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Lisa Alvarado co-headlining comedy night at Montana ExpoPark

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Lisa Alvarado performs Friday at Montana ExpoPark in Great Falls along with Jackie Kashian and Alycia Cooper.
Lisa Alvarado performs Friday at Montana ExpoPark in Great Falls along with Jackie Kashian and Alycia Cooper.

Stand-up comedian Lisa Alvarado has a funny story to tell about her life.

Several, in fact, and she’s coming to Great Falls on Friday to spill the beans. But, she says you need not be a woman to identify with them.

Alvarado, the Latin Queen of Comedy, performs Friday along with opener Alycia Cooper and co-headliner Jackie Kashian starting at 7:30 p.m., at the Exhibition Hall at Montana ExpoPark. Tickets are $25 per person.

Alvarado, a single mother with a teenage son, said while many comedians tend to make observations about commonalities such as traffic, airlines or the DMV, she finds her best material comes from her own experiences.

“I usually talk about my life, things that happen to me personally, so when I get off stage you’ll know quite a bit about me, maybe TMI, but that’s where it all comes from,” she said.

She said, however, that the people who ask her if they’ll be in her next routine, usually don’t get mentioned.

“It’s kind of funny, people, especially guys who I’ll go on a date with, they’ll ask, ‘You gonna put that in your act?’ and I’m like, ‘No, I only put interesting things in my act, sorry,” she said.

Alvarado said while she is a female comedian, she’s not sure where the whole notion of women’s material being “only relevant to women” comes from.

“I think that men are aware that women exist so it’s kind of naive for a man to say, ‘women’s jokes are not relatable to me’ because you’ve seen one, you came from one, you know, you probably have a mom out there somewhere,” she said. “I also think it’s really dumb for men to say, ‘you know, I’m not going to get it because she has vagina. That’s like me saying, ‘I’m not going to get the president because he’s a man. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Alvarado said, too, that her material always tends to be all-inclusive because it’s much more difficult to be a comedian who only appeals to a certain group of people.

“On the other hand, if I was a female comic and went on stage and talked about things guys can’t relate to like ‘hey I got my period and here’s what a tampon looks like’ I’m not that kind of comedian either,” she said. “I think it’s going to kill your career if you don’t try to relate to everybody because I think as a comic, if you’re more well rounded, you can play more places.”

Alvarado said she first became interested in stand-up comedy at the age of 9 after seeing Bill Cosby. She said having grown up in a Peruvian household with three brothers in Chicago, she learned at an early age how to use her mouth as a weapon.

“I’ve always been very sarcastic and sharp witted and now I use improv in my act as well,” she said. “I grew up with three brothers. They picked on me a lot and I couldn’t fight back so my weapon was my mouth, I’d say or come up with things, so that was basically my sword my whole life and now I’m making a living at it.”

Once she made the decision to pursue comedy as a career, she said  it wasn’t an easy road to get to where she is now, but a necessary one nonetheless.

“I took improv at first because I was too scared to do stand-up on my own. I did that for six years and transitioned into stand-up and when I first started I tried to be more of a storyteller like Bill Cosby,” she said. “That tanked so I tried a Margaret Smith style where I was very slow and deliberate and that didn’t work, either. I think when you start you have a favorite comedian you look up to and you aspire to be like, but nine out of 10 times it will tank if you’re not being yourself up there.”

Lisa got her first bit of professional training with The Player’s Workshop of Second City in Chicago performing Improv.

More recently, some of her TV appearances include finishing as the 1st runner up on the Nick at Night “Funniest Mom in America,” qualifying as a semifinalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” She’s also appeared on “Comics Unleashed” with Byron Allen, “Standup in Stillettos” and playing Paul Rodriguez’s sidekick on 20 episodes of “Mis Videos Locos” on MTV. She was voted “Best Up & Coming Latino Comedian” by The LA Comedy Festival and her jokes have been quoted in The New York Times.

She’s also created a parody of “The Bachelorette” titled “The Bitchlorettes.” Check out the promo video below and check out all of the episodes here.

Alvarado said she can’t wait to see Great Falls and put on a great show alongside Cooper and Kashian, whom she’s worked with in the past on a military tour.

Finally, Alvarado said she loves coming to smaller towns to do her set because she tends to find that people are more appreciative of good comedy because they’re not exposed to it as much, oftentimes.

“They do have appreciation for it in bigger cities, but comedy is kind of a dime a dozen, so unfortunately, audiences aren’t as fazed by it. If you’re in Hollywood in the Improv and Chris Rock stops by you’re like, OK cool and you like it, but it becomes common. But, in a more rural areas, you have a lot more appreciation because it’s not as common.”

For more information on Alvarado, visit www.Lisaalvarado.com. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well!

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