Josh Castro: Analyzing It All

March 3, 2020

Photo Credit

Josh Castro


Valerie Lopez


Scott Sticker


Josh Cas­tro is always siz­ing up the sit­u­a­tion. Stand­ing qui­et­ly at the back of an open mic or show­case, he watch­es the audi­ence like a hawk, not­ing what’s hit­ting and what’s not.

Cas­tro hits the stage as a warm, invit­ing smile nat­u­ral­ly crawls across his face. He looks like he was born with that smile just as much as he was born for the stage.

Grow­ing up in gang cul­ture and neg­a­tiv­i­ty” in one of the poor­est dis­tricts in the nation,” inside of El Paso, Cas­tro had to use com­e­dy to get through. The only way to cope was humor,” he said. Com­e­dy has always been part of my life, I just didn’t know how to apply it.”

Comedy has always been part of my life, I just didn’t know how to apply it.
Josh Castro

With degrees in psy­chol­o­gy and crim­i­nol­o­gy and a master’s in human ser­vices, it’s no won­der Cas­tro is so good at read­ing audi­ences. When he moved from San Anto­nio to Austin and start­ed com­e­dy in earnest nine years ago, he took the time to study the crowds and the comics. He quick­ly picked up on what worked in Austin vs. San Anto­nio vs. his home­town of El Paso.

Cas­tro mar­ried that ana­lyt­i­cal nature with his unique back­ground to cre­ate relat­able hilar­i­ty. His jokes and warm nature were already like a mag­net for most, but for any­one who shared aspects of his back­ground, things were auto­mat­i­cal­ly elevated.

No mat­ter where I’ve gone there’s always some­body who can relate to my sto­ry … they get the cul­ture, get the ref­er­ences,” Cas­tro said. I remem­ber this from back home so I’m try­ing to make a joke out of it, but some­one from here to Cal­i­for­nia can relate because we’re all from the border.”

No matter where I’ve gone there’s always somebody who can relate to my story…
Josh Castro

That inher­ent con­nec­tion is what led Cas­tro to start his show Bor­der­Laughs Com­e­dy Show. Bor­der­Laughs brings togeth­er comics who grew up on the bor­der to tell their sto­ries and expe­ri­ences from that life.

As a kid, late-night chan­nel surf­ing led Cas­tro to Que Locos!, a standup show root­ed in His­pan­ic his­to­ry start­ed by Mike Rob­les. With Span­ish punch­lines and jokes that felt like these comics had been watch­ing his life, Cas­tro had final­ly found some­thing that spoke to his back­ground and his cul­ture. It was hilar­i­ous and relat­able and he felt like it was just for him.

Cas­tro held on to that cul­tur­al relata­bil­i­ty, push­ing him to inject his own back­ground into his sets and any show that he pro­duced. That’s one of the main rea­sons he start­ed Bor­der­Laughs Com­e­dy Show, he said, to take those expe­ri­ences and take those things that peo­ple grew up with … and make it relat­able for every­body and have com­mon ground.”

Cas­tro wants comics to share their raw and per­son­al expe­ri­ences on these shows. He knows that the things that these now-comics attempt­ed to under­stand or deflect with humor as they grew up in these sit­u­a­tions can draw a crowd clos­er and make it feel like they get them.

I would like to be the beacon here for Latinos to come here and perform and get to know the scene as well.
Josh Castro

Unlike many comics who are noto­ri­ous­ly bad at the busi­ness side” of com­e­dy, Cas­tro is a nat­ur­al pro­mot­er. With­in min­utes of Valerie’s inter­view, he had already plugged his web­site, show­case, and Insta­gram. When he men­tions the venue his show is at, he actu­al­ly says the address out loud.

One can quick­ly extrap­o­late that this mar­ket­ing prowess emerged from Castro’s ana­lyt­i­cal nature. Through tons of tri­al and error, he’s found the best angle for who, what, where, when, and how, to tar­get (some­times it’s every­one, every­where, all the time, any way pos­si­ble). And it’s paid off too: Cas­tro has a sol­id show fea­tur­ing hilar­i­ous comics from var­ied bor­der backgrounds.

Castro’s not plan­ning to rest on this suc­cess though. He’s using it to acti­vate a ris­ing tide to help oth­ers’ boats float to the top.

I’m going to con­tin­ue to work,” he said. I would like to be the bea­con here for Lati­nos to come here and per­form and get to know the scene as well.”

Josh can be seen:

  • Down­town Com­e­dy Night — Show­case on Sun­day March 8th at Hal­cy­on 218 W. 4th Street, Austin TX 78701.
  • Bor­der­laughs Com­e­dy Show — Host and Pro­duc­er of this month­ly show­case on Thurs­day March 12th at San­ta Cruz The­ater 1807 E. 7th Street, Austin TX 78702 
  • Com­e­dy Night — Head­lin­ing on Thurs­day March 19th at Sky Hookah Lounge 1100 Grand Ave Pwy. Pflugerville TX

Fol­low Josh 

Josh Castro