Comedian, Orlando Leyba, has had an exciting year. With side-splitting stand-up performances on HBO Latino’s Entre Nos Part 3 and on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Leyba is poised for his next feat, as HBO Latino prepares to bring him back for a second act. This time, it’s for his own solo 30-minute special titled Orlando Leyba: Adorable, debuting on November 16.
Fresh off his set on The Tonight Show, the Dominican comedian sat down to chat with ‘LLERO about his upcoming HBO Latino special, his journey to get to this point in his career, and he even offered up key advice for aspiring comedians.
On Starting Out in Comedy…
‘LL: What started you down the path to becoming a comedian?
Orlando Leyba: In every group of friends, there’s always one—either you or one of your other friends—that’s always funny, and I was that guy. First, you can obviously tell that I talk a lot, and in order to talk a lot, you have to be able to throw in some funny stuff, so I became the funny one in my group. I was also not a fighter, so that’s how I combated bullies, with my sense of humor. You’re not going to beat up the funny guy. People are going to get mad at you if you do. So, I became funny by just letting my mouth run and entertaining my crew.
Then, some way, somehow, my wife—I’m blessed to have a great wife—her name is Vanessa Lozano. So, Vanessa says, “You should get on stage, and the stupidness that you bother me with you should do it on stage.” And, that’s what I did. I went to an open mic at the Miami Improv eight years ago, and magic happened. I’m so grateful. I surrounded myself with great comics, like Sebastian Maniscalco, Dave Williamson, Jim Jeffries, Chris D’Elia. All of these guys embraced me. Patton Oswalt, who I tour with now. It’s weird because here’s this Latino, and I’m traveling in these circles. It usually doesn’t happen that way, but I’ve been blessed to travel in those circles.
‘LL: What was it about comedy that made you pursue it further?
Orlando Leyba: It’s like this high that travels between the audience and myself while I’m on stage. It’s this strain of wonderful energy. If there was an example of you being your natural self, then my natural state is to worry about your joy and your happiness. That’s how I natu-rally feel when I’m on stage. I even say a little thing to the universe before I get on stage, and that is, “Let me bring joy when I get on stage to those who need it right now.” And, after shows, I’ve had those interactions with people who say, “Hey, man, after this week, I really needed that laugh.” That’s exactly what I was put on that stage to do, to give you that—and, it’s great.
‘LL: Were there any challenges you faced when you first ventured into comedy?
Orlando Leyba: No challenges. I really didn’t encounter any challenges. I was blessed that when I came out, these veteran comics let me come around their circles. Kind of like if you see Crashing on HBO—there were certain tables that new comics weren’t allowed to sit at. I got welcomed to those tables. They would let me sit there, and I was always smart enough to not open my mouth at those tables and just take everything in. I’m a great listener, and I’m able to bring it back to help me structure my jokes.
On Linking Up with HBO…
‘LL: How did the new special for HBO Latino come about?
Orlando Leyba: The new special came by way of the process that big things come from small begin-nings. The five minutes from Entre Nos Part 3 made that much of an impression that HBO Latino came back and offered me a half hour, which is an amazing blessing.
‘LL: We understand that you’re the first comedian to receive your own solo half hour special on HBO Latino.
Orlando Leyba: On HBO Latino, yes. I’m the first comedian, and I have my fingers crossed because I really want to deliver. I know it means a lot to: a) the culture and b) to those comics that are coming up behind me who I really wish also get the opportunity.
More about what to expect from Adorable and some sage advice for comedians on the come up, after the jump…