Trying to contain his emotions, El Paso teenager Nicolas Alvarez walked eagerly to Ernie G after the empowerment comedian finished off an hour-long inspirational assembly in front of hundreds of students.
"You really picked me up," said the Eastwood High School freshman as he lunged past the extended hand of Ernie G, and instead gave the entertainer a big hug, "I was in a bad place, I've kind of failed, and you've really helped out."
--That's the type of effect comedian Ernie G continues to make on thousands of at-risk youth all around the nation.
"The students of El Paso are so hungry for inspiration and Latino role models that I feel like I fit in like a glove."
Ernie G is here in the borderland hosting the Latin Comedy Jam, a tour of top-shelf Hispanic comedians who are performing Friday, April 26th at El Paso's historic Plaza theatre.
The Los Angeles native drove to El Paso almost a week before Friday's performance so he could personally visit borderland youngsters at schools and recreations centers all around the city.
"It was great to listen to Ernie G. talk to these young men and women," said Herman Delgado, a boxing trainer and mentor to hundreds of kids at the Carolina Rec Center in El Paso's lower valley, "He put a smile on their face and sent a powerful message to them. To believe in themselves and they will succeed! Outstanding!"
Crews at KVIA ABC-7 shadowed Ernie G all around town, including his visit to ESPN Radio, AM 600 in El Paso. On the mid-day show of Andy Lee, the jubilant-sports-broadcaster-who's-known-for-a-sense-of-humor-of-his-own told Ernie G live on-air: "What you do, and the way you weave, your routine, your bit, your jokes and your comedy, are uplifting motivational messages.
"That's the thing you -don't see- When you go to the club and see a comedy show you laugh for a few hours, but it doesn't really move you. You just laugh. But, with you (Ernie G), you laugh, and you might cry a little. You feel like you can take on the world."
It's an opinion echoed by Eastwood High baseball player Josh Urrutia. "I realized after watching his show that there's a lot more important things in life, and college is important."
Ernie G. has taken his message on the road. He's not only a spokesman with the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund, he's also performed his empowerment comedy assembly at hundreds of schools around the nation. Ernie G has been featured in national articles in the Washington Post and FOX News Latino, among the dozens of print media outlets reporting on him every year.
"I guarantee that your students will be touched, moved & inspired to take action and stay committed to realizing their college dream," said Ernie G, who feels like he's a perfect role model for people in the Sun City. With over two million people in the El Paso/Juarez/Las Cruces area, the southwest area is a metropolitan area with the highest percentage of Latino residents in a big city nationwide: over 90 percent, and Ernie G recognizes that: "El Paso was the very first road gig I ever had (over a decade ago). And I loved performing here because of all of the beautiful brown faces. It's one of the true American cities that is also dominated by Latinos."
- Dominated by Latinos - and future leaders of America -- who are taking the empowerment comedian's message with them, as they continue to bring their own positive message to their communities: "If it is to be ... it is up to me ... Says Ernie G"
TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE FOR THE LATIN COMEDY JAM:
Friday, April 26th at 7:45 p.m.
Plaza Theatre Box Office
Other comedians performing at the Latin Comedy Jam include: Jerry Garcia, Johnny Sanchez, Dillon Garcia & Luke Torres.