Who is Cristela Alonzo? And why is she the Latina in Charge? (LIC)


By Cityfella

46 years ago, ” Julia premiered on NBC.   Its was the first television show featuring a black person non stereotypical role.  Diahann Carroll was a nurse in a Doctors office.

Poor People Don’t Dream

Cristela Alonzo was born 35 years ago in San Juan, a small town in South Texas near the Mexican border.      She and her family spent the first eight years of her life as squatters in an abandoned diner.   Her family was very poor, they lived hand to mouth.   Her mother didn’t believe in dreams,  she believed ,that was something rich people did.   But Cristela dreamed, she was in theater at the Phar-San Juan Alamo High School and after graduating she wanted more than her small town would offer. The pending move didn’t sit well with her mother who promised never to speak to her if she moved away.   Her mother made good on her threat, and for over a year didn’t speak to Cristela, who found a passion in stand up comedy.

In an interview with Comospolitan she says: My mom never learned how to speak English, so a lot of my TV was split in half. We’d watch Mexican TV and all the novelas, but then we’d have American sitcoms. I grew up thinking that Latinos only did things in Spanish. I didn’t think we could do television in English, because you never really saw that. But what I love about the Rio Grande Valley area where I grew up is that it’s such an amazing marriage of American and Mexican cultures that I didn’t know that everybody didn’t have that experience until I moved out of there.

Funny

Cristela traveled all over the country doing stand up.  In 2010, Cristela appeared on NBC’s  Last Comic Standing and was a semi-finalists. .

Every year Variety editors compile a list of the ten funny folks based on industry input.   Past honorees have included Amy Schumer, Lewis Black, Louis C.K., Patton Oswalt and Maria Bamford.    Other publications have noticed her.    Cosmopolitan she was was one of the “13 Funniest Women to watch in 2014” who was joined by La Weekly who said she was one of ” La’s 10 Comedy Acts to Watch in 2014″ .  Time out LA said she was one of “11 Comics To Watch in 2014 and Vulture said she was ” One of the 50 Comics You Should and will Know”

Maybe Vulture was on to something.  Millions of people will get to know  Cristela tonight as her show premiers on ABC.

Latina In Charge? (LIC)

Cristela Alonzo is the first, latina who has ever created, written,produced, and starred in her own television show.

The show ,loosely based on her family is a tribute to her mother who died in 2002.

Too much or not enough

The toughest critics are your own people.  “Juila’ debuted the top ten in rating in its first year.  The show was critzied for being unrealistic.  This was 1968, and no one had seen a black professional on television before.  Living in an integrated apartment building.  It was unimaginable for a black women to live outside of a  crime filled ghetto.  Most of the criticism came from the black community.

Cristela is not the first network show based on a latino family, its is the first centered around a latina.  There will be criticism from the Mexican community, she will be either too much or not enough. This was true of ‘All American Girl” with Margaret Cho, who may have been a victim of non Asian writers.

 On the west coast, “Cristela” is on Friday’s at 8:30 on ABC