Raymond Orta. The Valley’s Exclusive Funny Man
Raymond Orta, the funniest man in the RGV. If you have not had the pleasure of catching Raymond’s stand up comedy show you are missing a chance to laugh yourself right out of your chair. He has been gaining more and more popularity over the last couple of years. We interviewed him because we wanted to know what makes this funny man so funny “ I love being part of an underground movement. Growing my fan base on my own and just by putting on my own shows means more to me because of the grassroots it came from.” That is a statement made by Raymond that truly reflects how he feels about what he does. He certainly has a passion for comedy and making people laugh. He is very good at it as well. His shows bring in crowds from all around, and Raymond has that spark that just captivates your attention. He was absolutely made for comedy.
- What lead you to want to become a stand up comedian?
There is nothing like the sound of laughter to me. Honestly, laughter is the reason I don’t need cocaine. There’s an adrenaline rush from being able to cause another person to have an involuntary action like a laugh, to make that reaction splurge out from the pit of someone’s stomach is in a sense almost like a super power to me. When I was very young, I’m talking about 6 or 7, I remember my kinder teacher having to settle the class down after comments of mine would make them erupt in laughter. Instead of being angry that I interrupted her, my teacher would also laugh and smile. That meant a lot to me. I associated laughter with love, and when you come from a childhood like mine where my biological father was physically abusive with my mom, there was never really a lot of laughter in our house as much as there was yelling, screaming, and things being thrown around. One of my first memories that I can recall is I at 3 years old hitting my dad with a phone book because he was on top of my mom beating her up. After that moment, she decided she was going to divorce my dad. We were on our own. At one point we were living out of her car for a couple of months. So, believe me when I say, laughter really was a rare delicacy. Once I knew I had the gift of making people laugh, IT’S ALL I WANTED TO DO. My enthusiasm only exploded when I found out you could make money doing it. I remember doing talent shows and winning prize money and being able to buy my own toys and video games. It was so empowering. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a comedian. Not just any comedian, but I wanted to create such laughter in people’s bellies that I’d come up in conversations in the near future when people are discussing “greatest ever”. If there’s anything that I learned from my mom is to always strive to be the best. When you’ve been at the bottom, you have to claw to the top. My mom has gone from living in her car as a teenage mother to self made millionaire and businesswoman. I intend to follow that same example and take my talents to the very top.
2. Of the comedians out there who can you say is your idol, the one comedian you look up to and admire?
Just like in my tastes in music, most of my favorite artists are Dead. I would have to say that Robin Williams was one of my biggest influences because he was so versatile with his voices and impressions. I grew up watching Carlin, Kennison, and Dangerfield, but Robin Williams stood out to me amongst them because of the voices he would do. I often imitated him and his voices and I found out very early that not only could I do his voices REALLY WELL, but I also had a knack for creating a lot of my own. Mostly exaggerated versions of my school Teachers that would have the kids hollering at recess. Later on in life, I’d watch TV and catch myself imitating TV and movie stars as well as game show hosts and late night infomercial salesmen.
3. When you become a big star, do you see yourself branching out like most comedians do to TV, and film? What is your ultimate goal in life?
Oh absolutely, you know, my first ambition in life was to be a rock star, but I figured, there’s sooooo many kids that are trying to do that, it’d be such a hard competition. So I said, I could do acting in movies. But I thought, oh man, there are so many pretty boys that want to be actors, how would I ever land a lead part with a mug like mine. So I thought, hey, I’m really good at making people laugh. I can do comedy. Get discovered, and make a smooth transition into movies like I had seen Robin Williams and Jim Carrey do. That was my plan. (And still is) I love being on camera, in front of people, and I figured, PEOPLE HATE PUBLIC SPEAKING. THEY’RE MORTIFIED BY IT. There would be very little competition as far as stand up comedians go, and sure enough, there is only about 13,000 comedians in the country. Out of a population of 340 million people, I’d say that’s a very small percentage. Of those 13,000, I’d definitely like to think that I’m some where in the top 25 or top 10 undiscovered talents in the country. Or that just might be my ego talking.
- Family is very important to you, as is friendship; I can see your passion for life. To make the world laugh. What would you say is your motivation?
My mom is my biggest inspiration. She’s the hardest worker I know. And even to this day, when she comes home after a long stressful day, there are times where she questions what the hell she’s still doing here, that’s when I come in and provide her with some laughter, not just chuckles, but a type of laugh where you are slapping your knee and sigh and say, “OH, GOD I NEEDED THAT!!”
Sitting here, I can confidently say that nothing means to me what my mom’s laughter means to me. Due to the fact that I know how hard we’ve struggled, and we’ve come from destitute living conditions, and now all we can do is look back and have some hardy laughs about it. God is Great all the time. He only puts us in certain situations to build our character. People say comedy comes from dark places, and I’m glad to say mine does too. Having a sense of humor and laughing about it is what winning is all about. When you laugh at your pitfalls, they have no power over you. And laughing at your pitfalls only comes from knowing that there’s only one way to go from here, and that’s UP. AS SKY HIGH AS YOU WANT TO FLY. I don’t consider myself normal. I live moment to moment. Don’t ask me what I’m doing tomorrow because I’m just in the moment now. All the time. I live life ever day, one laugh to the next. It’s beautiful.5. What can you say you love most from the RGV? What you would miss if you moved on to Hollywood or New York City?
The culture is something else in the RGV. We’re a different breed. Nowhere else in the world can people switch from Spanish to English like we can. It freaks people out, honestly. The valley is a tough place to grow up. People are extremely critical down here especially if you want to be in show business. Everyone has a tio that played with so and so back in the day. So if you’re gonna be a musician, you better be a bad ass musician before anyone even considers you to be worthy of getting any respect. “Ah te crees chingon cause you play the guitar?” Shiiiit, your Tio Beto played with Emilio Navaira, BEFORE he was known for crashing busses, you have a long way to go.
Same thing applies for comedy. Everyone has a Tio that is the life of the party and is always cracking jokes and has everyone in fits of laughter, so now as a comedian, you have to be funnier than THAT GUY, before the audience can ever take you seriously as a comedian.I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people come up to me after the shows asking me if I need writers or people to go on the road with me because they have this cousin that’s hilarious and he needs a job.
They are a tough bunch to win over as fans, but once you win ‘em over, they’re the most loyal people you’ll ever have in your corner. They respect your art, your work, and they respect your hustle. That as a performer means so much, because you’ve worked so hard to gain their respect, and yeah, it was hard, but in the end, it only molded me into a FANTASTIC COMEDIAN in the process. So I have nothing but thanks for all the people that have ever seen one of my shows and been there to see a constant work in progress. If I were to leave for California or New York, I would miss the realness of people. Down here, whether you like it or not, people are REAL!!
I’ve met so many soulless drones that have let the big cities get to them. One of biggest reasons I stay in the RGV is because I never want to lose that.
Be sure to catch one of Raymond’s shows if you can. Not only is he deep rooted in the RGV; he also has an incredible passion for people that surround him and are a vital part of his life. He will give you his all and make you laugh along the way.