Chicano Studies Professor Tomas Carrasco, Susan Carrasco, and Elias Serna performed as their comedy group “Chicano Secret Service” on top of an adobe brick stage Nov. 17, in the Atkinson Gallery.
Along with the group was Jonathan Gomez, a lecturer at UCSB in the Chicano studies department. Gomez opened the show with three poems that expressed the impact of “the system” on many Latin Americans.
Gomez’s words resonated with me throughout his performance, but when talking about Chicano youth I felt the impact of his words.
“They [Chicano youth] are told daily to take hold of their second chances, when they were never given a first chance,” Gomez said.
Gomez talked about his work with youth who suffer the consequences of drinking in public or carrying alcohol with them. He also touched on the idea that underage college students do the same without as many repercussions.
The audience cheered, applauded, and agreed with the messages he spoke about. Then the show took a lighter turn.
The show became a satirical performance by the Chicano Secret Service about known Santa Barbara officials like the new mayor Cathy Murillo, who was played by Susan Carrasco.
The actors kept the feeling in the room positive and broke the fourth wall quite frequently, which is not typical in an acting performance. However, that isn’t the only thing that made it special.
The group touched on several issues going on locally and nationally. They talked about affordable housing here in Santa Barbara, police brutality, and even citizenship. Not once did they let the topic ruin the mood. There were always laughs, no matter how controversial the jokes got.
My favorite part of the performance would have to be when Elias Serna’s character, Che Castro, made fun of Mexican-American stereotypes.
“My first words were ‘I want my land back’,” Serna said. “My next words were ‘Yo quiero Taco Bell’.”
However, Chicanos weren’t the only ones being teased last night. The jokes spanned over different kinds of people from the Chumash to the Pope and the Vatican. It was a clever way to bring people of different ethnicities or religions together for a good laugh.
It was no secret that these performers were proud of their heritage and it showed in their confidence in their comedy and the gratitude expressed by a few audience members after the show.
The show was a well performed way of touching on social issues and expressing opinions in a satirical manner.
Professor Carrasco ended the show with some wise words that I hope stuck with other audience members like it stuck with me: “With the power of people, we can change the world.”