Comedy Wham LIVE: Chris Cubas Has a Story For You

January 11, 2019

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Richard Goodwin

Listen

This week’s episode marks a pair of momentous occasions: our first ever LIVE podcast interview recording (from the amazing Fallout Theater), and Valerie Lopez getting the chance to sit down with a guest we’ve been dying to talk to for some time now, Chris Cubas!

Cubas is a powerhouse in the Austin comedy scene, and hosts The Sting showcase and the podcast Canceled. He’s also been seen and heard nationwide on Doug Benson’s Doug Loves Movies podcast, Comedy Central’s @midnight, and his own show Chris Gets Money on FUSION.

If you told a young Chris Cubas, broken down on the side of the road on a 100 mile round trip from his first open mic in upstate New York, that he’d have a mile long credit list...well, he might actually not be that surprised. Born in the projects of Staten Island, he grew up interested in comedy, absorbing icons of the time like Bill Cosby, and soaking in the humor his family loved, like Soupy Sales. He even had some celebrity exposure, in the form of getting roasted by phone from Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, under his belt. That’s a 100% intended wrestling pun; Cubas is a huge fan of the sport to this day.

So when he headed out to that first open mic, it seemed like a natural step, and--aside from the car giving up the ghost--didn’t go half bad.

As Cubas recounts this early tale to Valerie, you can’t help but immediately recognize an analogue to his storytelling style of comedy. Rather than a notebook of laboriously, meticulously crafted material, Cubas likes to work from his self-described “weirdly good” memory, putting the spin on the narrative thread he feels comes most naturally. “I have ideas, I just say 'em. I’m not smart enough to say 'em smart, so I just say 'em,” he jokes.

“I have ideas, I just say 'em. I’m not smart enough to say 'em smart, so I just say 'em." Chris Cubas

Austin has been home to Cubas for 10 years as of this episode. In 2008, he came down to Austin for a FunFunFun Fest appearance, and literally returned home the next weekend, packed up a duffel bag, and moved here.

It’s that kind of self assured spontaneity that gets Cubas into some of the many interesting opportunities he’s landed, like opening for Ralphie May during a 2013 summer tour. Or making it onto the @midnight stage. The show was looking for “unknown”, but fan favorite, comedians to bring on, and Cubas was so successful, he ended up making a handful of appearances. Those appearances got him management representation, and led to the laborious, meticulously crafted, idea for Chris Gets Money. (We kid; the concept came to him literally on the bus ride to the exploratory meeting.) In Money, Cubas gets to live like the 1% for 30 days, and documents the whole thing. His perspectives on class differences on display in Money mesh perfectly with his well honed sociopolitical and philosophical observations on modern life. That’s a fancy way of saying he calls shit like he sees it: inequality, racism, and absurd social norms are all fodder to be deftly dissected on stage and screen.

When he’s not performing, it’s not uncommon to find Cubas driving community events that show the size of his heart matches his giant personality. He’s helped run multiple benefits and fundraisers, including for the family of the amazing Funniest Person in Austin Winner--and all around beautiful person--the late Lashonda Lester, and recently for RAICES, an organization that supports families with immigration and asylum challenges. It’s been nothing short of inspiring to see Cubas jump into action to do whatever he can to help make the best out of bad situations.

While a move to one of the coasts (the traditional Comedy Migration Trail) is definitely a possibility in Cubas’s future, he’s not sitting idle while he’s here in Austin. The first Wednesday of every month Cubas hosts the showcase The Sting at King Bee Lounge. He also has a weekly podcast, Canceled, that features guests discussing TV shows that lasted only one season (or less) on air; past episodes have covered greats like Freaks and Geeks, and lesser known...gems?...like the short lived musical police drama Cop Rock. He’s got an encyclopedic knowledge of many and sundry cultural topics, and it’s a joy to see and hear him opine on them.

As soon as you finish listening, start making plans to see and hear Chris Cubas:

----

We’d like to extend a special thanks to Fallout Theatre for hosting this special event, and the many fans and listeners that came out. Double that thanks, and add one giant bear hug, to Chris Cubas, for giving us a stellar opening set and wide-ranging, honest, and hilarious interview. Be on the lookout for news from us on future events; we’re hoping to bring you more special surprises, so reach out with your ideas for guests!

MORE ABOUT
Chris Cubas