Last Friday evening, Ernesto Gritzewsky, the comedian better known as “Ernie G,” was the main act at the first,
The fiesta was a fundraiser to help cover some of the cost of the Miss South Gate pageant as well as the pageant's scholarship prizes.
Ernie G took the time to answer some questions from South Gate Patch Latino about his career and favorite moments during last week's performance.
Patch Latino: What was it that led you to be both a comedian and a motivational speaker?
Enrie G: After graduating from college, I took a life-altering transformational seminar called The Landmark Forum, and my seminar leader said: "If you know in your heart that you're a performer and you're not performing, you are robbing the world of who you are!" When I heard that, I looked at my life and my future and realized I had always wanted to become a comedian!
My uncle, Rafael Lopez, was a child actor, appearing in shows such as Bonanza and Gunsmoke in the '50s and '60s, and he always had this uncanny ability to make people laugh. I had always told myself, I want to make the world laugh, and now I am doing just that!
Also, I do not consider myself a motivational speaker; I am an empowerment comedian. Motivational speakers pump you up, but as soon as you walk away from the "show," the motivation goes away!
What I attempt to to do is literally shift and transform what students and people believe is possible for themselves and their life by telling my stories and bridging the gap between who people think they are and what they think is possible for themselves.
What led me to this was watching an amazing speaker named Les Brown when I was young. Les Brown not only motivated me, but he literally altered who I thought I was and what I thought was possible for my life. I want to do that for people!
Patch Latino: What was your favorite moment during your recent South Gate performance?
Ernie G: Two moments: watching a father and his son at my show laughing hysterically at the same joke and then coming up after my show to buy my Comedy CD with tears in their eyes! Secondly, having a dear friend thank me for sharing my gifts with her family! She told me, "My Dad is 70 years old and I've never seen him laugh so hard in my life!" Wow, what a great show.
Patch Latino: Where do you look to for comedic inspiration?
Ernie G: In people.
People are hilarious, people are ridiculous, people are silly, people are funny! People need to relax a little, stop taking themselves too seriously, and people need to be able to laugh at themselves!
Patch Latino: What has been your proudest moment as a comedian?
Ernie G: Too many to list here! Being asked to be the keynote speaker for UCLA's Raza Graduation, becoming the national spokesperson for the Hispanic College Fund, speaking at over 25 Hispanic Youth Institutes across the country. But, quite literally, the moments I am most proud of are after the show when students come up to me with tears in their eyes, telling me about the impact my performance made on their lives. Nothing can even come close to how that makes me feel!
Patch Latino: What advice do you have for the local Latino youth as they ponder their future?
Ernie G: "If it is to be, it is up to me!" That is the mantra that I make all students across the country repeat when they watch me do my thing! People want to help those who help themselves, and there are many, many people who will support a student who shows initiative and drive. But, ultimately, when all is said and done, it is up to the individual to choose for themselves the path of success, and every great accomplishment began on some level with the choice that, "If it is to be, it is up to me!" Live the dream, make it happen for yourself, for your family, for your community!
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