Felipe Esparza - A Violent Journey to Comedy - Uncensored

Melee 03/22/2016 Views: 1,969

Felipe Esparza explains how his downward spiral into gangs and drugs eventually led him to become a comedian. (12:05)

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- I was scared now, becauseif he's not pressing charges,

that means he wants to kill me.


So me, out of paranoia,I got hooked on crack.


I mean, I got hooked on crack!

[dark electronic music]

[cheers and applause]

- Every time I see him, heputs everybody in a good mood.

He's fuckingeverybody's best friend.

Ladies and gentlemen,please give it up

for Mr. Felipe Esparza.

Let him hear it.

[cheers and applause]

- My name is Felipe Esparza.

I grew up, like,five miles from here,

in Boyle Heights,the capital of East Los Angeles.

What's up, fool?

And this is howI became a comedian one night.

I've always wantedto be a comedian,

since I was a little kid.

My friend Jackie Escalera,he had a--

one of those littlerecord players you--

you plug in,and we heard

Bill Cosbyfor the first time.

And I said,"Man, that's funny."

And I memorized it,and I said,

"I wanna be just like him."

Not anymore, but--


But I wanted to bejust like him.

So I grew up, and...

I got older, and I didn't followmy dream, you know,

to be a comedian,so I end up--got--

I got jumped to a--I got jumped into a gang.

I didn't really wanna getjumped into a gang,

but I was hanging aroundwith them too much,

so then one day they asked me,"So what's up, Batman?

You wanna get jumped in?"

And they punched me,and I got jumped in.


And my name was Batman.

They chose Batman becauseI wore Batman shirts every day,

and they werejust underwear, though.

They were Underoos.


So one night, you know,my friends and I, we know--

We liked goingto the drive-in movie theaters,

because you could sneakin one person--and Mexicans,

we're used to sneaking inpeople anyway, so.


So we're drinkingat the drive-in theater,

watching the "Terminator 2,"

that's how long it goes,

and I lovethe "Terminator 2", man.

I love all the "Terminator"s.

'Cause the story about somebodythat they hate you so much,

that they're gonna bringsomebody who's not even

fucking born...


To kill your fucking mom.


I said, "I got to watchthis shit."

So, you know, we're--we're,you know, little gangster guys,

you know, my friend Donaldand my friend Bobo.

You know, they say,

"Hey, Batman,you wanna smoke some PCP?"

I said, "Fuck it, why not?

Let's getinto the 'Terminator.'"

So we're smoking PCPat the drive-in theater,

and I don't knowhow we made it home

without killing anybody.

But we made it home safe,thank God,

but when we gotto the neighborhood,

there was, like,a lot of people there.

They were partying; it was,like, 1:30 in the morning.

Everybody was--The whole neighborhood was out;

there were no police,because the police doesn't come

to our neighborhood at night,

and there was this guy therewho was, like--

I like to say,'cause he was older than me--

I was only 21;he was 30.

And in my neighborhood,if you're 30, your life is over.


So I looked at himlike an old man,

because nobody in myneighborhood really made it

to be 25.

So he should've been deada long time ago.

So he--he don't like me,because I'm a popular guy

in the neighborhood;I'm funny; I'm likable.

And he goes,"What's up, Batman?

I heard you beat upmy friend Batman."

And I did.

Um, this guycame out of prison,

and he said, "I heardthey call you Batman,"

I said, "Yeah, well,some people do."

"Well, I'm the real Batman."

And I said, "Whoa, you know,I could be the Joker right now."


Penguin, Riddler...

So him and I end up fighting,and didn't--

It didn't go too well for him.

So this guy goes, "You know,um, that's not right,

the way you beat up my homey,"and I said,

"Well, I didn't reallywanna fight him

for the name, you know?"

So he ended up punching mein the face right away,

and I was on PCP,

so I don't know if he punched meor his friend,

'cause I was lookingat two people, you know?


And...he hit me really hard.

My eyes closed right away.I was, like--

you know, like Rocky.

"Cut me, Mick," you know?

So he starts punching me morein the face,

the other eye, busted lip.

I can't fight.

I might be 6'1", 270 pounds,

but this is just for looks.


This is just...armor.


This is a shieldto hide that I'm a big pussy.

So he's punching me,and nobody's helping me;

like, every--

Nobody's watching.It was too soon.

Nobody was yelling"World Star," or they would.

There was justthe same stuff, like,

"Man, could this be the endof the Dark Knight?"

He is strangling me now,like, I can't breathe,

and he's, like, strangling me,and nobody's helping me.

