Comedian Aida Rodriguez was performing at Flappers in Burbank recently.
Amid a set that saw the "Last Comic Standing" alum say offensive things about black people, gay men and her own daughter, someone in the audience started burping. On purpose.
Rodriguez would find out why after the show. Meeting a line of people, most of whom had positive things to say, she was confronted by two lesbians who were offended — but only by Rodriguez' joke about lesbians. One of them found it so bad that she had begun burping as disruptively as possible.
Now continuing her protest in conversation, the woman went on to ask Rodriguez for her email address. She wanted to tell the comedian how to be funnier.
This is why, when it comes to the question of how politically correct comedians should try to be, Rodriguez falls in the middle. They should change with the times, she said, but the quickness of people to chastise them for not doing so fast enough has led performers into a place of frustration.
"We live in a society that specializes in the assignment of blame," she said on the phone Wednesday, ahead of her Saturday show at Auburn Public Theater.
Rodriguez has leaned toward comedy since lugging a broomstick microphone around her house as a child, entertaining her pregnant mother during her bed rest. She grew up on Richard Pryor and Cuban comedian Alvarez Guedes, and later George Carlin, but her family's humorous side was just as formative, she said.
"My mom and family were very funny," she said. "I learned to be entertaining with my version of the truth through them."
Rodriguez pursued comedy after some time as a model with IMG. She'd go on to finish in the top 10 of "Last Comic Standing's" eighth season, and has appeared on Nickelodeon’s "Mom’s Night Out" and NuVo TV’s "Stand Up and Deliver." She'll follow her Auburn show Saturday with a run at the renowned Comedy Cellar in Manhattan.
Wherever she performs, Rodriguez said, she tries to present the same thing: An honest look at human nature. If she invokes stereotypes, it's only to highlight their ridiculousness.
"We're all humans and have thoughts that might not be popular, but we're entitled to those thoughts," she said. "Some people call it hardcore. I just think it's honest."
Rodriguez' work has earned her candid raves from Roseanne Barr, Keenan Ivory Wayans and Amy Schumer, she said. She's also grateful to have made fans at places like Auburn Public Theater.