As 2011 draws to a close, some of us like to look back and say this either was one hell of a year or maybe one which could have been better. In Al Madrigal's case it was, indeed, one hell of a year.
This week's headliner at Harveys Improv was named Best Stand-Up Comedian by the HBO/ U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. His numerous appearances on Comedy Central (including his own half-hour "Comedy Central Presents" special) along with appearances on John Oliver's "New York Stand-up Show" and "Pretend Time with Nick Swardson" led to probably one of the sweetest gigs any comic could ever have: being a correspondent for Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show."
That's right, folks. Al Madrigal is now the official, "Mexican correspondent" for one of the most popular shows on cable today. Jon Stewart should feel so fortunate.
Along the way he's appeared with Conan O'Brien (as one of the first 20 guests during his stint as host of "The Tonight Show," and on "Conan" on TBS) as well as multiple appearances on "Lopez Tonight," "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Al also appeared on CBS's "Welcome to the Captain" with Jeffrey Tambor and "Gary, Unmarried" with Jay Mohr, and most recently the sitcom "Free Agents" on NBC.
The backbone to all of Madrigal's accomplishments is standup comedy. And he has a lot of material to choose from much of it from his own background. Raised in San Francisco by a Sicilian mother and a Mexican-born father, Al often will break the ice by poking fun of himself on stage, dealing with the dilemmas of being what he calls "a half-breed."
Some of his topics touch on family, fatherhood and the struggle of contemporary American culture to juxtapose itself with its rapidly emerging immigrant subcultures. His flair for storytelling and spontaneity are second to none. He has an incredibly fast-paced lyrical style that focuses on observational comedy with a satirical look on the human condition.
He also gets his material close to home with his half-Greek, half-Korean wife and their young son, Lorenzo. "He's a quarter this and a quarter that," Al said.
Welcome to the lake, Brendon Walsh!
I know it's your very first time here, so please be kind to us, OK?
The caveat: Brendon is a madman. His comedy to some might be considered "out there," but it's his only way of communicating. You know there's something up when, in his bio it states that "he lives with your mom."
Originally from Philadelphia, Brendon established himself as a comic to deal with after he relocated to Austin, Texas. His rise was meteoric.
He won the "Funniest Person In Austin" contest in 2004 and that same year also appeared on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" as his original character, "Scary Monster" (a terrible monster standup comedian). In 2005 and 2006, he was voted "Best Stand-Up Comedian" in the Austin Chronicle's "Readers Poll."