Alessandro “Al” Liborio Madrigal is a comedian, and was the Latino Senior Correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In 2015, he created a comedy documentary, called Half Like Me, in which he explored being half Sicilian and half Mexican. Madrigal set out on a “pocho quest” to get in touch with his Mexican side, before attending a family reunion in Tijuana. Here are 10 things to know about this fabulous Latinx film — one you should definitely watch!
It’s About Alessandro Liborio Madrigal’s Experience Being “Half Latino”
Chicano Madrigal grew up in San Francisco. He always felt he wasn’t Latino enough for the Latinos, and didn’t fit in completely on the Sicilian side either. His experience encompasses what many “half Latinos” feel and deal with on an everyday basis.
It’s Funny, But “Half Like Me” Really Gives Mixed Latinxs a Voice
Half Like Me is a comedy and garners plenty of laughs, but it also serves an important purpose. It puts the spotlight on mixed Latinxs, a demographic not covered much in TV or film.
Where to Watch
Half Like Me premiered on Fusion TV, where it is still available to watch. You can also stream it on Amazon Prime Video.
Alesandro Teaches Us What Pocho Means
Alessandro has been called pocho a lot, by his Mexican peers. The term means an Americanized Mexican, who has left the country, doesn’t speak Spanish (or speaks Spanish poorly), and speaks English. Some Chicanos have taken the term and turned it into something positive, a term of pride of belonging to two cultures.
He Speaks to Jorge Ramos
If you want to know Latinx facts, Jorge Ramos is one of the best people to talk to. Madrigal travels to Los Angeles to talk to the Mexican journalist. Ramos helps Madrigal pronounce his last name correctly, and shares stats and facts about the changing landscape of Latinos in the U.S.
He Has Micheladas and Tequila with His Full-Mexican Friends, in East L.A.
At the beginning of the documentary, Al hangs out with his Mexican friends, who point out how non-Mexican he acts. They have micheladas, and his friends hold onto the Mexican passport which Madrigal received because of his father. He then vows to earn it back through his “pocho quest.”
And Travels Elsewhere on His “Pocho Quest”
Al Madrigal travels to Miami to have a Cuban cigar and buy a guayabera shirt, visits a classroom of white, blond kids who speak better Spanish than him, speaks with a Chicano soccer player, sees a Latino punk band in Compton, and more. All of these trips are pieces of the puzzle of Al’s identity.
He Exposes the Ignorance of Loving Mexican Things and Not Mexicans
One of the highlights of the film is when Al Madrigal speaks to Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minutemen Project, at Border Field State Park. Gilchrist, whose aim is to keep undocumented immigrants out of the U.S., has a Mexican son-in-law, half-Mexican grandchildren, likes to drink margaritas, and has three Chihuahuas. The irony wasn’t lost on Madrigal.
Alessandro Speaks on the Second/Later Generation Problem of No Spanish Speaking at Home
Like most second (and so on) generation Latin-American children, we often grow up understanding Spanish but responding in English, or not speaking Spanish at all. In Madrigal’s household, his father would only speak Spanish to Al’s grandmother. This led to Al not speaking any Spanish as an adult, which is often the case for a lot of Latinxs.
We Need More Films Like This
Half Like Me is a funny and necessary film. We need more documentaries that look at all facets of the Latinx experience because we are all different (yet also have so many things which tie us all together).