Melbourne based Filipino Lorenzo Laraño has always wanted to pursue his dreams. Working in retail for quite some time, he thought he’d take a leap of faith to experience what it might be like to do stand-up comedy.
After a number of gigs in Sydney and Melbourne, he had the opportunity for his biggest gig yet – at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2020. Sadly, the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Lorenzo found a new avenue to expand his comedic craft online.
One of Lorenzo’s most successful videos, reaching over one million views online:
The Philippine Times has interviewed Lorenzo to discover more about his experience, and learn about how the pandemic provided an opportunity for him to write and create engaging videos on Facebook which have gone viral:
When and how did you discover your passion in stand-up comedy?
Last year, after I turned 31 years of age, I decided to take a risk and dive into stand-up comedy without any type of training. It is a dream that I’ve always wanted to pursue for a very long time but was always too scared of the “what if’s.”
I went to open mic comedy 5-7 nights a week to hone my craft and just kept at practicing my jokes and writing. Promoters were soon asking me if I wanted to headline at their shows. This was around about 3-4 months into it.
By the end of 2019, I was even asked to headline and emcee an interstate gig in Sydney. For me, this was a milestone as I didn’t expect to be headlining a spot in Melbourne, let alone have a promoter from interstate trust me with my style of comedy.
Did you experience any challenges along the way?
About a year ago I felt like I was wasting a lot of potential working a normal 9-5 job in retail. Working in retail was decent enough money that paid the bills for my wife and newborn baby, but I felt like it was definitely something I didn’t enjoy or loved to do.
My parents always had this idea ingrained in me to pursue a job/career that will put food on the table, but never emphasised on pursuing what you love or enjoy in LIFE.
It was also hard being a Filipino who grew up in New Zealand as my type of humour wasn’t the typical Aussie humour that people could relate to. My first open mic I did terrible, but I made sure I didn’t let it discourage me.
I felt like 2020 was going to be my year until COVID-19 happened, a curse and a blessing in disguise. Initially I was set for my debut for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Show but all that came to a halt with the world pandemic. With everything being cancelled and closed, I felt like I was back to square one.
How have you been able to continue doing comedy during the pandemic?
Instead of feeling doom and gloom I decided to hit the comedy scene from a different angle. At home I had cameras that were not being utilised so I put them to work. I started my own comedy cooking show/comedy sketch channel on Facebook “El Covido Gangsta Cooking Show.”
Before COVID-19 I had about 300 followers. Then four to five months later I have over 71,000 followers. It was a success and the followers are still growing.
My sketches are getting millions of views and I’ve found that my videos have reached all the way to my homeland of the Philippines and millions of viewers are enjoying what they are watching.
How has your comedy made an impact on others during the pandemic?
Some of the personal messages have even gone to the extent to tell me that my videos have taken them out of the depression caused by this pandemic through my comedy and good vibes.
Fathers and their kids are dressing and cooking like the characters in my sketches, I feel like I have built a small community where people can have fun and take their mind away from all the stress that’s happening in our current situation.
For me, that is what COMEDY is all about. We are all creators deep down at heart and I enjoy creating something that I love with only positive intentions attached. Since then I have always made it my main drive and to break through that safe mould of working a 9-5 job.
If I can make people’s day better through my comedy even for a brief moment it is a massive win for me. Something that I will always strive to keep doing and pursue as my career progresses.
Visit Lorenzo’s comedic work on Facebook @ElCovidoStyles.
Contact and follow Lorenzo Laraño:
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