Hola, mi nombre is Erick. I was born and raised in Peru, and a couple of years ago I moved to Washington DC to work on a non-profit human rights organization (and do comedy as well). Now I’m performing my solo show Acuña Acuna around the country.
When I moved to the US it was hard for me to book shows. I wouldn’t see that many people of color on stage. Plus some people thought that because I’m from another country and my first language is not English, my comedy would be unappealing to Americans.
That’s the reason why I wrote Acuña Acuna. I wanted to share my experience as a millennial Peruvian Latino living in this country. It was a cathartic release to put all of the good, bad, weird, and fun things that have happened to me since I moved here into a comedy show. I talk and laugh about everything: from filling out a medical form in English or never trying home-made chocolate cookies, to what is was like to be a 14 year-old kid living in the middle of a war.
I’ve gotten the chance to perform my solo show in a sold out run at a comedy theater in DC called Dojo Comedy, cool festivals in NYC and Philly, and even be a finalist at Comedy Central’s Yes And Laughter Lab. Every time before performing I feel anxious.
Most people in the audience are white Americans (although I’m seeing more and more people of color which I love), and you never know how they were going to react to a show where they see monologues, sketches and songs from a Peruvian guy about his experiences in the US. The response has been overwhelming positive.
Being vulnerable in front of an audience is not easy. Nonetheless I enjoy doing it because I get to show the real unapologetic me: ‘Hi, I’m a Latino guy who has lived most of his life in South America and now I live in the US and wow, there are some big differences’. But we also have so many things in common. We all have felt like an outcast at some point in our lives, and we hope for a world where everyone can be equal.
Comedy can bring this connection and inspire people. I hope my show gets to do that at Capital Fringe Festival. Nos vemos gente!
Erick Acuña is a Peruvian comedian based in Washington DC. He is a performer and teacher at Washington Improv Theater, and produces sketch shows at Dojo Comedy. He has performed in comedy festivals in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, among others. His solo show ‘Acuña Acuna’ was a 2019 finalist at Comedy Central’s Yes And Laughter Lab. You can find out more at erickacuna.com