Aida Rodriguez and Gina Brillon are coming into a space where few women — let alone Latinas — have gone before. The two Boricua women have their own comedy specials coming out on Netflix and HBO Latino respectively.
Rodriguez, 41, is a part of Tiffany Haddish’s They Ready comedy series on Netflix, where Haddish selected established female comedians who haven’t exactly made it to the mainstream yet. Rodriguez and Haddish have been friends for years and, though Haddish is younger, she’s been a mentor for the Puerto Rican-Dominican comedian. “Whoever made it first would throw the rope back,” Rodriguez told Buzzfeed’s Pero Like about the promise she and Haddish made.
Rodriguez’s half-hour special is episode three in the series They Ready where she talks about the #MeToo movement, living in the hood, and growing up Latina. “I was my grandmother’s translator my whole life,” she says in the special.”I didn’t know how to say ‘syphilis’ in Spanish.”
Rodriguez was raised by her grandmother and uncle, whom she lost both within two months right before she got her big break on the show Last Comic Standing. She went on to become the first Latina woman to star in two specials airing in the same month on Showtime and HBO.
Meanwhile, Gina Brillon’s “Easily Offended” half-hour special is a bristling look at how this era is much more sensitive and how as a comedian she needs to be brutally honest at times. For Brillon, the purpose of comedy is to look at what’s going on in the world and give it a “comedic spin” and taking into consideration how other people are triggered is not her concern, she told Latina to Latina podcast host Alicia Menendez.
“So when you approach a performer, just know that idea, because people tend to approach a performer with this very defensive, ‘How could you say that to me?’ I didn’t say it just to you. I said it to an entire room of people,” she said during the interview.
The Bronx-born Puerto Rican had been doing standup since she was 17 and her first one-hour special, “Pacifically Speaking” was produced by Gabriel Iglesias, whom she’s toured with on the Beyond The Fluffy World Tour. She’s also the first (and only) Latina winner of NBC’s 2012 Stand up for Diversity Showcase and this month she’ll be serving as host of the Latinos Stand-Up competition during the New York Latino Film Festival.
During the special, she talks about being married to a white man, Latinx culture, and how it seems anything a comedian says can be considered offensive. “My husband wants to learn Spanish so bad and I keep stopping him because then I won’t be able to talk about him when my parents are in the room,” she says in the special.
They Ready is available to stream on Netflix and “Easily Offended” comes out Friday, August 16 on HBO.