By Martín Salazar
Las Vegas Optic
Alex Reymundo remembers the day he told his mother he wanted to be a rock star.
He was 15 or 16 at the time, and his worried mother couldn’t help but point out that he didn’t play guitar or sing.
His fallback plan: “I said, ‘I throw parties, and every time people come to my parties they always say how my parties are the best ones. If I could figure out a way to party for the rest of my life, I think I’d be the best one at it,’ and I looked at my mother staring at me. Her mouth was wide open.”
As absurd as that plan sounds, Reymundo, now 45, found a way to make it happen.
The comedian, actor and producer has two one-hour specials airing on Showtime and Comedy Central, he was in “The Original Latin Kings of Comedy” alongside Cheech Marin, Paul Rodriguez, George Lopez and Joey Medina, and he has won an ALMA Award for his “Hick-Spanic” comedy special.
Las Vegans got a chance to take in Reymundo’s quick — and often edgy — wit Wednesday night at the Plaza Hotel. The performance was part of a seven-cities in seven-days tour across New Mexico.
So why does someone who has been on Comedy Central and performed at places like the Apolo Theater in New York and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville decide to perform in small cities like Farmington, Roswell and Las Vegas?
Reymundo said he knows those markets can be developed for promoters to come in and service the towns.
“If you guys have a once-a-month show, I’m sure that grand ballroom would be filled, and you people would be laughing,” he said. “The grand ballroom would be making money. That bartender in there would be making money, and it’s just good all around.”
Reymundo said he’s also trying to build a bigger fan base throughout the country. And part of that is keeping ticket prices affordable.
“My parents are immigrants,” he said. “I know how tough it was to feed five kids and the cousins that were there and to pay the bills.”
Reymundo was born in Acapulco, Mexico. His family moved to a suburb just outside Fort Worth, Texas, when he was 2.
“Soy Mexicano — full-blooded,” he said.
Reymundo said he’s “on the fence” when it comes to the national debate on immigration: “I’m all for legal immigration, which my family did.”
That, he said, gave his family every opportunity they had.
“My parents came to this country with five children, $4 in their pocket and three jobs and a language barrier, and they made it work.”
Reymundo’s mother cleaned hotel rooms for a living and became executive housekeeper almost everywhere she went because of her work ethic, he said. His father worked in the food and beverage industry.
Reymundo began performing at a young age at family gatherings at his parents’ house. He and his cousins would put on shows for their parents, mimicking Carol Burnett or doing sketches they’d copy from “Gilligan’s Island” or whatever other shows they happened to see that week. At night, they’d set out lights in the back yard and put on a show for the adults.
Reymundo has been doing stand-up comedy for about 20 years. He said the first eight to 10 years in the business he made enough money to feed himself. The last 10 to 12 years, however, have been good to Reymundo. He said his wife doesn’t have to work, and his children attend private schools.
“My mother looked at me about eight years ago,” Reymundo said. “She said, ‘Do you remember that time we talked,’ and I remembered of course. She said, ‘I thought you were so lost, but I’ll be damned if you didn’t figure out a way to do it.’
“That’s them,” Reymundo said. “That’s my mother and father, the ethic of work. They taught me to work. My father always said, ‘Make yourself happy. Do what you want to do. That’s the only way you’ll be happy in this life.’”
He said the example his mother set with her work ethic gave him the tools to accomplish his goals.
“I like to believe I’m a decent role model for young Latinos because I set goals and achieve them.”