Comedian Aida Rodriguez Explains How Her Kids Inspired Her to Keep Doing Stand-Up
Our November CHICA star on her friendship with Tiffany Haddish and the Netflix special that made her a household name.
If you haven't yet watched the Aida Rodriguez episode of Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready, block off 30 minutes of your day immediately. Rodriguez, our November CHICA star, will have you laughing at things you won't believe you'll find funny — family drama, murderous boyfriends, etc. — and wishing that you could watch her for another two hours. “I worked really hard on that special,” she tells People CHICA's digital executive editor, Shirley Velasquez. “There was so much of me in it. That was the first time that I gave people a part of me that I had never given before.”
Since They Ready premiered on Netflix in August, Rodriguez's star has been on the rise, but she doesn't want to let the success of the show stop her from pushing herself in her comedy or her career. “One thing that I like to do is stay grounded. It's just one set. It's 30 minutes,” she tells CHICA. “It's on to the next thing. I've done so many comedy sets and new jokes since then. I just want people to know that I'm going to continue to write and not get lazy and get caught up with one special.”
Rodriguez began her comedy career after a producer saw her at a roast and told her that stand-up was her calling. “He gave me a list of open mics, and then I went and did them, and I've been doing them ever since,” she explains. “I've always wanted to do stand-up. When I was little, I used to get a broomstick and entertain my mom.” She cites Johnny Carson and Lucille Ball as some of her biggest inspirations, and says that she met Haddish through the stand-up comedy circuit, where women are still vastly outnumbered by men. “We would always find each other,” she says, adding that the relationship was cemented when they ran into each other at an audition for the same part. “She saw me at the audition and was like, ‘I know exactly who you are,' and she said, ‘I wanna be your friend.' And I was like, ‘I wanna be your friend,' and we've been friends ever since.”
It took years for Rodriguez to be able to make comedy her full-time job; during the times she thought about giving it up to pursue something easier, her two children, now adults, convinced her to keep trying. “Every day that I thought about quitting, they would talk me out of it,” she says. “There was a moment when I told my son, ‘I don't think I'm going to do this anymore,' and he was like, ‘If you quit, my hero dies.'” Whenever you see her saluting someone in the audience during one of her shows, she's acknowledging her kids, who still come to tapings and appearances.
The Netflix special may be behind her, but Rodriguez has plenty of other projects in the works. She's developing a TV show based on her life as well as a movie based on her uncle (mentioned in They Ready), and her new podcast, I'll Say It for You, premieres in November. In all of these arenas, she plans to keep “throwing the rope back,” as she and Haddish have done for one another over the years. “I look forward to employing people from marginalized groups to write and tell the stories of people from marginalized groups, which hasn't been the standard before,” she says. “It's not just about doing the big things, but the little things.”
Read more about Aida Rodriguez in the November issue of People en Español.