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"Featured Comedian Q & A: Thai Rivera"

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Arizona's Best, Entertainment — January 24, 2012 9:17 pm
Featured Comedian Q&A: Thai Rivera
Article by Fabulous Arizona
[Pin It]

Comedian Thai Rivera is returning to the Valley this weekend to perform at Stand Up, Scottsdale! Comedy Club. Check out Fab AZ’s exclusive interview with Thai Rivera:


Q: Where are you from?
A: Born in Phoenix, raised in Casa Grande and eventually back to Phoenix…short answer Arizona.

Q: How long have you been doing comedy?
A: 8 years

Q: How was your first gig? Was it immediately gratifying, or did you bomb at first?
A: I had the worst stage fright, so I forgot all of the material I had written. Fortunately, the stuff I was saying was funny enough to make people laugh, so I had a good time. I definitely didn’t bomb, but it didn’t turn out exactly the way that I had planned it.

Q: How do you feel about coming back to the Valley?
A: I love it here better than anywhere else so I’m excited. I know it’s not really popular to say you love the place you come from and we all know Arizona has its problems but so does everywhere. I travel A LOT and haven’t found a place that I could truly call perfect but my family and closest friends are here so that’s as close to perfect as I would want any place to be.

Q: What can comedy goers expect from you at Stand-Up, Scottsdale! this weekend?
A: Well, this weekend I’m taping my first Comedy DVD, so they can expect to see how that works out. But outside of that, AN ALL OUT GOOD TIME!!! My style is not at all politically correct and many would describe me as “edgy,” which is code for “I say stuff we’re all thinking but most don’t feel they can say.” I curse a bit and don’t hold back in my act, but I think that’s part of what people come out for. I always feel that if people wanted to see the cleaned up version they’d stay home and watch stand up on TV.

Q: What is the source of inspiration for your jokes?
A: Everyday life. I’m constantly meeting new people and being put in awkward situations, so the jokes pretty much write themselves.

Q: How do you test out new material?
A: Open mics. I have a reputation for being the hardest working comic on the LA scene. Most nights I do between 3 and 5 sets just so I can keep tweaking my jokes and getting used to the wording. A lot of comics at my level don’t go to open mics anymore, but I still do. In my opinion, there’s no better way to test new material out.

Q: How do you keep yourself busy while on tour/traveling/performing?
A: I shop and go to the gym A LOT. I’ve got a pretty extensive shoe and t-shirt collection. Sometimes I hang out at clubs but not too much because my work has me in bars and clubs all the time, so I try to do things that will get me out of work mode.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Snuggie?
A: I guess it’s nice if you’re not comfortable going old school and just wrapping a blanket around yourself and walking around the house like that. Maybe having a blanket with arms built into it might help you feel like less of a loser and like you’ve at least half gotten dressed. Wait…was I supposed to plug the snuggie? Do they sponsor you guys? Have I been set up?

Q: If you had the chance to do a comedy show with three comedians, living or dead, who would they be?
A: Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Jo Koy.

Q: What’s an interesting fact that people wouldn’t know about you?
A: That I’m not Asian. LOL!!!!

Q: Where can people find more information about you? Anything coming up we should know about?
A: People can find out more about me at the newly redesigned, pretty much everything is there. As for what’s coming up,I have a couple of things that I’m really not allowed to talk about so everybody should keep an eye out and pay attention! Trust me when I say BIG THINGS are happening for me in 2012 :-)

"Coming Home"

Coming Home

Comedian Thai Rivera will use shows in Scottsdale as material for his first DVD.

By Alexis Getscher

Thai Rivera Photo by Jerome Duchange

Photo by Jerome Duchange

Native Son

Comedian Thai Rivera returns to Arizona for shows that will be part of his first DVD

It's his love for Arizona that keeps Los Angeles-based comedian Thai Rivera coming back to his home state.

It's also why he selected his upcoming shows in Scottsdale as the place where he will be recorded for his first DVD.

Rivera will perform Jan. 27 and 28 at Stand Up Scotttsdale.

"Not to sound cheesy, but I love Arizona and am very proud to be from Arizona," the out comedian said during a telephone interview. "So, of course, that's where I'd want my first DVD to be shot. It's home."

Although the state gets bad press for its conservative politics, Rivera said he selected Arizona for the filming because he believes there are plenty of "progressive, open minded thinkers trying to make a difference. And that's part of who, throughout my career, I want to represent."

Rivera has made a name for himself performing on Logo TV's One Night Stand Up, appearing in the movie Dirty Jokes and regularly performing at The Laugh Factory in Hollywood.

Rivera moved with his family from Casa Grande to Phoenix, where he attended Trevor Browne High School, but he dropped out after his freshman year. "It just wasn't for me, I got tired of it," he said.

Rivera moved to Las Vegas, then back to Arizona. One night he said he was being silly with friends and making them laugh. He said he thought to himself, "Ya know, maybe I should do this for a living." He went to an open mic night and has been doing stand-up ever since.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of
Rivera said much of his routine comes from everyday life. He also addresses things he gets asked about, especially in some of the places he called "redneck rooms" where he's worked.

