Actor John Leguizamo finds himself in a unique position of being known, and celebrated, for his performances in not only film and television, but also on the Broadway stage. His one-man shows have become a favorite for fans all across the country, and most recently, he's given us Ghetto Klown -- a detailed description of his life. Now, the play has become a graphic novel of the same name.
Leguizamo has been in the news as of late for some comments surrounding GOP candidate Donald Trump and his remarks about the Latino community. The actor told MStars News his feelings about what the billionaire candidate said back when he announced his presidential run as well as his own opinions about Trump hosting Saturday Night Live, specifically saying that it makes the show, and the network, both look desperate. In fact, he believed it to be a "circus act."
MStars News caught up with Leguizamo before an appearance at New Jersey City University's event for the National Society of Leadership and Success.
MStars News: Why was this event at New Jersey City University a good place for you to come speak and promote Ghetto Klown?
John Leguizamo: Jersey has always had a similar vibe to New York. We have a lot of the same personality and similar ideals. I relate a lot to Jersey people and they've always been very supportive of my work. A huge part of my Broadway crowd has always been from Jersey. I actually use Jersey as a place to test out my material. I'm testing my new show, Latin History for Dummies, around here. It's great to find a place close to New York where I can find the freedom to fail. [laughs]
MS: How long do you shop it around and fine-tune it before bringing it to Broadway?
JL: Ghetto Klown took me eight years of my life to put together. It was one of the more complicated pieces I've done. It was really hard to crack that career paradigm, and that life paradigm -- especially when you've had some success, it becomes a little harder.
Real life doesn't fall into a two-act structure really easily, but I feel like I accomplished it.
A photo posted by The Society (@thensls) on Nov 10, 2015 at 5:17pm PST
MS: Why make Ghetto Klown a graphic novel?
JL: I felt like the regular layperson has a hard time reading [the play] format. I felt Ghetto Klown was my most comprehensive; it was the most complete of all my work. It's all my life. This was the whole thing, and I felt it really translated well because there are so many characters, places and time periods. I thought the graphic would be so perfect. Graphic novels can travel so many places.
MS: One thing I've always admired about you is that you've done movies and television, but everyone knows your one-man shows. That's a very hard thing to do. Why do you think your shows stand out?
JL: I think, first of all, I created my own hybrid -- a combination of stand up, plays and drama. There's a lot of drama, it's not just a comedic story. Comedians tell bits; mine is a play. There's a beginning, middle and end. I think that's what people are responding to.
I also don't pull any punches. I tell it exactly how I experienced it and felt. I think if you're completely honest, people really feel that. They can tell if something is genuine. They feel like I'm offering something up, like an Aztec sacrifice. [laughs]
#Repost @kydowling with @repostapp. ・・・ Got to speak with the hilarious #JohnLeguizamo at @thensls. Interview will be up soon on @mstarsnewssns A photo posted by Mstars News (@mstarsnewssns) on Nov 10, 2015 at 4:32pm PST
MS: Donald Trump recently hosted SNL. During the monologue, Larry David called him a racist. It was scripted but people are saying the fact that he was called a racist on live television gets the word out there.
JL: It's funny that they didn't mention the sexist comments he's also made. He's been equally sexist as he has been racist.
I just find it kind of loathsome that they would celebrate him on a show like that. Yeah, I believe in the freedom of speech. He should be on CNN; he should be on MSNBC, on Fox News. They should be grilling the hell out of him and giving him the time to really find out what he believes and doesn't believe in. To celebrate him on a show like that where you know if he made that comment about any other ethnic group, he would not be there- Mike Richards [from Seinfeld], they didn't put him on Saturday Night Live. Anybody else who has made any crazy comments like that, they're not on the show.
It's just weird. It makes [NBC] look desperate. There's a desperateness there. I'm sorry that NBC or SNL is feeling desperate that they feel they have to pull such a circus act.
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