CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
In the Green Room

Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz

I’ve Made a Career Off of the Friction Between People

Lalo Alcaraz is the creator of the national syndicated daily comic strip “La Cucaracha,” a writer on the upcoming TV series Bordertown, and co-host of KPFK Radio’s The Pocho Hour of Power. Before participating in a discussion of the role cartoons play in politics and war, he talked karaoke, Mexican nicknaming magic, and why he loves the friction of Los Angeles.

Q:
What word or phrase do you use most often?

A:
I say híjole a lot. It kinda means sheesh or wow. Kind of face-palming.

Q:
What’s the biggest difference between writing a cartoon for print and a cartoon for TV?

A:
Well, a cartoon in print doesn’t have millions of dollars of liability tied to it.

Q:
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

A:
Every time somebody would tell me not to go to college, I would do the opposite, so that was pretty good advice—because I kept going to college.

Q:
What’s the last thing that made you laugh?

A:
(Laughs.) Wow. For me, man, everything makes me laugh. (Laughs.) This question.

Q:
What’s your go-to karaoke song?

A:
I have a go-to karaoke bar, but I just listen. Is that a lame answer?

Q:
What’s your go-to karaoke bar?

A:
That is none of anybody’s business.

Q:
What’s your favorite thing about Los Angeles?

A:
The friction. Because I’ve made my career off of friction between people.

Q:
What’s the best part of hosting your own radio show?

A:
The lack of preparation and the chance to riff on an open microphone. That’s my favorite thing in the world.

Q:
Did you have any nicknames as a kid?

A:
Well, everybody called me Eddie, but that’s not really a nickname. Mexicans, we have nicknames for everything, but they all involve name or appearance. I’ve got to say, my dad had the Mexican nicknaming magic, and that’s an ability to give a nickname for life for someone. And I got some of that magic in ways.

Q:
What surprises you most about your life right now?

A:
That I manage to not starve.

Q:
What’s your favorite building in Los Angeles?

A:
You know, I kind of like City Hall.