Interview: Chingo Bling talks new venture with stand-up comedy
Trinity University graduate and self-proclaimed Ghetto Vaquero, Chingo Bling, will bring his No Mames Comedy Tour to the Guadalupe Theater July 17. A native of Houston, Texas, Chingo Bling was born Pedro Herrera III to Mexican emigrants who came to the U.S. to achieve the American Dream for themselves and their children. He began rapping under the alter ego Chingo Bling in 2000 and has since rose to fame with fans who enjoy his style of Latino hip-hop and satirical comedy. Chingo took some time earlier this week to talk to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center about his tour stop in San Antonio and his venture into the stand-up comedy industry.
How exciting it is for you to come perform a stand-up show in San Antonio for the first time?
It does feel like the first time because I’m new to the world of stand-up. It’s a different way of expressing myself and communicating with fans. It’s a different way of getting my ideas out. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. When I do my music, some people don’t really know how to take me or how to figure me out. It’s like, “Is this guy for real? Is he a joke? Is he making fun?”
What does stand-up allow you to do that you weren’t able to do before when you were doing parody hip-hop and your other comedy?
I feel like I’m able to give people a more pure product because of the nature of the art form. It’s just a guy and a microphone. It’s a totally different experience. There are no backup dancers. There’s no music. I mean, we have music and it’s still a party type of atmosphere, but you can’t hide behind the beat. A comedian’s job is to make friends with everyone in the room and bring everyone in together. There’s a lot of trust involved. I have to make sure people trust that they we are going to go on this journey together. I need you to give me permission to act a fool.
Do you feel pressure because you are new to this type of platform?
Yes, but I think allowing yourself to be vulnerable is the key to good art because people want the truth. People want honesty and if you’re not giving them the truth and you’re not being honest then you are hiding behind something. So in a way you are naked up there. My opinion of good comedy and good art, whether it’s an essay, a novel, or a song, is that it has to come from the heart. It has to be real, especially for my people from San Antonio. You can’t fool them. They know when you’re speaking passionately about something. They know when you believe in something. They know when you’re authentic, because they are. We value that authenticity and being genuine. That’s what we pride ourselves on.
It seems like there’s going to be a lot of laughs happening at your show but is there also a message you want to convey as well? Do you want to spur conversation about real issues?
Yeah, I mean it’s not like super deep or anything like that but I do want to kind of make people think. I do want them to walk away with some kind of substance. I do want to raise some questions. There are certain topics, just like in my music, that I want to tackle in my comedy. I have an audience and a stage and a microphone, so I feel like it’s my obligation to explore different things in a creative way so that these ideas are a part of a discussion.
What are you looking forward to the most when you come back to San Antonio?
Well, hopefully my family can come with me. Hopefully we can all ride down as a family and hit the Riverwalk. I want to show my daughter the Trinity University campus. I want to take a little tour of San Antonio, hit the West side, and stuff like that and just get a feel for the city. That’s usually good for a comedian to do. You want to hit the streets a little bit and get a vibe of what people are feeling and talking about. That way people are like, “OK, this guy knows what’s up. He didn’t just fly in from some far away place and tell a generic joke.”
Purchase your Chingo Bling: No Mames Comedy Tour tickets HERE.