Comedy celebrates Cinco de Mayo

This May, students at Fresno State will celebrate the end of a grueling semester. Today, many will also be celebrating the time-honored tradition known as Cinco de Mayo.

Today, University Student Union (USU) Productions is holding two events to honor the holiday and the rich Latino heritage from which it originated.

The first of these events is the Cinco de Mayo Festival. The band Mariachi Santa Maria will be performing for an open audience from noon to 1 p.m. on the south patio of the USU.

“We’re hoping next year we can do something a little bit bigger, maybe in the afternoon,” said Shawna Blair of USU Productions. Further plans next year include more bands and catered Mexican food.

The second event will feature stand-up comedy by notable Latino comics Armando Cosio and Rick Ramos.

Cosio, a native of Los Angeles, has been performing stand-up since 1997. He has been featured at the Latino Laugh Festival and the Paul Rodriguez Comedy Showcase, with an act that includes impressions and character voices. He has also been featured on television shows such as “Monk” and “Entourage,” and has performed with comics like George Lopez and Gabriel Iglesias.

Eric Morin of USU Productions contacted Cosio after it was decided that a comedy show would be an ideal way to showcase some Latino talent.

“I used to watch [Cosio] when I was younger and I got a hold of him through MySpace,” Morin said. “It was just fitting for Cinco de Mayo that I knew of some top comedians.”

Ramos, also of Los Angeles, has performed at the Latino Laugh Festival as well and also on the Payaso Comedy Jam, which features comics like Jeff Garcia, Joey Diaz and George Perez. While he has been featured in several shows alongside Cosio, his comedy style is quite different.

“It’s mostly frustrations about life, if you were to bottle it into one thing,” Ramos said about his routine. “Work, bosses, women, relationships, family, race, social issues.”

Ramos described his comedy as being more wrapped up in observations, while Cosio’s delivers more punchline jokes.

The show, which costs $5 to get in, will be held at the Satellite Student Union at 7 p.m. It will open with a singing performance by the winner and runner up of last Thursday’s amateur comedy night, which was also put on by USU Productions.

Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862. On that day, 4,000 Mexican soldiers triumphed over 8,000 well-armed French troops. Although the French suffered a crushing loss to the Mexican forces, the battle did not signify a Mexican independence day, as some have been led to believe. That came much earlier.

It was actually on Sept. 15, 1810 that Mexico first declared its independence from Spain. After several decades, the French tried to take control, but a skilled Mexican army led by General Ignacio Zaragoza halted them from their mission.

The holiday is a time of remembrance for many, but perhaps more importantly, it is an occasion to celebrate a new season.

“It’s just a reason for people to get out and get crazy and have a good time,” Ramos said.

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