Vladimir Caamaño - A Broad Life

June 22, 2020

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Vladimir Caamaño

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Valerie Lopez

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Last year around this time, I thought I'd reached a pinnacle after talking to several of the actors involved with Letterkenny. But after this week's guest, it looks like another pinnacle has been achieved.

I'm a huge fan of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Superstore, TV sitcoms that I've binge watched in the last year. So when a representative of Vladimir Caamaño approached me to talk about his new show, Tommy, I started my normal due diligence of looking at his experience. As a comic with Just For Laughs credentials, I was already set to say "yes", but when I saw his guest appearances on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Superstore listed, I belted out "NOICE", and talk of scheduling began post-haste.

Caamaño is an interesting figure in TV, but let's address his comedy upbringing. He began in New York, the toughest training ground for a young comic, but also, as he's quick to point out, quite a blessing. Where else can you so easily hop on different trains to hit distanced and varied open mics? It's a luxury not really possible in the other coast's comedy behemoth, Los Angeles. Another luxury when making your way while building a career is affordability, and Caamaño is quick to praise his dad, who allowed him to stay rent free with him in Brooklyn while he hit the mics and learned the essentials of comedy. As for what motivated him to start? The simplest and most pure reason of all: while watching an Eddie Murphy special with friends and observing their laughter, Caamaño noted "That's a great way to get attention".

(of stand-up comedy) That's a great way to get attention.
Vladimir Caamaño

Fast forward to 2016, when Variety named Caamaño one of the ten funniest comics to look for. His 2016 class included such notables as Lauren Lapkus, Cameron Esposito, Roy Wood Jr., and Jermaine Fowler. It's but one impressive accomplishment among many. Like the vaunted invitation to the 2015 Just For Laughs in Montreal, an invitation that took him three attempts to land (lest you think any of this is easy). It's also where he received the Howie Mandel hug that launched a whirlwind of activity leading to more comedy credentials, like the invitation to perform on The CW Gala hosted by Howie Mandel. Caamaño was the sole JFL Fresh Faces comic to land an invitation to that event that year. Add to this an HBO Entre Nos comedy special, a Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance, and you get the idea that all that early work in NYC was paying off.

Then Hollywood began calling on this Dominican raised in the Bronx. A Bronx Life is a sitcom idea that Caamaño developed into a pilot and--while it didn't get picked up--he hopes to be able to develop it with all the skills he's picked up over the last 5 years. His appearances on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Marvel Runaways, and Superstore all have helped him groom an entirely new set of skills. But none more so than landing a series regular role next to acclaimed actress Edie Falco in the CBS drama Tommy.

In the dramatic series which launched in early 2020, Caamaño's character Abner Diaz serves as Tommy's driver and personal security detail. Of his experience of working with Falco, Caamaño says "If Edie says I can act, I can act!".

Unfortunately, CBS cancelled the show after one brief season, meaning the end of one journey for Caamaño, but the promise of many more journeys is on the horizon. During our talk Vladimir shares sometimes he feels a bit like Kurt Vonnegut and his style of letting the cards fall where they may. In Vonnegut's Galapagos, the phrase "and so it goes" is often repeated and whether it's due to human action or how external factors progress, for Caamaño the key takeaway is "All we control is the process".

Supposing Caamaño had been in control of the process, would it surprise young Vladimir of 13 years ago that the process could have taken him on such a wild and diverse road? Perhaps it's all rooted in knowing what we desire out of our individual human experience? "We all want to pursue our dream and have our own version of success, but we don't know where things will turn," Caamaño says. His road has taken so many interesting turns, we expect we'll continue to see new and interesting developments with Caamaño for some time to come.

We all want to pursue our dream and have our own version of success, but we don't know where things will turn
Vladimir Caamaño

We look forward to seeing where the road takes him. Especially, if one of his stops along the way is Austin. We'll have the BBQ recommendations ready.

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