By Eric Guzmán
Every day is a new day to hit the refresh button on your lifelong goals and aspirations. In August of 2021, Ofelia Torres-Saenz did just that by pursuing a career as a stand-up comedian.
Far from the life she planned to have in the criminal justice field, Torres-Saenz, is about to hit the big time. This chistosa has been selected to be part of a TV show called Those Crazy Komedians, which is set to premiere on SDM Flix through Roku Tv. The show will feature Torres-Saenz along with other Detroit comedians.
“At first [when getting asked to join], I thought it was a scam,” Torres-Saenz says. After reaching out to a fellow comedian for confirmation of the promotion team, she was excited about the opportunity. She is one of only two Latino comedians who will be a part of the show.
Although she’s early in her comedy career, the future is looking bright. Ofelia Torres-Saenz, who goes by the stage name Ofeliza Saenz, began writing material back in 2018. “I would journal and just write certain things or stories that were funny to myself,” Torres-Saenz says.
Then in 2019, she dared herself to write sets of jokes and record her first set of stand-up material. By 2020, Torres-Saenz was on a roll and was ready to put herself out there and attend open mic sessions, but then came the COVID-19 pandemic. The global outbreak quickly halted live shows, but Torres-Saenz kept going, using the time to perfect her craft and write new material.
Recently, she collaborated with a group of local artists and performed for a large audience for the first time; in addition, she’s in the middle of working on her own comedy show at Salpicon in September. Some could describe Torres-Saenz’s style of comedy as raunchy yet outspoken. Part of her gimmick and stage presence is performing in a dress to get your attention and show off her beauty, drawing you in once the first punch line is delivered.
“I joke at the beginning [of my performances] that I’m rated R and M. R for ridicula and M for mamona, because the things I say aren’t typical,” she says. Her jokes waver on topics of family life, Latino culture, and adult intimacy. She feels her best material comes from performing more adult-themed jokes instead of making family-friendly jokes. “I think life is funny, being an adult is funny, sex is funny, and our bodies are funny. Just embrace it.”
Torres-Saenz states that the lack of representation of Chicana comedians is one of her biggest motivations for pursuing her stand-up comedy aspirations. “I want to be part of a bigger picture; we have the best of two crowds,” she says, referring to her ability to perform in both English and Spanish and to cater to both crowds.
In addition to writing and performing jokes, one of Torres-Saenz goals is to support more Chicana comedians and break the machismo standards that male comedians seem to get away with. Torres-Saenz draws her inspiration from various Latino comedians such as George Lopez, Sofia Niño de Rivera, Franco Escamilla, and Gabriel Iglesias. She finds similarities in their styles and incorporates them into her stage presence.
Although she loves comedy, it comes with its struggles. “I stutter a lot and have dyslexia.” She also admits to having stage fright. “Even though I’ve performed my whole life in other things, I still get nervous every time I perform [my comedy],” Torres-Saenz says. You can see Torres-Saenz every Wednesday at 9:00 PM at Burn Bar and Grill located on Woodward Ave in Detroit, or follow her on www.instagram.com/lachistosa313 and www.tiktok.com/lachistosa313