Check out our exclusive interview with stand-up comedian Orlando Leyba!
Orlando Leyba is a Stand-Up comedian who is the first person on HBO Latino to receive their own stand-up special. Orlando has been doing stand-up for close to 10 years and has been making major moves recently. He was featured on HBO Latino’s Entre Nos Part 3 and recently performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Orlando has his first thirty-minute stand-up special coming out November 16th titled “Adorable”. We got a chance to speak to him about his recent performance, comedy, and his new special!
The Knockturnal: I saw your stand-up performance on Jimmy Fallon over the weekend and you were hilarious and I definitely agreed with you; HGTV is like a black hole of your time.
Orlando Leyba: Yeah, I’ve lost days with HGTV, they make you feel so good. So, I went on a journey trying to find out-I actually talk about it once in a while- why, why HGTV? It’s the instant gratification. You see a kitchen, and it looks awful, thirty minutes later it’s a brand new kitchen, and you’re like “wow, those people! Good for them!” But you didn’t see the month of working, or when the budget went up, or things like that.
The Knockturnal: Can you talk about your experience performing there?
Orlando Leyba: The Fallon experience was awesome. It was all a combination of just – you know it sounds cliché when people say all of the stars align, but that’s what happened. First of all, before anything, I got the HBO Latino Orlando “Adorable” thirty minutes, which comes out November 16. That flag was raised, and that kind of piqued the interest of the bookers, and I got asked to fly to New York to showcase for Michael Cox, who is the booker for The Tonight Show, and I did well. The following day I got a phone call and they made an official offer on the date for me to come in and do The Tonight Show. When I got there, it was just as you expected. I wasn’t expecting to meet Jimmy; they said he might come in he might not come in. Sure enough, he popped in and we talked about comedy. And comic to comic, right away we have that culture and that community, so right away he was in it with me. He’s an extremely nice guy, and it even sounds fake to say it out loud- but everybody on that show wants you to do fantastic. It was a humbling experience. I was born in Puerto Rico, but I was raised in the Dominican Republic because of life situations. So coming from such a humble beginning to being on The Tonight Show was extreme. You know, all of us, in everything that we do in life- you at work, everybody around us, we all want things to kind of align, and to have the HBO Latino special to come out right after it- what a better launch than The Tonight Show. And I appreciate every moment because I got invited to that show, an NBC show, and Jimmy’s allowing me to promote two other Networks on his show. If you saw it live, he actually held up the key art for the special and he was like, “he’s gonna be on HBO Latino November 16th!” and he just kept on repeating it before and after my performance, and I was just like, “Wow, what a catapult man, what set up! I can’t believe this is happening right now.”
The Knockturnal: Who and where do you draw inspiration from for your comedic approach?
Orlando Leyba: The inspiration right now is just life and where I’m at as a man. That’s why you hear about HGTV. I recall not even liking cats, I used to be like, “get away from me, cats!” And I don’t know what happened and what evolution thing went on with my DNA now where I love cats, I love kittens. It sounds silly, but I do try to watch a kitten video or a puppy video in the morning, just to so my mind is in a happy place and I’m not thinking about all of the other stuff we’re dealing with every day in our lives.
The Knockturnal: How do you try to stand out?
Orlando Leyba: I don’t know about standing out, I feel like we all have our own lane. Every comic has their own lane and not everybody is going to like me. What I try to do is, even though you might hear me complain about my wife or about me going to work and my boss telling me to give him a 110% and me telling him I can’t because I’ve wasted 50% in the parking lot, everything comes from a place of love. I hope that that comes out in my comedy. That’s why we titled the special “Adorable” because after they see the show, I’ve gotten that “hey man, you’re just adorable” from a lot of people. I’m like Winne the Pooh, I just wear pants.
The Knockturnal: How does it feel to be the first comedian to get their own special on HBO Latino?
Orlando Leyba: It’s an honor man, I’m just honored. You know, it’s that extra weight on it, and this is not a selfish point, but hopefully, this opens up the door. And even though it’s HBO Latino, my whole special is in English, everybody can get me and understand me. Maybe not everybody’s going to relate to me, but a lot of people- I feel- are going to relate to me. So I’m hoping that this special opens the door for the next guy. When you’re having success, it’s always good to reach back and grab somebody else and pull them up with you.
The Knockturnal: What was it like shooting your stand-up special “Adorable”?
Orlando Leyba: It was magic. It was one of those moments where you’re like, “Woah, this is really happening. This is real.” It’s very exciting, but at the same time, you have to make sure to keep both of your feet on the ground so you don’t stumble.
The Knockturnal: How does that compare to shooting and performing for Entre Nos? Do you feel that there is more pressure or do you feel that it was very similar?
Orlando Leyba: You could say that there is a little more pressure, because now the whole show, the whole half hour is just you. With Entre Nos, you’re splitting the half hour, so it’s kind of like a relay race. You put your anchor at the end and you’re kind of just passing the baton. If you didn’t like me, maybe you’re going to like the second person, and if you didn’t like the second person, maybe you’ll like the third person. So we got three good shots at you having a good time. And maybe the person that did like me, doesn’t like the third person. So it’s different; we’re splitting it up. That is a good example, though, of one of my main beliefs that all big things come from small beginnings. For the Entre Nos, I remember they just gave me a five-minute slot, and obviously, I’ve been doing it long enough where I know I have a lot more I can give, but I was excited to get those five minutes. And then, the universe blessed me and they came back like, “Hey, why don’t we do a half hour?” So, HBO Latino, with its original content, is really stepping up and opening new ways.
The Knockturnal: What’s coming up next for you?
Orlando Leyba: I’m going to be on the road a lot touring, building up the fan base. I’m an old-school guy, I want you to come to a show and bring your friends and hopefully, next time I come to town, you bring two more sets of friends and you’re like, “no, you really gotta see this guy!” Build it up stronger and come back around to HBO and give everybody an hour. Tour dates are still in the process, but if you go to heylando.com, you’ll see it all come together.