TDQ: What was your first gig?
In the spring of 1990 Richy Lala filmed a pilot titled "The Fresh Prince From Bel-Air." Richy played the part of a rich translplant from Southern California to Western Philadelphia. His new-found friend, played by Will Smith, would help him make a new life in very different surroundings. Studio execs passed on the pilot but soon came up with "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" after tweaking the story slightly.
Lala: At the Milkboy Cafe in Ardmore, Pennsylvania…once the label for such bands as Digable Planets, they opened a modest music cafe that I produced a show featuring the comics I had been seeing at local clubs…I’d book them and host the show myself…it wasn’t pretty for me…but the beginning is usually pretty rough.
TDQ: Tell us about your gig hosting open mic night at the Funky Buddha.
Lala: When I moved to Florida almost eight years ago now, I first met Will Watkins…who filmed his set in the same show at the Buddha as I did…there weren’t too many places back then to perform and he introduced me to then-host, Renda Writer, a local poet. After religiously attending their open mic for three years, the Buddha and Renda parted ways. The owners asked if I’d host, since then we have gone from a 20-seat venue to a 120-seat venue…with consistently sold out shows. And the door money we raise goes to feeding the homeless…we charge $3 or two canned goods as admission. And everyone is always welcome to drop off canned goods or donate more directly to Boca Helping Hands. We average 30 performers every Wednesday and well over 100 audience members per show. Ten years running, it’s the longest south Florida open mic, from comics to poets to musicians.
This week’s TDQ Q&A features south Florida comedian Richy Lala. Rich talks to us about the best heckling he’s ever encountered, how Bill Cosby changed his life (and no, not because of Pudding Pops) and his favorite Martin Mull-Tim Curry flick. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with comedian Richy Lala:
The Daily Quarterly: How did you hear about thedailyquarterly.com?
Richy Lala: When I first heard about it…I was 9 years old….my sister Gretel and I had been trail-walking when some old lady told us about it.
TDQ: How excited were you that The Daily Quarterly asked you for an interview?
Lala: It’s pretty much the highlight of my life so far…I haven’t slept since I was approached.
TDQ: What made you want to be in show business?
Lala: Growing up and seeing how people/family members became happy while watching funny entertainers…no matter what was going on in our lives…as a child my entire family, all 6 of us, always sat and enjoyed the Cosby show on Thursdays…30 minutes of happiness…tip my hat to Dr. Huxtable.