Hispanic Comedians Benefit from Recession

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Latino Speakers Bureau reports a recession-driven surge in the demand for Hispanic comedians for special events by corporate clients, major conferences, colleges and universities.

National Lampoon's Funny Money

At Latino Speakers Bureau, Hispanic professional speakers are frequently sought out for Hispanic Heritage events, diversity conferences, employee events, management meetings and gala events. Since the first quarter of 2009, the California-based Bureau has reported a surge in the demand for Latino Comedy shows, a trend that founder, Leonor McCall-Rodriguez, views as a result of emotional fatigue from a prolonged economic recession. "Requests for motivational speakers and diversity experts are now increasingly tied to reservations of Latino Comedy nights, and this trend in events for corporations, professional conferences, colleges and universities is expected to continue for years as audiences seek laughter as relief from the financial environment, stress and the news and every other call is asking for Shayla Rivera who is extensively touring the U.S. for our clients," said McCall-Rodriguez.

Rocket scientist, keynote speaker, artist and comedian speaker Shayla Rivera, recently returned from tours in Iraq and Kuwait and leads Latino Comedy events. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Rivera grew up with an avid interest in machinery and fixing things. Rivera's family always encouraged her to go to college and have a professional career and she attended Texas A&M University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering. She joined McDonnell-Douglas Space Systems at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, working on NASA's shuttle and space station programs for the next eight years. Stymied by a lack of enthusiasm for her field, Rivera left to pursue her abiding interest in psychology and became a motivational speaker. She worked extensively as a corporate trainer, holding seminars on stress management for executives at companies around the country. It was while she was conducting seminars that Rivera discovered her comedic skills. Rivera signed up for a weekend class on stand-up comedy, at the end of which she performed a five-minute routine. It was a rousing success and a personal turning point. "I knew I'd found what I was looking for," Rivera recalled.

Almost immediately, Rivera became a regular at the Comedy Showcase in Houston, where she honed her act as she continued to work widely on the comedy circuit and break ground as a female comedian. In 1999, the speaker moved to Los Angeles with the goal of going on television, using her experiences to create the hit one-woman show "Rocket Science and Salsa," directed by Debbie Allen, which received two nominations for best actress and choreography from the NAACP Theater Awards. She has appeared on television in "Girls Behaving Badly", "Comics Unleashed", "Ultimate Revenge" and "Funny is Funny", "National Lampoon's Funny Money", and many more. She was a guest on "The Roseanne Show" and "The Martin Short Show" and hosted her own series in the Oxygen Channel called "You Are Not the Man I Married." She has also headlined on "The Latino Comedy Jam" for Telemundo, on entertainment programs for Univision and Galavision and most recently on Comedy Central.

Rivera continues to perform live whenever her schedule allows. In addition, she also applies her expertise as a motivational speaker to help inspire students to pursue their goals and works with numerous nonprofits. In 2004, she received the "Mario Moreno Cantinflas Award" presented by the city of Los Angeles in recognition of her talent and involvement in charitable and educational programs and in 2009 she was the recipient of the President's Volunteer Award for her work with Familia Unida Living with Multiple Sclerosis in Los Angeles.

California based Latino Speakers Bureau has been working for visibility of successful Latinos who are on the U.S. and international keynote speaking circuit since 2002. For more information on events with Shayla Rivera and other top Hispanic speakers, call 888-661-6828 or email speakers(at)latinospeakers(dot)com


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