"Some places I go, even Arizona people just stare at me, so I usually try to think to myself like, ‘OK what do these people probably want to know, what would they ask me if they were to come up to me?' Rivera said. "So I just try to answer those questions."

Rivera said his sexuality hasn't caused any issues, but he sometimes feels that the gay community doesn't understand him and considers him as self-hating or too harsh.

"That's one of the things I notice," he said. "Like sometimes I think if you're a little bit too honest about what goes on in the gay community, it almost makes gay people uncomfortable because they feel like you're airing out dirty laundry."

Rivera said when he returns to Arizona he enjoys eating Mexican food and Indian fry bread or frequenting Pete's Fish and Chips.

But most of all he returns to the state because many of his friends and family members are here.

"I came out in Arizona, so some of the people that were there at the beginning when I was a scared little boy ... are still my friends to this day and it's nice to sometimes be around people who know you that well and for that long," Rivera said.

"And as far as missing my family goes, I have what would probably be the most supportive and loving family anybody could wish for and they are all absolutely hilarious, so I can't really go more than a couple of months without being close to them," he said.

Rivera said he eventually would like to get married, move back to Arizona and start a family.

"Right now, I don't really have time for that because of the amount of time and focus starting a career in show business requires, but eventually that's what I'd like to concentrate on," he said. -E -

"Thai Rivera"

You've seen him bring the LOL's on numerous network specials, including Comedy Central, Logo and Si TV. Thanks to those successful shows, comedian Thai Rivera is taking over the comedy circuit, one city at a time. However, climbing to the top hasn't been a walk in the park. Thai is an openly gay Latino, which he admits was a challenge at first. Being at the center of controversy is something that this Arizona native knows a thing or two about. Well, that's partly because of his no holds barred material. So, how has he managed to survive in this cutthroat industry? This interview explains it all.

When did you realize that you wanted to go into comedy?

I used to love watching stand-up on TV when I was a kid and guess I wanted to do it since then, but when you grow up in Casa Grande, Arizona, you don't really feel like that kind of thing is possible. It wasn't until I watched Ellen DeGeneres' Here and Now that I actually decided to try it.

You really know how to push the envelope. Is there a subject that is strictly off limits?

I try not to put any limits on what I do. I write from personal life experience and my own opinions. So I guess as long as I have an opinion about something, I'll do jokes about it.

How do you think comedy has changed over the years?

Well, in the time I've been doing stand-up, it's gotten a bit more politically correct, due in part to a few very public onstage meltdowns from some pretty high profile people. Those incidents put a spotlight on stand-up and for a minute there, even some of the clubs had started putting restrictions on what we were allowed to say. Now it's starting to free up a bit, which is always the best way, because part of the fun of going to live shows is never knowing what comics are going to say.

You're an openly gay Latino. Has that ever been a challenge when booking a gig?

As far as being Latino goes, that's probably helped out more than anything else. As a matter of fact, doing Latino Night was how I originally got in at the world famous Laugh Factory.As far as being openly gay, I would say in the beginning it definitely presented challenges. I first started doing comedy close to 9 years ago and people's attitudes on "gay" have changed quite a bit since then. At first bookers would worry for my safety or that a "gay comic" might not go over in their club. Now there are times when I get booked because I'm gay and because there's not another comic out there like me. In the end, gay, straight, Latino, black, white, none of it matters. If you're funny, people will come out to your shows.

You are Mexican and often talk about being mistaken for a Filipino. Have you ever pretended to go along with being Filipino?

Only when being Mexican gets embarrassing. Laughs I've said it before and it's true. I am very proud to be Mexican...most of the time. I'm proud to be Mexican except for certain times like when I see my people swimming in a public fountain. If it looks spontaneous, I will give it to you...have a good time, knock yourself out. But if you've got water wings or ANY type of flotation device, that means you planned it...and at that point I'm Filipino.

What's next?

This month I'm shooting another Comedy Central show, which airs in the fall. Touring never stops. People can check out for info and details.

>>> Visita - Genre Latino


Still working on that hot first release.



Thai Rivera will make you uncomfortable in the best way possible. His politically incorrect style of humor has taken the comedy world by storm. Having moved from Arizona to LA Thai quickly became a fixture and force on the comedy scene. After becoming a favorite and regular at clubs such as the Hollywood Improv and World Famous Laugh Factory he started to travel across the country in the most unlikely of places, redneck bars. He has performed with some of the biggest names in the world of stand up. Some of you may recognize him from the Jo Koy Comedy Tour, he has also been featured on Comedy Central's Live At Gotham and The Logo Network's One Night Stand up. While Thai is very proud of who and what he is his disarming style and easy going delivery will put you at ease and there is no doubt that by the end of his set you will understand that Thai is comic who happens to be gay and not a gay comic. Thai's comedy has not only taken him across this country but as far away as Austraiia and Thule Greenland where he performed for our troops. Thai made his second appearance on Comedy Central October 25th, on Stand-Up Revolution.