Actress, and standup comic Selene Luna is bringing the world’s first female little person stand up comedy special to the stage of the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Village at Ed Gould Plaza with Selene Luna: Pretty Special, on February 2, at 7pm.
The new one-hour stand-up comedy show features Luna’s original, biting and heartfelt perspective on her pretty special life. Topics include the struggle of being a little person in the biz, how she’s an atheist who’s afraid of ghosts and she talks about being married to a “normal-sized” man. She also gets political in a heated climate where the conversation on equality rarely includes the disabled.
Pretty Special is written and performed by Selene Luna with additional material written by John Stapleton and Jackie Beat. The show is directed by Margaret Cho who will make a special appearance. 100 percent of the proceeds will go the the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Homeless Youth programs. The show will be filmed live before a studio audience.
Luna, is fresh off her role as the voice of Tía Rosita in Disney-Pixar’s Academy Award & Golden Globe Awards’ Winner, COCO. She has established her presence in Hollywood with multiple roles in movies and TV shows such as Celebrity Wife Swap, Lionsgate’s My Bloody Valentine 3D, and Margaret Cho’s The Cho Show. The disabled Mexican-American actress has also broken ground as a featured burlesque dancer in five national tours with the undisputed Queen of Burlesque, Dita Von Teese. Luna’s most celebrated stand-up comedy credit has been opening for several of Margaret Cho’s national tours. Last year, she successfully produced, “Don’t Laugh at Us–A “Special” Comedians Comedy Special, the first-ever standup comedy show featuring an all-disabled line-up.
We caught up with Luna to discuss new show. Whether it’s her disgust with Trump’s mistreatment of the disabled, discussing the joys of marriage, or giving back to the LGBT community that has always had her back, we are happy to announce that this little Latin spitfire continues to tell it like it is.
What are you wearing right now?
Oh God, right now I’m wearing my cheetah bathrobe.
Where are you, what do you see in front of you at this very moment?
I’m in my living room. I see my husband’s bong, a phone, and a laptop.
Your husband’s bong—are there his and hers bongs in your household?
HAHAHA! The bong is his and this little lady prefers her little glass pipe. Bongs are too much for me.
Before we go on, congratulations on landing the voiceover role of Tía Rosita on Disney-Pixar’s Coco. Has your life changed after adding that to your resume?
It’s given me more dog sitting clients [laughs]. Coco was a wonderful experience, because it was the first time in major movie history where there was an all-Latino cast, so people need to know that–yes, we’re taking away your jobs. Don’t you know all the Hondurans at the U.S. Mexico border are just clamoring to do voiceover work? Haven’t you heard? Trump should build a wall around Pixar Studios.
OK, so what do you hope to accomplish with Pretty Special?
With Trump’s despicable behavior towards people with disabilities, I just felt the need to create a show where I can represent and hopefully speak on the behalf of the disabled community and the real harsh discrimination we face. Now with Trump in office, being disabled is like going back to the dark ages, judging his behavior towards disabled people. What triggered it for me was in 2016, he mocked the disabled New York Times reporter. What was more disgusting to me is how Trump supporters still voted for him. This is my opportunity for people to see how you can actually relate to a disabled person and laugh at the same time. There is a lot of dialogue about diversity, even on the liberal side, but the diversity conversation very rarely includes people with disabilities. It’s always about gender, orientation, race, but rarely does it include a dialogue on the disabled. I just felt compelled to put it on record that we exist. Our rights are just as necessary as anyone else’s.
Is Pretty Special a political piece?
Kind of. It’s not heavily political. I do touch on politics, but it’s not the focus of the show. Ultimately I want to provide an evening of lighthearted humor, but I cannot help but address my political stance, simply because I’m pulling from my own real life. I’m just sharing with everybody the disabled experience, but through my sense of humor. I have found that humor is the most disarming equalizer and as long as you can make people laugh, they will pay attention to you. I’m just really trying to send a message of equality through humor.
How did you come up with the concept of this show?
