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San Antonio Express: Comic Chris Fonseca Returns

Comic Chris Fonseca returns to San Antonio after big show with Dave Chappelle

Chris Fonseca (center) with Gary Clark Jr. (left) and Dave Chappelle in Austin, where Fonseca shared a bill with the musician and the superstar comedian.


Back in December, comic Chris “Crazy Legs” Fonseca made a big ask of an old friend.


Fonseca called stand-up comedy icon Dave Chappelle to ask if he could open one of Chapelle’s performances at Stubb’s in Austin. Not only did Chappelle say yes, he flew Fonseca from Colorado to Texas for two back-to-back taped shows. Night one included rocker Gary Clark Jr.


“It was kinda weird because I had to follow Gary,” Fonseca said. “I kinda joked with Dave about it. ‘Is this a test?’ and he said, ‘You’re Chris F’n Fonseca.’


“It was very weird going from quarantine in my apartment since March to the biggest show on the planet.”


The first of the Austin gigs on Jan. 19 was also Fonseca’s 57th birthday, and his children — who Chappelle put up in a five-star hotel — were in the socially distanced audience. Pretty sweet.


“That’s pretty big respect,” Fonseca said.


It will be with considerably less fanfare, but no less passion and hilarity, that Fonseca returns to San Antonio on Friday for a two-show, one-night stand at Meatball Comedy Club at Little Italy Restaurant & Pizzeria, 824 Afterglow Street.


Showtimes are 5 and 7:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets cost $55-$95; call 210-920-8897.


Fonseca has been a regular on the San Antonio comedy scene for decades, dating back to his performances at the original Latino Comedy Festival, followed by performances at Rivercenter Comedy Club (where he recorded his first album) and Laugh Out Loud.


He has impressive TV credits and a long list of famous friends. His breakout moment happened when he appeared in “Look Who’s Laughing,” a 1994 TV show that aired on PBS and spotlighted six comics with disabilities. Fonseca was born with cerebral palsy and performs from his wheelchair.


He last appeared in town as part of the HA Festival in February 2020. And, yes, his slightly naughty Cheetos bit still kills.


Los Angeles comedian Willie Barcena says Fonseca, who has reinvented recently himself as a podcaster, remains a vital, must-see performer.


“He’s not great because he’s Mexican American or because of his disability. He’s great, period.” Barcena said. “He inspires every time he takes the stage.


“I love how his comedy doesn’t have the obvious punchline. If you’re not paying attention, his quick wit will go right past you.”


Homegrown comedian Rick Gutierrez, who now oversees the comedy division for Mucho Mas Media/Inclusion production and management, has shared many stages with Fonseca.

“The guy is brilliant, and he’s a really good writer,” Gutierrez said. “The respect for him is astronomical. He’s one of my favorite guys.”


Fonseca, who lives near Denver, basks in such accolades but keeps things in perspective. Like many road comics — even before the pandemic — making a living wasn’t easy.


“All it takes is for a couple of gigs to go south and you can be homeless,” Fonseca said. “But as awful as this pandemic has been, it’s given me a chance to catch my breath.”


That means fine-tuning his podcast, “My Heroes Have Always Been Good Peeps,” and working with screenwriter Kris Simms on the pilot episode of a sitcom called “Primos.”


“At my core, it’s about making people happy, entertaining them,” Fonseca said . “If I can make a point about my disability … that a person with a disability can be successful, that’s the icing on the cake.”


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