Comedian Paul Rodriguez Skewers Verizon, Will Smith

Pioneering Latino stand-up Paul Rodriguez in is the middle of wrapping up a second weekend of LA performances of his first-ever one-man show, Just for the Record. He anchors the wide-ranging anecdotes around the idea that before he was hired by Verizon for those new TV ads, the company wanted to make sure he was psychologically sound by reviewing his personal history.

At one point in the show’s accompanying slide roll, a photo of Will Smith pops up, to which Rodriguez comments, “You forgot who your friends were – f*ck you!” Ouch. The two worked together on 1993’s Made in America and 2001’s Ali, after which the comic evidently got stung like a bee.

One of the best reviews Rodriguez has recieved is from NoHo magazine. Critic Geri Rhosen recounts that the diverse crowd was into it the night she attended. She also revisits the media spark that set Rodriguez on his still-ticking performing path:

The year was 1984 when the very personable, highly successful producer, Norman Lear approached him with an offer to have a leading role in a new comedy series called A.K.A. Pablo. However, as Lear told him when it was cancelled after a short run, America is not ready for a Latino show just yet. Paul then returned to his comedy roots doing stand-up routines with an emphasis on his Latino heritage.