It’s really a passion project with my longtime collaborator John Stapleton. You might be familiar with his name. He’s a very talented celebrity makeup artist, but he’s also a great writer and producer. He and I produced a show together about ten years ago, so we’re reuniting to do it again. We love working together. Our dear friend Margaret Cho is directing. Basically John Stapleton and I were having a lunch meeting. We were inspired to work together and create something. We were throwing ideas around and it was John’s idea to do a comedy special. I’m very lucky to have supportive friends. He really believes in what I do and he enjoys my material, so it was his idea to just let’s do this.
You’ve been friends with Margaret Cho for a while now, right?
Yes. John and I have known Margaret for about the same amount of time. We go way back. We’ve always maintained a really great relationship. She’s a very, very special person in my life. She mentored me throughout standup and she was also the maid of honor in my wedding. She’s just a wonderful person. We love each other very much.
That’s right! You’s married now!
I’ve been married a year and a half. I love it. I love being married. When I was single, it was all about money, dick and weed. But now that I’m married, it’s about being in my pajamas by five o’clock, watching TV with the dog, and eating junk food with my husband, so basically nothing has changed. My life is still about money, dick and weed.
What possessed you to tackle stand up comedy?
I’ve been hustling a showbiz career for at least 20 years and I have found that in standup comedy nobody cares what you look like as long as you make them laugh and if they are laughing, they will listen to you. I found that to be the most impactful form of expression for me. What I also love about it is, I’m in control of the material. Acting is fun, I’ve done other forms of entertainment. I’ve done film and theater, but ultimately I want to write my own script. I have things to say. I want to be heard. I’m normally a person who is treated as an invisible member of society. Standup comedy gives me that platform. It’s a real privilege to be able to do it.
What would you say you enjoy the most about doing stand up?
What I enjoy the most is when people are on the same page with me, when people really internalize what I said. If I see somebody really laughing hard, I feel like my message got across. Whether they agree with me or not, at least they were open to hearing it. That makes me feel like I’ve done a good job. Not to say that I don’t bomb. I bomb all the time. Every comic bombs, but who cares? That just makes you better. No one’s ever died from bombing—wait, scratch that. Ultimately it’s a privilege to make a living on stage, so either way, I’m just happy people are listening.
Would you say bombing is the worst thing about comedy?
No. Not at all. Bombing doesn’t feel good, but it’s not a big deal. Maybe that’s just my attitude because of the challenges I face on a regular basis as a marginalized citizen in society. Bombing to me is a joke, no pun intended. A joke didn’t work out, but that’ how you learn. You fix it and that’s how you become a better performer and a better writer. The challenge for me is the writing. It takes me a while. It feels like homework.
Would you say comedy the hardest thing in the world?
No bitch, you know what’s the hardest thing in the world? It’s picking crops. Immigrant labor is the hardest thing in the world. Being a government worker during the government shutdown and you have five kids to feed–that’s the hardest thing in the world. Trying to make people laugh is a luxury and a privilege.
I hear Pretty Special is being filmed live before a studio audience.
Yes. We’re filming this live and hoping to release it as a standup comedy special, but in this business we never know where things will lead.
Proceeds of Pretty Special are going to Los Angeles LGBT Center—why did you choose The Center?
So number one, no one is making a dime on this, so bitches better not be asking for comps. I’m disabled, don’t be asking for comps. Net proceeds from all ticket sales will go to support the LA LGBT Center’s Programs for Homeless Youth. Homelessness in LGBT Youth is a dire problem. We wanted to do something to give back to the community. It was really important for me to work with the Los Angeles LGBT Center, because they have been an ally to me my entire life. I grew up in Los Angeles. I always felt supported and protected by the LGBT community and so this is an opportunity to give back.
OK, sell it to me. Why else should we hurry to buy tickets for Selene Luna: Pretty Special?
This quote keeps me going during these difficult times for people with disabilities and the disenfranchised, ‘No one is better than you. Everyone is your equal, and everyone is equal to you.’- Catherine Biden, Vice President, Biden’s mother.
I hope to break down stereotypes of people with disabilities one laugh at a time at Pretty Special, the World’s first female little person stand-up comedy special. It’s not about hurt feelings; it’s about remaining vocal as disability policy remains threatened in America.
To purchase tickets to Selene Luna: Pretty Special, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/selene-luna-pretty-special-tickets.