Published: Oct. 20, 2020

Gadiel Del Orbe, former Buzzfeed content creator for Pero Like and guest star on the YouTube/Buzzfeed pilot series Unfortunatly Ashly, and Julissa Calderon, actor, activist and star of the Netflix hit series Gentefied, will be giving a virtual talk to the CU community on Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Del Orbe chatted briefly with CU Boulder Today, answering questions and offering advice.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

I would say the point of the month is that it is an opportunity for us to celebrate ourselves and to say that we are here and that we have contributed so much to this country. It is also a time for our country to celebrate us. There is so much history of America treating us differently, and now this is an opportunity to say we are just as much a part of this country as everyone else. What I want the students to take away from this talk is that whatever I’ve done and accomplished, they can accomplish that too.

People would be surprised to know…

I think people would be surprised that I was afraid of public speaking before I went into comedy. I served in the military during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I didn’t expect any of this to happen in my life. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a real estate investor. Now I’m a comedian.

Speaking of comedians, the hardest part is…

The hardest part about being a comedian is that it’s fun, but at the same time, it is a big risk. You go on stage every single night in front of people who don’t want to laugh, and you have to make them laugh. Even when you’re in a bad mood–you’re human, things happen, you have bad days–you have to go up on stage and make people laugh. Sometimes you have to go to places you don’t really want to go to–like a bar, where everyone is watching a game.You have to say: hey, forget the game, focus on me. Those are the bad nights. But at the same time, those hard nights are what build calluses and allow you to become a better comedian.

Stand-up comedy in the COVID-19 era

I do miss the nightlife, going to comedy clubs. I miss being in front of crowds. The funny thing is I was afraid of public speaking, but now that I am not getting up on stage, I miss it so much. To me, stand-up comedy is art in its purest form, because it’s just you and one microphone, and you need to have material that will make a room full of people laugh.

Dealing with failure

At first, I avoided it. When I first started in comedy, I was like: man, I don’t want to do this. But what I say now is if you’re going to fail, fail full. Failure is an opportunity. Most people see it as something negative, but it’s not. It’s an opportunity for you to grow. If you know failure is coming, you accept it as part of the process, and then you move forward. There is no one way to success, but the truth is everyone fails at something.

Finding passion

When I was in the navy, I would hang out with the guys and I would be the funny one. I love when people laugh. So I was living in that space when I found out what I wanted to do. It’s OK if you haven’t found your passion. For me, I joined the military, I got out. I tried real estate, it didn’t work out. Then I found comedy, and that’s where I am now. Sometimes life gives you pressure to decide now. Forget the pressure and try new things. That’s how you find passion.

Comedian Gadiel Del Orbe

If you go

Who: CU community
What: Gadiel Del Orbe and Julissa Calderon virtual event
When: Wednesday, Oct. 21, 6 p.m. (MDT)
Where: Zoom