Vanessa Gonzalez: Using Comedy to Break Stereotypes and Share Border Perspectives

Texas comedian Vanessa Gonzalez uses her unique perspective and experiences growing up on the border to challenge stereotypes and tackle complex topics through comedy.

Vanessa Gonzalez, a comedian hailing from Laredo, Texas, has found solace and success in using comedy as a coping mechanism since her childhood. Growing up as the only girl in a Mexican family, Gonzalez quickly learned that humor was the way to gain attention and navigate the complexities of her upbringing. Now, as her star rises in the comedy world, she aims to bring awareness to her hometown and shed light on politically charged issues, including immigration, through her own unique perspective.

Borrowing from Personal Experiences

Gonzalez’s comedy material heavily draws from her experiences growing up on the border. In her routines, her mother, Esther, plays a prominent role, with their dynamic and cultural clashes providing ample material for laughter. From shopping trips at Ross Dress for Less to their shared love for the late Tejano singer Selena, Gonzalez’s comedy showcases the nuances and contradictions of her Texas-Mexican identity.

Comedy as a Vehicle for Nuance

According to Gonzalez, comedy allows her to access the nuance that is often missing in national dialogues surrounding Mexican and Texas-Mexican identities. She believes that her community is multidimensional and full of contradictions, and she aims to challenge the worn-out stereotypes often portrayed in popular culture. By using comedy, Gonzalez can highlight the absurdity and complexity of her experiences, offering a refreshing perspective that resonates with audiences.

Breaking Taboos and Addressing Immigration

Initially hesitant to broach the topic of immigration due to her parents’ work for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, Gonzalez has now embraced the opportunity to discuss it through her comedy. She aims to bring attention to the absurdity and contradictions surrounding the border, acknowledging the role of Mexicans in enforcing border restrictions. By sharing personal stories and challenging preconceived notions, Gonzalez hopes to spark conversations and promote understanding.

From Texas to Los Angeles

After years of performing stand-up on the side while working as a preschool teacher, Gonzalez reached a crossroads in her career. Encouraged by her experience at the prestigious New Faces of Comedy cohort, she made the bold decision to move to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis, Gonzalez persisted, finding creative outlets and support from her comedy community.

A Bond with Chelsea Handler

Gonzalez’s talent caught the attention of comedian Chelsea Handler, leading to a recurring opening slot on Handler’s international tour. The two comics formed a close bond, with Handler even jokingly referring to Gonzalez as her daughter. Inspired by Handler’s support, Gonzalez aims to uplift other comedians, particularly female and queer voices, to challenge the male-dominated comedy scene.


Vanessa Gonzalez’s rise in the comedy world showcases the power of humor as a tool for challenging stereotypes and sharing unique perspectives. Through her comedy, she breaks down barriers and sheds light on complex issues, such as immigration, while also celebrating the rich cultural heritage of her Texas-Mexican identity. As she continues to make audiences laugh, Gonzalez remains committed to using her platform to bring awareness to her hometown and uplift voices that are often overlooked.

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