Chicago-bred comedian to bring laughs to Eastern

Oscar Correa, Staff Reporter

The University Board will be having stand-up comedian Alex Ortiz in honor of Latin American Heritage Month at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 in 7th Street Underground.

The comedian was born in New York, but grew up in Chicago.

“Being raised in Humboldt Park was being raised in the ghetto, yet it was a good neighborhood for being Puerto Rican,” Ortiz said.

He considers himself to have been a “smart aleck” when he was younger. He said he would sneak out his mother’s albums and listen to his comedy role models like Cheech and Chong and Red Fox.

He said his comedy has been shaped by his heritage and he gives credit to having Latino parents as an inspiration.

“Growing up in a Puerto Rican house has influenced everything,” he said.

At 18 he enlisted in the army and became a combat medical specialist and later a nurse.

He has also been a firefighter and he did not decide to become a comedian until his 30s.

Ortiz said throughout all his service work, having a good sense of humor and always laughing is important to get through both good and tough situations.

The first time he decided to pick up the microphone was on the south side of Chicago, and he knew at that moment comedy was his calling.

His first time on television was on Comic View on BET, which he said was nerve-racking, especially the first five minutes.

He said he got over his nerves by going out and “killing it,” because having the right mind is key.

“Have a good time, sit back and enjoy the ride,” he said.

He has since been on Comedy Central and HBO as well.

He has just finished his first movie called “Assassination of the Citizen” about drug dealing and gangbanging in which he plays the lead role.

He said he wanted to follow the footsteps of actors like Jim Carrey who immerse themselves so far into their characters that they become them.

He said his style of comedy is mainstream with a universal style of jokes.

“I talk about life,” he said. “If you’re alive and living, you will get my jokes.”

He said he used to have a hard persona, but being in mainstream comedy is more relaxed.

Ortiz classifies his style as “mainstream with a touch of hood,” and he prefers shows that have little to no censorship.

“I don’t cuss a lot, but it’s nice to be able to let it slip out,” he said.

This will be his first time performing at Eastern.

Ortiz is currently living in Burbank, California but said he still misses Chicago.

“It got the world’s greatest food,” he said.

He said his advice to comedians in the making is to let go of their fears.

“Just do it, grab a mike and do it,” Ortiz said. “The more you do it, the more you learn.”

Oscar Correa can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]