August 2021 - MAKE 'EM LAUGH - The Mind of AMarie
AMarie Castillo is a hometown girl who followed her dreams. But found herself moving back to the Land of Enchantment unexpectedly. Sadly, her mom passed away from cancer, leaving her to help raise her sister’s kids with her stepdad. Many would have seen this situation as the end of their career. But for Castillo, the pandemic taught me anything is possible, and you can make anything happen anywhere. While creating a game plan, she fell in love with Albuquerque all over again and appreciated it even more.
I am ready to make things happen in Albuquerque. My life is seriously an NBC sitcom!
Castillo took a moment to sit down with New Mexico Entertainment and share her love of comedy, her first gig, and what is missing from the Albuquerque comedy scene.
Where did your love of comedy develop?
My whole life, I have been a big personality and am very goofy. I was always up for class clown. I was always the one in the room making my friends and family laugh. But my love for comedy is funny! I never planned on becoming a stand-up comedian. It just naturally happened. I always wanted to be in entertainment or sports, but it never crossed my mind to be a stand-up comedian. I have the classic story: after I went to college in LA. I disliked it. I moved back home for six months before I packed up two suitcases and jumped on an Amtrak to NYC. I did not have a plan or a job. I just knew I would figure it out. I was trying fashion modeling and got into the club scene, where I became a club promoter. I would pregame at bars, trying to find girls to bring to the clubs. One day, I was walking down a street in New York City in the University area when barkers in front of the Village Lantern venue (Barking is a comedy term for younger comics trying to work their way up by stopping and selling tickets). At the time, in 2009, comedian Andrew Schulz (he is huge now! check out his special on Netflix) barked me in for a free comedy show for $2 beers. I went and fell in love with these underground scenes. I watched stand-up like Richard Prior, Ellen, and Dane Cook specials during my teenage years. BUT this was my first live show! It was a bunch of unknown names - it was magical! I fell in love and wanted to be a part of it. I am a social person, so I would bring people to these shows before we went out.
The comics were like, "You don't want to be a comic, but you will fill the room?" I was like, "YES!"
So that is when I became a producer. I started working with one of the comics from the group Colin Kane. Colin eventually started working with Paul Mooney at Caroline's, and I was helping with his shows as well! It was insane! I did not realize how big Carolines on Broadway was! I was so new to comedy! Ten years later, in 2019, I headlined at Caroline's as a Breakout Artist. I had no intention of performing. Everyone just assumed I was a comic. Eventually, a comic by the name of Sergio Chicon made me get on stage, and then it was game over! I took a very non-traditional route. I never did an open mic or anything. I went from producer to doing all clubs in NYC and now country.
Do you remember your first gig? How was it?
YES! A comic by the name of Sergio Chicon was like, “AMarie, you need to do this.” We were drunk at a bar when he convinced me. I was going through a breakup, so I wrote my first entire set about my ex, who broke my heart. I did seven minutes. All my friends came. It was fun, but I was so bad! I cringe when I watch it, but it's fun to see how far I have come on my journey.
What do you feel is missing when it comes to the comedy scene in Albuquerque?
I left Albuquerque when I was 18 and am back at 34. I'm trying to figure out the Land of Mañana. Albuquerque is the coolest city ever and has so much potential! IT'S ALMOST THERE! I have only been back two months and the only thing I have so far is two things. Everyone has ideas, but doesn't execute! Also, there needs to be an actual club outside of the casinos. We need more shows going and more comics supporting each other here, I feel like it's very clicky. The only competition should be with yourself, too many comics worry about other comics (not just here, everywhere). Just Stand Up is not a thing here yet, I did a show at 50/50 on Cinco de Mayo with Sick Production (local comedy crew) and half the crowd had never been to a comedy show. THEY loved it. We need more comedy here going multiple nights a week.
What is your inspiration when it comes to planning your sets?
I'm known as a host, which is funny because most comics do not like producing and hosting. Those are my two favorite things! Usually, when I host, that's where I get my jokes. After I host, I listen to my recording of myself (COMICS SHOULD RECORD EVERY SET). I can't just sit and write. I just record myself talking about ideas and then try to craft jokes when listening back. I'm always making notes.
You were the debut comic for a new event, Wednesdays are for Women and Whiskey. How does that feel?
A little back story. It's not going to be just comedy shows. Besides stand-up comedy, I work in sports media and started doing inspirational speaking on mindfulness, which is how my lifestyle brand, Part-Time Bro, launched. My brand consists of products (in the works), media such as podcasts, and live events. I wanted to go beyond producing comedy shows. I want to create a platform for other women like me. I'm all about empowering people to live their best life. I kicked off Wednesdays for Women and Whiskey with an all-ladies comedy show. But I plan on having a series of events on Wednesdays to empower women in a joint effort with Hollow Spirits. I'll have workshops for women, dance parties, public speaking contests, charity events, and other events. The goal is to bring all the boss bitches of Albuquerque together. I think when you get women together in a room, incredible things can happen. I think this overall will help Albuquerque reach its full potential! It will help all areas, including entertainment and the comedy scene.