Latin History for Morons

By Andrew Andrews

John Leguizamo’s new one-man show, Latin History for Morons, is superficially about Latin American history. But really, it’s about John’s attempt to connect with his teenage son and help him with a school project by searching for Latino heroes in American history, and repeatedly coming up empty.

There’s about 100 minutes of stand-up comedy here, tied tightly together by the narrative, and the performance drew a steady stream of laughs from the audience thanks to plenty of self-deprecation and lots of jabs at others, too—including an impersonation of Stephen Hawking that evoked the only moans and groans of the evening. Any insider to urban Latino culture will find plenty to identify with, and those eager to correct the historical record to acknowledge the decimation of America’s first peoples by Europe’s explorers and settlers will certainly feel sympathy. But mostly, this is a story about the difficulty of being a parent to a teenager—and really, the difficulty of being human, as imperfect as we all are—so there’s an opportunity here for everybody to relate in one way or another.

John provides us with a succinct three-point test to define a hero (basically, don’t be any of three anatomical terms not mentioned in formal company, one of which is considered misogynistic), but it’s questionable whether this show deserves the attention it’s getting, and whether the material would receive the same attendance and applause if it was written and delivered by an unknown comic, or if the current sociopolitical climate was not so antagonistic. So, should you attend? Well, Wikipedia defines moron as a term from the American eugenics movement, now considered an insult, used to describe an adult with a mental age between 8 and 12 on the Binet scale. Does that sound appealing to you?

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Andrew Andrews attended Latin History for Morons at The Public Theater in New York on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 @ 8:00pm to write this review.

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