Review: Al Madrigal, “Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy” on Showtime

Like most stand-up comedians, Al Madrigal had not expected we’d ever live to see a President Trump.

“I didn’t think it would happen. It happened!”

Madrigal, who plays Edgar in the new Showtime series, I’m Dying Up Here, jokes in his first hour special for the network, Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy, that his own Mexican father didn’t rape or murder anyone, no matter what Trump has implied about Madrigal’s compatriots. Now his grandfather, on the other hand…he has a much more colorful saga about how the Madrigals ventured north into America.

Madrigal actually is only half Mexican, and the other half Sicilian from his mother’s side. He also suffers from allergies and astigmatism. Which as he acknowledges, is an odd illustration of the American dream for immigrants, and yet he jokingly suggests: “I like to think it’s specifically this.” Even if he knows “I look like Mexican Rick Moranis.”

He’d rather eat at a dingy taco truck than at a Chipotle, but it has nothing to do with their relative health code violations, as he explains his theory of how in the earth cilantro could become so tainted.

As a husband and a father, Madrigal is trying to become better at both jobs, although his wife reveals too much information about him to strangers and relies too much on Yelp to suggest their future destinations.

It all culminates in a 22-minute story about the time Madrigal was trying to finally attend one of his daughter’s ballet recitals in California, after two-plus years of missing his kids’ functions due to his gig as a correspondent on The Daily Show in New York City. When the audience groans at that prospect, Madrigal fires back. “Don’t oh,” he tells them. “I’ll write a dollar amount, slide it over and see what you miss,” adding: “It was a good gig.”

I’ve heard him tell this specific stories multiple times, and yet he still makes me laugh out loud every time he tells it. He has such a delightful way of expressing himself that you’ll be laughing, too, even if you feel bad for everybody else in his stories.

Al Madrigal: Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy airs exclusively on Showtime

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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