Veteran comic Martin Moreno is representing the lost generation. “All we hear about these days is the baby boomers and Millennials,” Moreno said. “But us Gen-Xers are slipping through the cracks.”
Moreno, 55, grew up in Los Angeles during the hair metal ’80s and vacillated from headbanging to thrash-metal icons Slayer to hair-metalists Motley Crue to joining a Pentecostal church.
“People forget this but Gen Xers thought the world was going to end at the end of the century,” Moreno said. “I remember becoming part of that church briefly after certain things were pointed out to me and it looked like the end of days. Think about it. We grew up with fallout shelters. We had disaster drills at school when we sat under our desks. There was so much twisted around indicating that it was almost all over. That was my life as a Gen-Xer. I partied hard since some people thought the world would end in the year 2000.”
However, when the Earth continued to spin in the 21st century, Moreno dug deep and discovered that his calling was stand-up comedy. Moreno, who jokes about his Gen X existence, growing up in the Southern California hood and the great divide in America, embarked on his first open mic gig at midlife.
“It’s better late than never,” Moreno said. “The cool thing is that I’m still doing it and it’s going well. A lot of comics ended up breaking later in life.”
Rodney Dangerfield and Redd Foxx are examples of comedians who didn’t strike paydirt until middle-age.
“This is not like being a singer and you need to be a kid to get somewhere,” Moreno said. “I believe the more than you experience the more you have to say and I’ve seen so much.”
Middle-aged injuries go hand in hand with middle-aged humor. “It’s not easy getting older,” Moreno said. “It’s challenging. Things happen to our bodies. I had to get surgery and even though I’m an American citizen with health insurance, I went to Mexico for my surgery. It was cheaper to repair my torn rotator cuff in Mexico. If I had the surgery here in Los Angeles, it would have cost me $20,000. I paid $7,000 in Mexico and guess what? It all worked out. I was shot up with stem cells.”
Moreno will open shows for his pal Gabriel Iglesias Friday and Saturday at the Spokane Comedy Club and headline Sunday. Iglesias, who is working out new material, and Moreno normally play arenas and theaters.
“But there is nothing like performing at clubs,” Moreno said. “Gabriel is working on some things. He has over two hours of new stuff to work through. It’s going to be a blast.”
Iglesias, who primarily delivers anecdotes, has been pals with Moreno for more than a decade. “I was aware of Gabriel,” Moreno said. “We kept running into each other and we became friends, and he ended up taking me out on the road with him,” Moreno said. “He blew up, and the exposure for me has been huge. But I have to work hard and continue to come up with material. Fortunately for me, my life is filled with funny and interesting things to talk about.”