A solid debut special from a comedian who’s adept at running with a premise – at one point literally – and getting big laughs at his own expense.
It has been a good week for Jesus Trejo, the son of Mexican immigrants whose debut special, Stay At Home Son, aired on Showtime right after he got a bump on the Joe Rogan Experience. Guesting on the most popular podcast in the world and then having a special air on a premium network must do wonders for one’s career, and with this solid debut hour, Trejo has mostly earned the attention.
Trejo has been a regular as the West Hollywood Comedy Store for ages, which explains the Rogan connection, and has been seen on TBS, NBC, and Netflix (he played Mr. Trujillo in Mr. Iglesias.) But being funny on TV and being funny on-stage are different things. Luckily, Trejo makes the most of the exposure by leaning on that age-old comedic getting-to-know-you trick of making most of his jokes at the expense of himself.
Jesus Trejo: Stay At Home Son proves the comedian adept at taking a premise in surprising and amusing directions, even if most usually return to sender. He’s also good at personal material, especially when it coincides with his parents’ immigrant status, such as him having to translate a mugging to his mother as a child. What he’s perhaps best at, though, is treating a seemingly sad or heavy bit to a last-minute pivot. Bits about becoming a caregiver for his parents or living the American Dream in reverse by establishing himself in comedy and then getting a nine-to-five at his father’s landscaping business work because they don’t descend into maudlin territory.
It all comes back to Trejo trying to impress his father, which naturally he can’t manage – though it’s funny to listen to how he tried. Comedians all have the need for approval, by definition, and it’s a need that many of us share. That, I think, is what makes Jesus Trejo: Stay At Home Son such a likable debut special even if it won’t set the comedy world alight. It’s a man laughing at his own anxieties and misfortunes. We should all do more of that.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.