Now, he's reallychoking me to death.

So I didn't know what to do,

so I ended up bitinghalf his ear off.

Before Tyson, who--He hacked me.

So now I'm, like,chewing his ear,

like Ozzy Osbourne, you know?

Running to the--You know, crazy train...

I was like, "Fun!"

I don't remember this part,because I blanked out,

of course, because of the PCPand the alcohol,

but my friends told me thatI ended up taking my belt off

and started whipping him,also, in the streets.

So he had likea "Hecho en México"

on his forehead.


He ends up goingto the hospital, and he--

He didn't press charges,you know?

Because he could'vepressed charges.

He didn't press chargesbecause he's not a rat.

You know? He's a--He's a hardcore guy,

and I was like, fuck--I was scared now,

because if he's notpressing charges,

that meanshe wants to kill me.


So me, out of paranoia,I got hooked on crack.


I mean, I got hooked on crack!

I was walkingaround the neighborhood

like Jeff Dunhamwith no puppets.

[laughter and applause]

Tweaking hard.

And I was still wearingthe same shirt

from the bloody night,

so I looked like a walker.

So I'm scared, you know?

My mom was scared, because...

she knows that they're after me.

So I come from a familywhere nobody says, "I'm sorry,"

Nobody had ever said,"I'm sorry."

My mom never told me,"I'm sorry."

My dad never said,"I'm sorry."

So my Mom was praying,

and this priestcomes to my house,

Father Greg Boyle,

from Homeboy Industries.

He tells me that,"Your mom told me

that you're walking aroundwith a loaded pistol."

And then I was,"Who told you that?"

"Well, you've been tellingeveryone in the neighborhood

that you have a loaded pistol."

So I give him the loaded pistol,

and he puts me in rehab,but I don't wanna go to rehab,

because I feel likeI'm pussing out, you know?

Like, "Rehab?I could take this guy.

You know, I already bitbit half his ear off."


So I go to rehab,and I have a black eye

from the fight, you know?

I'm all--I'm all messed up.

I'm like a young--I'm a loser, what I am.

I didn't mean anything--I'm a fucking loser.

And I'm there in rehabwith heroin addicts,

and I'm praying every night;I'm crying every night.

I don't know, I'm too--I'm, like--

I wanna escape, but I don't knowhow to get home.

And this real nice guy--I'll never forget his name--

from the valley--this Irish guy named Tim.

He comes up to me one day,and he goes,

"Felipe, what did you everwanna be in your life?"

And I said,"Before a crackhead?"


"I wanted to be a comedian.I wanted to be a comedian."

And he goes, "Why don't youwrite that down?

"So write down five things

that you wannaaccomplish in life."

And nobody's evertold me that, like,

five thingsto accomplish in life.

Nobody had told me--

I never thought I would livethis long to be here,

at Cheetah's,and not being kicked out.


And, so--

[cheers and applause]

I wrote down,"I wanna be a comedian,"

and the second thing was,"I wanna be happy,"

and the third one was,"Because I love Olive Garden,

I wanna go to Italy."


And four and five,I didn't write shit,

because I thought--I couldn'tthink of anything else, man.


So I--I graduateout of rehab--

you know,my first time graduating.

I got a one year diplomafor being sober.

I come back home,and who do I see?

Half ear.

I see the guy I fought,you know?

And I wanted to tell himI'm sorry, you know?

Because I really was sorry,

even thoughhe started the fight,

but I really felt sorry'cause I was sober.

And I rememberhe came up to me, and--

Fuck, man.

He wanted to fight.


He said, "I'ma kill you!"

d, "I'Anmad kI-il-Al ndyo Iu! t"ur

n my--

I turn the other cheek;

like, I didn't even fight.

I just gave him my back,

and he kicked the Bibleoff my hand, you know?

Like, "You're nota fucking Christian.

You're a [bleep]."You know?

And I was like, "Ugh!"I held it in, you know?

Not to do nothing to him,

And then I ran inside the house,and I was crying.

I said, "Man, everybodygonna think

I'm a big [bleep],a big pussy."

I took my shirt off,threw my Bible in the air,

and I ran outside,and my dad clotheslined me,

"What are you doing?

Don't you wanna be a comedian?"

And I said,"Oh, yeah, I do. I do."

So I went back insideand didn't do nothing.

And I'm proud of that,

because I probably would'vekilled him, and--

If you're aliveand you're watching this,

I hope your lifeturned out great.

Mine did okay.I'm very sorry.

Thank you very much.

[dark electronic music]

[cheers and applause]