Mar 15, 2024 - News

Venezuelan comic brings Spanish set to Austin

Photo illustration of Venezuelan comedian, Angelo Colina collaged with abstract shapes.

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Angelo Colina

U.S. Latino comedians have largely become successful by performing in English, but one Venezuelan comic is flipping the narrative by selling out shows, including this weekend's Austin show, and drawing a massive online following with his entirely Spanish-language sets.

The big picture: The surging popularity of 29-year-old Angelo Colina comes as demand for Spanish-language content grows, Axios' Salt Lake City's Kim Bojórquez reports.

  • The U.S. is home to the second-largest population of Spanish speakers in the world, behind Mexico.
  • Nearly one-third of Texans and 21% of Travis County residents speak Spanish at home, according to 2018-2022 U.S. Census Bureau data.

Zoom in: Most successful Latino comedians — think George Lopez and Cristela Alonzo — have long performed in English.

Like Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, who has never released an English-only track to appease commercial audiences, Colina doesn't feel the need to constrain himself to English-speaking audiences.

  • "Doing comedy in English … you really have to explain why you have an accent. You kinda go into these identity politics," he says.
  • In 2021, Colina teamed up with Venezuelan comedian Andrés Sereno to launch a tour called "Español Please."

What's next: Colina is on a national tour, intentionally visiting cities that don't have a robust Latino population, including Indianapolis, Indiana; Columbus, Ohio; and Louisville, Kentucky.

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