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SNL's Marcello Hernandez comedy show brings together students, fans, Latino community

The show was hosted at Mountain America Stadium as part of the Cafeteria Comedy Club series


Comedian Marcello Hernandez performing at the Cafeteria Comedy show at the San Tan Ford Club on Saturday, Feb, 10. 2024, in Tempe.

In a box overlooking the field of Mountain America Stadium and the city of Tempe, a sold-out crowd of students, alumni and comedy fans from across Arizona erupted in laughter and applause.

The stand-up show featured openers Stan Chen and Anthony A., and headlined Cuban Dominican comedian Marcello Hernandez, best known for his role on Saturday Night Live.

An interview with Comedian Stan Chen at the "Cafeteria Comedy" show at the San Tan Ford Club on Saturday, Feb, 10. 2024, in Tempe.

The theme of the night across sets was identity. Chen poked fun at Asian American stereotypes, Anthony A. reminisced on "Chicano culture" and his New Mexican roots, and Hernandez appealed to the humor of fellow Latinos. 

Local comedians Ernesto Ortiz and Gabriel Olivarez attended the event to hear Hernandez and support their friend Anthony A. The pair discussed the relatability of the comedians' performances.

"Any time I hear his comedy, I'm like, 'Oh! I totally relate,'" Ortiz said.

"And when he talks about his mom!" Olivarez said.

Hernandez is known for his content about his upbringing by a Cuban mother and his ability to write for both English and Spanish-speaking audiences. While in Phoenix, he performed a separate show "En EspaƱol" at Desert Ridge Improv.

"I just love his Spanish, because it's beautiful Spanish," said attendee Laura Sanchez, a fan of Hernandez's who came with her friends to see the show in Tempe.

Hernandez's stand-up also drew on the humor of a college-aged audience, pointing out ASU's party school reputation at the beginning of the set and later joking about the struggles of dating app profiles.

Julia Smith-Plata, a freshman studying neuroscience, and Shaela Patel, a freshman studying conservation biology and ecology, followed Hernandez's rise to fame on SNL.

"I really loved the 'short king' section that he did on Weekend (Update)," Patel said.

An interview with "Cafeteria Comedy" show attendee Jenny Dupuis at the San Tan Ford Club on Saturday, Feb, 10. 2024, in Tempe.

Tickets to the show, sold by 365 Community Union, went quickly at an accessible price point between $25 and $35.

The Cafeteria Comedy Club series is part of a movement by ASU's 365 Community Union to make use of the stadium outside of football season and give both students and community members access to the space, said marketing manager Kimberly Carson.

According to Carson, the name "Cafeteria Comedy Club" and the series' subsequent theme were inspired by the first comedy show hosted in the San Tan Ford Club of the stadium, when comedian Akaash Singh noted the unique venue reminded him of being in a school cafeteria.

"It kind of gives us a place to think back on sitting around with your friends and making jokes and just laughing until your stomach hurts," Carson said.

Other events 365 Community Union hosts at the field include yoga and movie nights. According to Carson, more comedy events are in the works, with details still to be announced.

Edited by Alysa Horton, Sadie Buggle and Caera Learmonth

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