Cory Fernandez was relaxing on a recent Wednesday before a gig at the Times Square comedy club, Carolines on Broadway.
During a phone interview, Fernandez of Brooklyn, New York, said that he's been a devout fan of stand-up since he was kid. He has a pile of taped HBO comedy specials to prove it.
"I never thought I'd be doing it myself," he said. But as of Wednesday afternoon, he was running jokes in his head. Of course, he would mess with the crowd and throw in personal anecdotes on the fly during his show that night.
After being contacted by Van Andrews, aka DJ Chozen, Fernandez came to York to perform about a year ago.
"I had a great time," he said. "The crowd was awesome."
On Saturday, Fernandez returns to York to crack up the crowd at the Valencia Ballroom. But a lot has happened since he was last in town.
He scored his first movie role as Juan in the Tracy Morgan and Bruce Willis comedy "Cop Out."
"That was a dream come true," Fernandez said.
He had been auditioning for a few years and last spring, he learned he landed the role. While shooting the movie in New York City last summer, Fernandez said he focused on what was going on behind the camera. Since he had plenty of acting experience on stage and in classes, he hung around the set and studied director Kevin Smith's technique.
"I was trying to pretend I wasn't new to it," Fernandez said with a laugh.
Fernandez said that Morgan opened up to him once he learned that they grew up in roughly the same area and were both stand-up guys. In between trading raunchy jokes, Morgan gave Fernandez some advice.
"He told me that I'm on the right path and . . . don't ever have regrets," Fernandez said.
Fernandez said he counts Morgan as an inspiration, but he grew up studying Martin Lawrence's physical comedy and Chris Rock's social commentary.
"Stand-up comedians prior to (Lawrence) made me love the craft," He said. "Martin Lawrence made me want to grab a microphone and get on stage."
And - as a 22-year-old liberal arts major at The City University of New York - that's what Fernandez did. He was one of two comedians who performed at the school's talent competition, which included musicians and dancers.
He performed right after his buddy's rap routine was booed off stage. His only thought was to avenge his friend. He left the crowd laughing and cheering.
"I went on fearless," he said. "(I had) never felt the pain or embarrassment of going down in flames."
But Fernandez has his uncle, a limo drive, to thank for his first big break.
One night, his uncle picked up "Chappelle's Show" alum Donnell Rawlings. Fernandez's uncle struck up a conversation with the star. Not only was Fernandez invited to hang out at a comedy bar with Rawlings and his buddies, he was thrust up on stage unexpectedly to hold his own.
"I didn't kill it, but I didn't bomb," Fernandez said.
That experience gave him the confidence to visit other stand-up clubs. In 2004, he made his debut on BET's stand-up comedy competition "Coming to the Stage." He has appeared on Comedy Central's "Jamie Foxx Presents Laffapalooza" and "Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam" on HBO.
Fernandez recently went back to The City University of New York to study film. He also landed a guest spot on Wednesday's episode of "Mercy" on NBC. This summer, he said he'll be performing for troops at the U.S. Military base in Okinawa, Japan.
But he's no stranger to the road. He's visited London, Germany and Trinidad. His next stop: York.
"I love to travel," Fernandez said. "That the best perk about stand-up."
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF
If you go
Cory Fernandez will perform Saturday at the Valencia Ballroom, 142 N. George St. in York, for the Spring Fling Comedy Jumpoff. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., and the show starts at 9:30. Conscious, Coco and Will Morales will also perform, and snacks will be available. Tickets are $10.
On the Web
For details about Fernandez, visit www.myspace.com/coryfernandez.
To read more meet-the-artist interviews, visit www.flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory.