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ESPARZA

Comedian Felipe Esparza performs at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino tonight.

Comedian Felipe Esparza will be performing at the Tachi Palace tonight, which is a far cry from of the places he performed before winning “Last Comic Standing.”

“I used to perform in a little dive bar in Porterville,” Esparza said. “One half was a hip hop club and the other was country, so you’d see guys with gold chains next to guys with cowboy hats and ostrich boots. They didn’t cross over except to go to the restroom or outside to smoke.”

Since those days, the Mexican-born comedian won the seventh season of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” reality competition show in 2010. That season’s comedians included Kurt Metzger and Chip Pope of the underrated MTV comedy, “Austin Stories.”

“That show produced a lot of stars who didn’t go far on the show like Tiffany Haddish and Lil Rel Howery, who was just in ‘Get Out,’ ” Esparza said. “So I think that show would have still helped me even if I didn’t win.”

The comedian’s newest comedy special, “Translate This,” debuted on HBO in September and is currently on the network’s mobile apps, HBO Go and HBO Now.  His first special, “They’re Not Gonna Laugh At You,” is currently on Netflix.

And while this means two hours of Esparza’s comedy is available in almost everyone’s homes at the touch of a few buttons, he’s quick to point out that it doesn’t just end there.

“It’s not just in everyone’s homes, it’s on everybody’s phones,” he said. “You can watch it right now.”

Another way the comedian has been reaching his fans at the speed of light, or at least the speed of Wi-Fi is through his podcast, “What’s Up Fool?”

The podcast started about two years ago when comedians Bill Burr and Al Madrigal suggested that Esparza start one up to join their “All Things Comedy” podcast network. Think of it like an online talk radio station with shows hosted by comedians like Doug Stanhope, Tom Rhodes, Ari Shaffir and Jen Kirkman, along with, of course, Burr.

Esparza’s podcast features interviews with folks from all walks, including one of the police officers responsible for the arrest of the “Nightstalker” Richard Ramirez and Esparza’s own Little League coach, a Vietnam vet who suffered serious injuries in the war.

He also, of course, has comedians on the podcast.

Esparza's sold out show tonight at the Tachi Palace features nearly an hour of new material never before heard in Lemoore, he said, adding that he enjoys the energy that surges through casino shows, as opposed to smaller club shows or even theater shows.

“Casino crowds make it a whole event. They get dressed up, they rent a car, they rent a room, they gamble,” he said. “Unlike at a club, casino crowds aren’t questioning a two-drink minimum. They’re more wild. They drink a lot more, they start drinking in the parking lot.”

News Reporter

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