Brooklyn born and raised, Crystian Ramirez first hit the stand-up comedy stage at the early age of 15. Taking cues from his Latino upbringing, the comedian of Dominican and Panamanian descent serves up sidesplitting stories of his fearless mom and him disappointing the philandering men in his family because Ramirez chooses to be in a monogamous relationship.
Ramirez is a regular in New York City comedy clubs, and has traveled the country sharing his whimsical stories of family, relationships and growing up in NYC. Having been featured on BET’s Comic View, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, and on Comedy Central’s Adam Devine’s House Party, Ramirez hits the Entre Nos stage with stories of where he is currently in life. “People are about to see me trying to have fun. Trying to have fun with the crowd, and telling them what’s been going on with me,” he told HBO Latino.
Pulling from his personal life is what make his sets relatable to audiences, which is something that he aims to do every time he hits the stage. “I feel like the best shows come from my emotions. When something gets you really mad or something makes you really happy, that’s when you have to start writing because there’s a passion behind it,” he explained, adding, “And then, you take it to the stage with that fresh delivery like you just thought of it. That’s a feeling that they’re going to remember.”
Erik Rivera’s venture into comedy came as a way to seek solace after the attacks on 9/11. During that time, Rivera was attending Pace University, which is located steps away from the World Trade Center. “After 9/11, our campus was on edge. We had gone through a lot. And so, I came up with the idea to do these comedy relief shows that could’ve sort of helped the students forget. That’s my favorite thing about comedy. For however long a show is—an hour or a half hour—you leave your problems at the door,” Rivera told ‘LLERO. The turnout for his shows was overwhelming, Rivera recalls, and it was at that moment that he says that he fell in love with stand-up comedy.
With a newfound passion, Rivera began hitting up the open mics at local NYC comedy clubs, which came with its challenges. “There are always challenges in comedy as with anything else. Especially in New York, where it’s such a big scene with all of the open mics, doing gigs for little to no money, the growing pains of bombing onstage. It’s part of the growth,” he said. “There were days where I’d get no laughs, and I would think about quitting, but the love of it keeps you going.”
It was the love for comedy that helped propel him to the small screen, like his late-night debut on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, followed by appearances on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and his role on CBS’s sitcom, Superior Donuts, where they tackled the hot topic of immigration in the United States.
“I think that’s our job as comedians, to tackle those issues, and find the humor in them. If you’re on social media, or even in life in general, you see how crazy it’s getting with any topic, so it’s our jobs to bring light to it and, sort of, poke fun at it. Or else, you’re going to go crazy and will constantly be fighting on social media,” Rivera explained.
During his Entre Nos set, however, he says he’s discussing his life as a married man. “If you’re married, in a relationship or have a girlfriend, you will understand. I am saying the stuff that you wish you could say, but you can’t say aloud,” he shared, adding, “If you watch with your wife, you can laugh on the inside, and then hit me up on social media later to tell me that you totally agree with me.”
For Rivera, the beauty of HBO Latino’s Entre Nos is that it has become a platform for Latino comedians to get their time in the limelight.
“I think that HBO Latino is doing a great job of creating [Entre Nos]. On April 26th, you’re going to watch people of all different types of Latino backgrounds that you may not know and you’re going to be introduced to,” he said. “Nobody has created a platform like this for Latino comedians that sort of introduces the world to other comedians that Latino-Americans can relate to.”