"I really feel like comedy is the way to break in and change hearts and minds," the 'One Day at a Time' writer and co-showrunner said following NALIP's Diverse Women In Media panel.
Gloria Calderón Kellett says her drive to create stories about the Hispanic community comes from wanting to provide more accurate representations of it in entertainment.
"The constant demonizing of our community made me a writer because we need more accuracy out there," she said during the Diverse Women In Media panel hosted by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
Pam Veasey, executive producer and co-showrunner of L.A's Finest, shared a similar inspiration at the panel. "I knew no one like me. I knew no one that looked like me so I decided to write," she told the panel's audience.
Thursday's event by the NALIP, which also included guests such as Yun Lingner, executive producer on Shark Tank, and Isabella Gomez from One Day at a Time, continued the nonprofit's two-decade history of advocating on behalf of the Latinx community, which is the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. yet vastly underrepresented. A recent study by NALIP with the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that a little over 4 percent of characters across 1,200 films between 2007 to 2018 were Latinx.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter following the event, the One Day at a Time writer and co-showrunner expressed how impactful organizations such as NALIP are to the Latinx community.
"The name suggests producers and I was foolish in thinking when I was younger, like 'Oh, I'm not a producer, I'm a writer.' But it really is everything. So writers, directors, producers, a lot of people can really get a lot out of the experience with NALIP. They really support storytellers and specifically let the Latinx community sort of get a leg up."
Calderón Kellett, who oversees the Latinx reboot of Norman Lear's CBS hit with Mike Royce set for its fourth season on Pop TV, noted NALIP's recent study as a signifier that despite conversations about diversity happening, "it's not actually getting better for the Latinx community in terms of representation on screen."
"We are really not on TV and when we are, it's still largely stereotyped roles, especially in network television, unfortunately," Calderón Kellett said. "That's what really goes out to the masses. So what happens, I think as a result of that, is that somebody who has never met a Latinx person could have a skewed view of who my community is and what they represent."
Calderón Kellett added that is why it's "very personal" to her and fellow Latinx creators to tell their stories and "show the totality of who we are." Impactful storylines that One Day at a Time has brought to a broader audience include the Cuban American community's thoughts on Che Guevara clothing and merchandise seen as akin to wearing a shirt with Hitler's face in a Jewish family's home, a queer quinceañera and shedding light on Operation Pedro Pan.
When asked how comedy can be a successful genre to introduce the American public to an underrepresented community, Calderón Kellett noted, "I really feel like comedy is the way to to break in and change hearts and minds."
"I love the sitcom," she continued. "I think the sitcom is 'come on into my living room.' It's no coincidence that most sitcoms surround a couch. It's literally, 'come to my living room and hang out with me and we're going to talk and hang out and you're going to be like my family.' It's just a warm hug."
"When done correctly, when done the way the shows that I grew up on did it right, you would get to hang out with that family like you were one of that family. I think that comedy can do that in a way that is harder for drama...the stakes are so much higher. It's usually life and death.... So I just feel like there's such a value in doing it through a comedy and especially a family comedy."
The past few years have seen a rigorous expansion of stand-up comedy after years of neglect. Hence why there are hundreds of titles in Netflix's stand-up category. Even for budding comedy fans, there's a lot of must-see specials to choose from.
So here are the 25 best stand-up specials on Netflix right now. While they may be ranked, they're all really good and deserving of your time and laughs.
1. Hannah Gadsby, Nanette
Run Time: 69 min | IMDb: 8.4/10
You'd have to be living under a rock not to have heard about Australian comic Hannah Gadsby and her must-watch stand-up special. Her hour-long set is changing the way we think about comedy, chucking the ironic detachment in the trash and instead, offering up a bit of humor interlaced with moving reflections on life. Most of Gadsby's routine chronicles the joys and hardships of being a queer woman — her childhood in Tasmania, her praise for Monica Lewinsky, her commentary on why sexuality and comedy go hand-in-hand — but she also claps back against the idols of her early life, men like Louis C.K. who've now become the problem. In other words, Gadsby's not holding any punches with this one.
2. Dave Chappelle, The Age of Spin
Run Time: 67 min | IMDb: 8/10
It's difficult to miss Dave Chappelle while skimming through Netflix's comedy offerings. After all, in less than a year, the Chappelle's Show star and co-creator debuted four — yes, four — stand-up specials on the streaming platform. Depending on who you ask, the latter two specials —Equanimity and The Bird Revelation — are either additional examples of his brilliance or signs of a celebrity rushing to maintain his cultural relevance. The first two, however — Deep in the Heart of Texas and The Age of Spin — fare much better. This is especially true of Spin, which is regarded by critics and audiences alike as one of Chappelle's better comedy offerings in recent memory. Of course, this is Chappelle we're talking about, so none of these routines are without their share of controversy.
3. Hasan Minhaj, Homecoming King
Run Time: 73 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
The Daily Show's Hasan Minhaj uses his Netflix stand-up special, Homecoming King, to weave an intricate and hilarious account of his life as a son of Indian-American immigrants. Sure that means there are plenty of funny cultural learning curves. Minhaj describes how his dad took him to Home Depot instead of Toys-R-Us for his birthday and how he struggled to fit in with a “bunch of Ryan Lochte's” in high school, but what really makes this special stand out is how Minhaj manages to be bluntly honest about the...