A guy walks into a meeting with six Comedy Central executives in New York City. The guy, a stand-up comedian with a penchant for weed and a knack for producing laughs with blatantly honest stories about his family, race and Jo-Ann Fabric, had already been named a “Comic to Watch” by the network. Now, no f-----g joke, those suits wanted the Cleveland native to be one of 17 national comics (and one of only two not from New York or Los Angeles) to tape a set in front of 600 in New Orleans in June for the network’s Half Hour special, which premieres this fall. That guy, Ramon Rivas II, has spent eight years doing stand-up, organizing local comedy nights and putting on the annual Accidental Comedy Fest, which showcases rising acts Aug. 26-28 at Mahall’s 20 Lanes. Rivas takes us behind the scenes of his Comedy Central gig.
I’ve built an act over the years. I felt as comfortable as I do at Hilarities or Mahall’s. Cleveland prepared me for this. It was just cool to not feel out of place. I was surrounded by peers that I’ve met over the years who I’m fortunate to call friends, and I was able to fly my family down too. The experience was pretty surreal, to be the current incarnation of what I used to watch growing up. Whether the special came this year or never, that’s life. I’m stuck in comedy, and it’s stuck in me, for better or worse. I like to be in the moment, and comedy is all that I want to do. Happiness for me is doing comedy every night and making enough money to pay my bills and not die.