick: I started out back in Chicago at Second City & Improv Olympic. I was lucky enough to study with the Improv Guru-Del Close. And I did shows with the Business Touring Company for Second City. I continued to the Groundlings out here in Los Angeles and then began producing Minny Pacquiao. Incidentally I came up with Minny Pacquiao during a Groundlings long form improv show.
G: The idea to do Minny Paquiao is/was brilliant. Tell us how you developed that concept.
E: I got the idea from playing Manny Pacquiao in an Improv scene at the Groundlings and combined it with a classic comedy bit I saw on the Carol Burnett Show when I was a kid. Tim Conway’s midget golfer was such a hilarious sketch to me when I first saw it. Martin Lawrence and his snot nose kid character on his TV show was another great sketch and Minny Pacquiao is the Filipino-American version of these characters.
G: You took a break from performing for a while. Why? What did you learn being away from it for some time?
E: My wife & I had two daughters, Melia & Marley. I took some time to be a Dad. Those moments happen only once and you can’t rewind so I wanted to take full advantage of watching my babies turn into beautiful young ladies. Not to mention the trials of fatherhood are wonderful fodder for comedy.
G: Talk about your transition to doing stand-up comedy. What are the challenges?
E: It’s funny the first time I did stand up comedy was a little over a year ago back in my hometown in Chicago and I have to say in my 15+ years of auditioning for roles, I’ve never felt more perfectly cast. I think my father said it best right after my first show in Chicago [when] he came up to me and he said, “You should’ve been doing this 10 years ago.”
G: What is your advice for Fil-Am artists trying to break into comedy?
E: I have the cartoon character of Manny Pacquiao tattooed on the inside of my right ankle to always remind me, every journey begins with a the first step. The only advice I would have for Fil-Am artists, actors and comedians out there is, get out there and do it. Tell your story. There’s no one else in the world who can tell your story the way you tell it. Take an improv class. Go to an open mic. It doesn’t happen overnight but it won’t happen at all if you don’t take the first step.
G: What is your ultimate goal as a performer?
E: My ultimate goal as a performer is to tell my stories to as many people who will listen and to inspire people like me to tell their story.
G: What can people expect at this gig you are doing on September 18?
E: While I was doing Minny Pacquiao I did a one-man show called ‘a Fight Club for One.’ It was a show that highlighted a lot of the altercations and struggles that I face growing up as a Filipino kid in Chicago and that is where a lot of my comedy comes from.
Watch Erick Esteban on Sunday, Sept. 18 at the world-famous Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Doors open at 7:45 p.m. Show starts at 9 p.m. Get your advance seats at http://www.laughstub.com/events/426417.