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.
What word or phrase do you use most often?
I say híjole a lot. It kinda means sheesh or wow. Kind of face-palming.
What’s the biggest difference between writing a cartoon for print and a cartoon for TV?
Well, a cartoon in print doesn’t have millions of dollars of liability tied to it.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
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.
What’s the last thing that made you laugh?
(Laughs.) Wow. For me, man, everything makes me laugh. (Laughs.) This question.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I have a go-to karaoke bar, but I just listen. Is that a lame answer?
What’s your go-to karaoke bar?
That is none of anybody’s business.
What’s your favorite thing about Los Angeles?
The friction. Because I’ve made my career off of friction between people.
What’s the best part of hosting your own radio show?
The lack of preparation and the chance to riff on an open microphone. That’s my favorite thing in the world.
Did you have any nicknames as a kid?
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.
What surprises you most about your life right now?
That I manage to not starve.
What’s your favorite building in Los Angeles?
You know, I kind of like City Hall.