By Nicholas Jason Lopez
When his wife Renae (whom he lovingly refers to as “Captain Evil”) was able to give birth to a baby girl during the COVID-19 pandemic after she previously endured a miscarriage at five months pregnant, Mexican-American stand-up comedian Steve Treviño was inspired to share their story on stage.
The financial stress and drastic lifestyle changes brought on by COVID-19 in of itself might be enough to discourage anybody, but Treviño rolled with the punches. Dubbed “America’s Favorite Husband,” he believes some of the best comedy comes from great pain and it was no different here.
Amazon Studios recently picked up his new “My Life In Quarantine” comedy special, available now to stream/purchase on Amazon Prime Video, along with the announcement of new 2021 shows.
Inspired to make people laugh in a time most need it, Trevino holds nothing back, as he also shared humorous aspects of what it’s like to live in “the new normal” with his wife, in the vein of predecessors like Ray Romano and Kevin James.
Normally adjusted to life on the road with over 250 yearly shows, Trevino did his pandemic shows with venues at 20-30 percent capacity. His 2021 tour will take him through Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma, Maryland, Illinois, Pennsylvania and his home state of Texas.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to speak with Treviño about what he’s been up tp lately and more.
Music Bugle – What’s your favorite type of music to listen to?
Steve Treviño – If it sounds good, I like it. Being Mexican-American, I grew up listening to country music and Tejano music, but I was also a kid when gangster rap was coming out, so that stuff is nostalgic for me. On my playlist, you’ll find everything from classic rock to country to gangster rap to reggaeton.
Music Bugle – What inspired you to become a comedian?
Steve Treviño – I was lucky enough to grow up in a very funny family on both my mom and dad’s sides. Being funny was something that was really encouraged in our family. When I was younger, I bounced around several different elementary schools and realized very quickly that being funny was a way to make friends. As a kid, I stayed up late to watch Richard Pryor on HBO and that was when I realized that you could be funny for a living. Since the age of about 8, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Steve Treviño – Like many people, it has affected my pocketbook and my ability to make a living. I’m still unable to go out and perform the same way I used to. When COVID-19 hit and the country went on lockdown, I lost about six months worth of gigs. The calendar full of bookings I had, disappeared. Mentally, it has been very tough and for the first time, I learned what depression really is. I was used to the high of being on stage every week and making people laugh and all of a sudden, that was totally gone. It’s why my wife, Renae aka “Captain Evil” and I started doing our podcast together and now, we’re on season two. I’ve been lucky enough to live in Texas and they have reopened at 50 percent capacity, so I’ve been able to get back on stage make a living and do what I love, but it definitely has changed the way things are done, the way I live my life and I don’t know if they’ll ever go back to being the same again. It’s definitely changed the way I think about my career and my profession as a stand-up in terms of finding other ways to bring my comedy to an audience, because this pandemic has taught me that comedy and laughter are essential.
Music Bugle – Did your comedy special ‘My Life In Quarantine’ come out how you hoped it would?
Steve Treviño – Because it was filmed under such unique circumstances, I feel like we made something really special. I don’t know if there are any comedians that have ever brought their family on stage and made them a part of the show. My son tells jokes. My wife and I do the podcast with my mom and father-in-law too. Something about the pandemic was unifying. My comedy has always been relatable, but this was even more so because I was telling jokes about what we were all going through at the same time. The interesting challenge for me this go-round was that since the comedy clubs were shut down, I wasn’t practicing the set out on the road every week, like I normally would. This was the first time I wrote specifically for a special, so I am proud we were able to pull it off and the fact we were able to film in the middle of the pandemic with a socially-distanced, mask-wearing audience. It’s something that I think people will watch as a stamp in time. I’m proud of it and I’m really proud of my family.
Music Bugle – What did you miss the most about performing in front of a full live audience?
Steve Treviño – I would have to say what I miss the most is the meet-and-greets after my shows. I really value the opportunity to meet the people who come out to my show, shake their hand, thank them in person and hear their own personal stories of how they relate to my material. I miss that human connection the most, but I’m finding that I am still able to reach people and connect through my social media and the podcast and I’m grateful for that.
Music Bugle – How did you learn to adapt to the pandemic show restrictions and continue to be able to book new dates into 2021?
Steve Treviño – Most of my shows have been done in Texas and some in Florida. Luckily, the venues have been very responsible, as far as following guidelines set by those specific states. At the end of the day, COVID-19 is very real and has to be taken seriously, but I also think people’s mental health is so important and I believe laughter, music and entertainment are definitely an essential outlet and source of relief.
Music Bugle – Tell us more about your new partnership with Amazon Prime Video?
Steve Treviño – Amazon has been absolutely amazing. It’s the place that I can continue to put out material and get it to the masses and at the end of the day, I’m willing to partner with whomever is willing to support my brand. Amazon Video seems to be the one that really has been getting behind us and allowed me to continue to share my comedy.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Steve Treviño – I always say that I take shit and I turn it into fertilizer. It’s my motto and keeps me motivated.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you feel the need to escape?
Steve Treviño – I’m lucky enough to have a ranch. I go out there and roll around in the buggy and I’m in the middle of nowhere and can decompress, but being in my backyard with my wife and kid really is an escape for me, too, because I’m usually traveling constantly and never really get to just be home, so I’ve been taking this time to enjoy my down time at home and taking a break from the craziness of touring.
Music Bugle – How would you define the year 2020?
Steve Treviño – 2020 felt like starting my career all over again in that I had to be a scraper again. I had to figure out a new way to do things and keep working. Early in my career, when I was doing it all on my own, I had to be really creative and make opportunities for myself. In 2020, I had to turn that up a notch on a whole other level. I think for a lot of us, 2020 has been a year of survivors surviving and finding time to really reconnect with family.
*Photo Credit – Terry Stewart*