Yamil Piedra is a talented comedian and long-time acquaintance. We went to high school and college together. The following is my latest article for HeadlineMiami.com. Enjoy!
Tomorrow, The Pretty Rock Project makes its exclusive Earth premier! Yamil Piedra has been making viewers crack up nation-wide for the better part of 16 years, and now the 6-foot-4 Miami-based comedian has developed his own interactive, ingenious and insane one-man show to delight his audience. The Pretty Rock Project opens on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 8:00 PM at Just the Funny Theater! (3119 Coral Way, Miami, FL 33145; Phone: 305.693.8669) Tickets are just $15 and can be purchased on-line at justthefunny.com/tix. For more info on Yamil visit: thisisthewebsiteofyamilpiedra.com, follow him on Twitter @ypiedra, friend him at: facebook.com/ypiedra, and watch him on youtube.com/ypiedra.
“For me this show is about evolving,” Piedra said in a press release. “People now want to be more involved, they want to be part of the action. That’s why people use social media, because it gives them the opportunity to have their voice heard and interact with others in ways we never have.” With this new show, Yamil will shatter the fourth wall and allow the audience to be right up there with him. Throughout various segments of the show, Yamil will select audience members to come up on stage and be part of the action. Also, follow Yamil on Twitter @ypiedra, as he’ll present specific hashtags to allow the audience a new level of interaction throughout the show.
“I’m beyond excited about this project,” Piedra said. “It’s the type of show I’ve been wanting to do for a while now and there’s no better place to debut it than in my hometown of Miami!”
You might have caught Yamil showcasing his acting talents on Miami’s very own “Burn Notice”, or shows like “Boston Legal” and “Las Vegas”. You also may have seen Yamil perform on stand-up comedy showcases including Comedy Central’s “Open Mic Fight”, NBC’s “Stand Up for Diversity”, and “Just for Laughs”. He was one of the stars and writers of the Spanish language sketch comedy show on MegaTV, “El Vacilon“, and was one half of the comedy duo A Pair of Nuts, which were featured on many shows, including Tosh.0.
With the big premier approaching, Yamil took a moment to chat with me about his one-man show and other aspects of his comedic career.
HLM: Your first one-man show, The Pretty Rock Project, is set to open this Saturday. What can you tell us about it?
YP: I’ve wanted to do a one man show for a while now. In 2004, when I moved to LA I started jotting down ideas, but I got preoccupied with other things and never got around to doing it. Then when I moved back to Miami, I re-started A Pair of Nuts in 2007 and things really took off for us, so again something else took precedence over doing a solo show. So now here we are in 2013, the Nuts are no longer a pair and I have no distractions, so I’m finally making it happen. I’m excited! Especially doing an interactive show where the audience gets to be up there with me.
HLM: Well, The Pretty Rock Project is marketed as: Interactive. Ingenious. Insane! How will the multimedia elements like video and social media mesh with your stand-up?
YP: It’s not all stand up, there’s also sketch comedy. It’s a hybrid comedy show that mixes various elements. Video is an element I started using with comedy back in 1997 when I started the Impromedy comedy troupe at FIU and kept doing it when I started A Pair of Nuts in 2003. The videos are used to give me time to change into a costume for the next sketch or segment and it keeps the audience entertained. As for social media, I’ll be using Twitter and giving out hashtags in a couple of segments. So if you’re coming to the show, be sure to follow me @ypiedra and get ready to tweet me!
HLM: You’re well-known not only as an actor, but as part of the former sketch comedy duo, A Pair of Nuts. What challenges did your one-man live show present that you didn’t find working with a partner?
YP: The biggest challenge was more the technical aspects than anything else—doing all new videos because I film and edit all my own stuff. The show is very media heavy, so my ass is in pain from being in an Ikea office chair and editing so many videos. And just in general, creating the flow of the show and how everything is going to run. I literally control every single cue during the show, from video to sound. The only thing I don’t control is the lights and whether the audience will laugh. Which they probably will because I look like someone who will murder them if they don’t.
HLM: Nice. Sounds like you’re in complete control of the creation and production process. That must create an incredible sense of fatherly pride. Which of the characters or sketches you created for The Pretty Rock Project stands as your favorite?
YP: It’s hard to say since the show hasn’t happened yet, but I really like “Lance Thunderstorm.” He’s an illusionist a la Criss Angel and David Blaine, except his tricks never go quite as planned. Lil Miss Tiny Tot is also fun to play; she’s a child beauty pageant contestant. And she was around way before Honey Boo Boo. I did that character a few times with A Pair of Nuts. They’ll be some familiar characters and new ones, too.
HLM: What are the most difficult aspects to your style of comedy?
YP: It’s very non-traditional and some people just don’t “get it.” Which I’m totally cool with cause I never wanted to be just a guy with a mic, I wanted more. I watch Steve Martin do his old routines and I see a lot of similarities. When I read his book, “Born Standing Up,” I saw so much in him that I see in me. He was faced with many challenges because of how different he was and I can relate.
HLM: What is the best part to your style of comedy?
YP: The most difficult aspect just so happens to also be the best part. The fact that it’s different. You stick out from the bunch. You’re memorable.
HLM: You’re billing some audience interaction for the show. Do you have a memorable moment of audience interaction in your career?
YP: I’ve never had much audience interaction throughout my career, hence the reason I’m doing this show. But if I had to think of 1 moment, it would have be at Ft. Rucker in Alabama. It was the last military base I did with A Pair of Nuts in our 2011 tour and at the beginning of the show we would always come out talk to the audience for a bit. The first thing we notice is this lady in the front row, taking up like 2 or 3 seats and just straight up crocheting a blanket. I even went backstage to grab my iPhone and record her cause we couldn’t believe it. Who crochets during a comedy show?! It was awesome!
HLM: That creates quite the visual. Perhaps I’ll try it at your next show. What’s next for you?
YP: Rest! I’ve been working on this show non-stop, so Yamil needs some relaxation. Maybe a massage and a slurpee? In all seriousness though, I’m hoping this show takes off and leads to other things. I’d love to tour with it, especially if I can take it to the troops. Those men and women are the most appreciative audience I’ve ever performed for and I think they’d love this type of show. Where ever this new chapter in my life takes me, I’m ready, so BRING IT!
Don’t miss The Pretty Rock Project, and be sure to catch Yamil this summer on the USA network’s new show, “Graceland”. The Pretty Rock Project opens on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 8:00 PM at Just the Funny Theater! (3119 Coral Way, Miami, FL 33145; Phone: 305.693.8669) Tickets are $15 and can be purchased on-line at justthefunny.com/tix. For more info on Yamil visit: thisisthewebsiteofyamilpiedra.com, follow him on Twitter @ypiedra, friend him at: facebook.com/ypiedra, and watch him on youtube.com/ypiedra.