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McALLEN — Local comedians Mario “Superstar” Salazar and Raymond Orta had offers to film their stand-up comedy specials in El Paso or San Antonio, but they made the choice to film it at the historic Cine El Rey for their love of the Valley.
Filming a stand-up special on Nov. 22 at Cine El Rey for major streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Roku and hopefully Netflix, Salazar said it is a full circle moment.
In front of a sold out crowd, Salazar, of McAllen, and Orta, of La Joya, had Cine El Rey laughing and clapping throughout their whole sets.
Salazar’s set mentioned his time as a Marine, his dog Mellow and him finally moving out of his mother’s house at 44.
Orta, walking out with a Banda playing behind him like a Mexican UFC fighter, also involved his personal life growing up in Starr County with his “dysfunctional” family in his set.
In an interview following the event, Salazar said he initially started his comedy career 15 years ago with Cine El Rey helping him do so by starting weekly comedy nights in 2008 at the venue. All these years later, he said this is just another start to his next chapter in life.
Salazar said his comedy shows usually are free flowing with no time restriction but he had to be on point with the recording which brought him back to the first times he would perform at Cine El Rey all those years ago.
“When they first introduced me, I genuinely felt the love from the fellow people,” Salazar said. “To see somebody from (the RGV) filming something, they were super proud of me. I could see it, I could feel it and man, I almost cried before I even said my first words.”
Salazar said every day is an opportunity to make comedic material and it shows in his stand up.
“You look at life through a comedic lens everyday … every situation can be funny and it’s a beautiful way to live,” he said.
Orta, also being a seasoned veteran of the comedy business, said throughout the show that the hometown crowd was just as much a part of the show as them, like a symphony of laughter.
“I feel like I’m on a roller coaster buzz adrenaline dump right now,” Orta said following the show. “And I feel electric like that crowd energy was just so hot and I feel like a lightning bolt.”
With Orta’s set involving his upbringing and talking about his mother, father and grandfather, his mother was in attendance and Orta even brought out a new joke that only was known to his family.
“So when I put it out there, I hope that she was really amused … because it was a big trauma in her life but through comedy I like to overcome trauma through laughter,” he said.
With both comedians bringing their personal lives into the mix, a theme of both sets was highlighting the culture of the 956, something they carry to every show with them across the country.
Orta said oftentimes the Valley is forgotten but a main reason to film the show at Cine El Rey was to highlight the Valley culture.
“The people knew that they were just as part of the special as much as we were, and they felt that love, that connection and that’s the main thing that I wanted them to feel,” Orta said.
Salazar described the Valley as “God’s little slice of heaven” and said he admired the support the Valley has shown over the years and at the event.
“I’m so glad we put on an awesome show (for them) … I’m still speechless from how awesome everything was,” he said.
Salazar said he is aiming for the comedy specials to release early next year around February, depending on editing.
“Maybe a Valentine’s premiere so everybody could be at home with their honeys,” he said.