Unless you regularly watch The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon or HBO Latino’s ongoing Entre Nos stand-up comedy series, then chances are you don’t know who Orlando Leyba is. So let’s fix that, because the comic’s first half-hour special Adorable premieres Friday night exclusively on HBO Latino. And judging by his bubbling demeanor and penchant for everyman humor, you’ll probably be hearing his name more often in the next few years.
Leyba spoke to Uproxx about his The Tonight Show appearance ahead of Adorable‘s premiere, but not before being sidetracked by topics as disparate as Drew Carey’s comedy career, The Price Is Right fandom and watching HGTV’s Property Brothers series in Italian while on vacation in Venice. It’s quite a trip, but then again, so is Leyba.
Orlando Leyba: I wanna call you Drew. I know you’re an Andrew, but you sound like a Drew.
Thanks, man. I’ll take it.
It’s really close to one of my favorite comics, Drew Carey.
I used to watch his stuff and I’m obsessed with The Price Is Right because it’s such a good show where everybody wins. I’ve gone to The Price Is Right like three times in Los Angeles and I’ve never been picked. The last time I went, me and my buddies all wore shirts that spelled out “Drew.” Black t-shirts with big white lettering. Drew saw it, walked up to us and said, “Oh man, thank you for wearing that. What do you guys do for a living?” We were all stand-ups, and the minute we told him that, he kept coming over to us during every break when they were changing the set. It was the most fantastic thing, and then we went to The Improv that night and who was there? Drew Carey! It was definitely a fanboy moment for me.
Your career is starting to take off. How does it feel?
It feels great to be having a moment. These are just moments in time, and this is definitely a special moment. I’m old enough to recognize it now. I’ll actually take a beat so I can take it in. I mean, I got to go on The Tonight Show to promote the special. I’m grateful, man. The best way I can describe it is, I’m just grateful and truly humbled by it all, and everybody probably thinks I’m just feeding them lines, but I’m really not. I recognize that this doesn’t happen to everybody.
Of course. That’s especially true of going on The Tonight Show, because all these years after Johnny Carson, it can still be a make-or-break platform for comics.
It’s a rite of passage. It was such a great opportunity. Jimmy Fallon came out and he was such a welcoming host. He came into my green room and we talked about the culture of stand-up comedy, its community and how this is all part of the journey. Maybe other comics don’t see it that way anymore, but I definitely 100 percent believe in it. I wanted this to happen to me one day and it happened at such a perfect time. It really just happened naturally.
The booker for The Tonight Show, Michael Cox, put up a great post on his Facebook listing all the places he had seen me before. Big Sky Comedy Festival, Laughing Skull, NBC’s Standup for Diversity showcase and all these places. So that’s how I got the call, “Hey, we’re doing a showcase for The Tonight Show. We know you got your HBO thing, but would you mind coming over to New York ?” And I was like, “No! Are you kidding me?” We gotta reach. My good buddy Phil Palisoul used to say that. In the comedy business, we always have to reach out to our next thing.