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Ian Lara and the inspiration behind the romantic comedy

Ian Lara and the inspiration behind the romantic comedy

We’ve probably all heard the saying, “Growth and comfort can’t ride the same horse.” And in the comedy world, there are far too many OGs who refuse to progress — we all know who they are. The truth is that what we find funny changes over the years – whether we like it or not – because we are constantly evolving as a society. Good comedy is able to take a clever stab at something very relevant. It’s no easy feat in today’s cultural climate, and yet rising comedy star Ian Lara has managed to strike the right note when it comes to mastering it.

In Lara’s HBO Max special Romantic Comedy (directed by fellow comedian Aida Rodriguez), which released Nov. 11, the 32-year-old beautifully refines the perfect balance of poking fun at modern dating — and never get mad at it — and sex politics. His perfect comedic timing, storytelling specificity, and ability to inject personal anecdotes to avoid over-generalization are testament to his talent as a comedian and writer. And that’s what will take him far in the comedy game.

Lara’s 38-minute set begins with life during the pandemic lockdowns and touches on growing up in New York City as a child of Dominican immigrant parents. Finally he gets to the heart of the show – love, sex and modern dating. As strategic as the special seems, Lara admits he didn’t necessarily anticipate that modern dating would be the main theme. He only got around to writing it last year.

“I wrote the jokes, and I wrote the storyline, and looking back on it, I thought, that’s a lot of modern dating stuff,” he tells POPSUGAR. “And as it started to take shape where it was, well, you know, I’m in my early 30s and I’m single, and I know that’s like a point in my life. I don’t know if that’s how I plan to probably be married and have a family one day, but I wanted to do a special that captures this point in my life because it’s a point in everyone’s life when you is in her 30s and is dating and you’re trying to figure it out.”

“It’s all tongue-in-cheek — like I’m making fun of men. I make fun of women and how fast they move on and how empowered they are. I just make fun of everything.”

Lara admits he saw the special as a fun opportunity to poke fun at some of the nuances that come with dating today. “It’s all tongue-in-cheek — like I’m making fun of men. I make fun of women and how fast they move on and how strong they are. I just make fun of everything,” he says, adding that it was his humorous way of shedding light on how the dating playing field has leveled over the years.

It’s hard not to laugh out loud and appreciate Lara’s take on today’s dating spheres. His performance is clever enough that no party comes out looking like the villain. But if anything, he portrays women as empowered and men as struggling to adapt to today’s cultural changes — and it’s funny because he’s not wrong.

“It’s because women aren’t content anymore. No, that was back when you could trick a beautiful woman into marrying you at a discount,” he jokes to the laughter of the special’s crowd. “She didn’t know what was out here. She thought you were the best she could do. She didn’t know. Now they know. Thank you Instagram you ruined it You ruined it for everyone don’t want to settle down anymore.”

And while there are moments when the jokes can sound self-deprecating or even like he’s complaining, he interjects a line that alludes to how he’s everything for change: “Women, you control dating now . which is ok We had a good run. ten thousand years. It was good. It was fun. ” Lara says we want all of this to be relatable to an audience that also recognizes cultural shifts.

“If you’re in the dating scene you’ll understand why I have a joke that women control dating today.”

“If you’re in the dating scene, you can understand why I have a joke that women control dating today,” he says. “When you go on dates, you understand that women will definitely move up the ranks.” While there are still “machista men” and “feminist women,” more people are realizing that things need to be “divided more equally.” Lara has garnered a lot of acclaim since the special, but it’s not an overnight success. He’s been in the New York standup scene for more than a decade now; He started out making and hosting open mics, and eventually started racking up paid gigs at prestigious venues like NYC’s Comedy Cellar, which has featured famous comics like Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Kevin Hart and more.

Lara didn’t always want to be a comedian, even though he was the kid in the class who would either distract you with jokes or make you a butt of one. But then, in 2008, a friend took him to a live taping of Rock’s HBO special “Kill the Messenger” at the Apollo.

“I saw it live and I thought, this is the coolest thing in the world,” he says, sharing that the wheels really started to turn for him. “I thought more like ‘I’d like to do that’, not ‘I’ll do that. I don’t know, I’m a really practical, down-to-earth person.”

It was around 2010 when Lara decided to take some steps towards comedy. As he recounts, one day he literally went on Google and searched “how to be a comedian.” Back then, he attended Open Mics while studying for the LSAT. His plan was to become a lawyer if the comedy stuff didn’t work out. But after three years in the comedy world, he had already landed a manager and was doing paid shows.

A decade after starting work, he recorded a set for Comedy Central’s “Stand-Up Featuring,” which eventually garnered millions of views. He later appeared on NBC’s Bring the Funny and in 2019 made his late-night television debut on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. In 2020, he performed his first 30-minute special for HBO Latinos, Entre Nos: LA Meets NY. and was selected as one of Freeform’s 2021 Young, Black and Freeform Honorees.

It’s been quite a long journey, and the road to success hasn’t always been easy. Lara was struggling with difficulties in his personal life when it really took off for him. His mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2021. Taking care of her is his top priority, he says.

“When I was filming the Comedy Central thing, it was July 2021. My mom got sick in July 2021. It was literally the same month,” he says. “When I was filming that, it was a really tough time because I was taking care of my sick mother during the day and doing comedy at night.” His only way of coping was with isolation. “At that point, it was like I was spending 90 percent of my time with my mom and the rest [of my time] I would just do comedy to stay sane.” Lara was shooting for Comedy Central in July 2021. His mother passed away in late October 2021 and the special was eventually released in January 2022.

“She didn’t get a chance to see that, so when it came out it was bittersweet because I had the billboard, but I had to deal with the loss of my mother.”

“She didn’t get a chance to see that, so when it came out it was bittersweet because I had the billboard, but I had to deal with the loss of my mother.” As a tribute to his late mother, Lara made sure to include her in ” yelling at romantic comedy. He was supposed to be filming the special in November 2021, but his mother died shortly before. “So a week before we started filming, I had to be like, ‘Guys, I can’t do this. I’m not ready to do that,'” says Lara. “It was a big deal, but HBO was super cool. They said, ‘We understand. We’re gonna push it back. We’ll do it when you’re ready.’ So we shot this July 2022.”

A few months after his mother’s death, he was able to go and work on the material for the special. “It worked, at least for the special. It turns out that being able to push it back helped me,” he adds. “And we shot that in July and we brought Aida Rodriguez on board and working with her was just the best.”

Lara says that despite the success of his HBO Max special, he keeps his feet on the ground in everything he does — something he learned from his Dominican mother. In terms of what he wants people to take away from “Romantic Comedy,” his request is pretty simple.

“I just want people to think I’m funny, to be honest,” he says modestly. “If you’re like me, or you’re like me at a point in your life, or you’ve gone through a point in your life like mine, I want you to relate to it and feel like there’s a comedian speaking and acknowledging you’re a part of.” you or an experience you have had.”

Oh, and one more thing you want people to take away? “Come visit me when I’m in your town.”

Image source: Loshak PR

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