Here’s Why Arturo Castro is Basically the Carol Burnett of Latinos in the New Sketch Comedy Show ‘Alternatino’

comedy central arturo castro
Photo Credit Comedy Central

If you’re looking for a laugh this summer then have no fear, your favorite new sketch comedy masterpiece is here. Alternatino With Arturo Castro premiers on June 18th on, where else, Comedy Central, and we’re officially excited. With this brand-spanking-new sketch show comes a whole lot of laughs, a handful (or more accurately a LOT of handfuls) of eccentric, entertaining, hilarious and just plain nuts characters, and above all, a very talented star flexing his comedic muscles in this culturally relevant series.

Alternatino is an absolutely a hysterical sketch comedy show that presents multiple characters (all portrayed by the same gifted comedian) in various awkward, uncomfortable, funny-because-its-true situations and storylines. But it’s so much more than that. This show is a series of comical skits told through the lens of a Latin millennial. It’s a show about all of the awkward everyday interactions and moments we all experience in one way or another, but presented to viewers through the voice(s) of the many characters Castro brings to life. And of course, it’s all told through his very unique perspective as a modern Latino in America.

From the trailer it’s clear that if you can count on seeing one thing in each episode of Alternatino with Arturo Castro, it’s a whole lot of Arturo Castro. The star will portray no less than 45 different characters across a wide variety of skits and stories. From the trailer alone we see that he plays an unhappily single girl at a wedding, a blonde ICE agent advocating for “cage-free lifestyles,” a spokesperson for Guatemala’s tourism board and even an awkward father having the uncomfortable sex talk with his overly-educated young son. Talk about range.

Think of Alternatino as Key & Peele plus a healthy dose of social and political commentary from a Latino. You might sense some inspiration from the groundbreaking comedy variety show The Carol Burnett Show back in the late 60s and 70s. There’s a little bit of Nick Kroll and a little bit of old-school Dave Chappelle, but the series is unique in that it has a Latin spin along with essential cultural references on the state of the nation, the way that Latinos are under attack and the need to accurately represent the largest ethnic minority group in this country.

The show plans to tackle the many misconceptions and stereotypes about Latinos in the U.S. head-on, one hilarious comedy sketch at a time. And if you don’t think that comedy and political commentary mix, then clearly you haven’t been watching Saturday Night Live, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, VEEP, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah or literally anything on TV that is funny.

Alternatino follows a familiar formula that has worked for so many other sketch comedy shows that have come before it — poking fun at everyday situations and using comedy to point out awkward but entertaining interactions using the age-old “it’s funny because it’s true” attitude. Through his many (and we mean many – he plays at least 45 different characters!) personalities, characters and skits Castro puts his comedic skills to great use as he attempts to navigate life as a modern Latino man – whatever that means.

Let’s Get to Know Arturo Castro

If you’re watching the trailer, or reading his name and wondering “hey, that guy sounds familiar, I’ve seen him somewhere before, but I can’t quite place him…” you’re absolutely correct. Arturo Castro is not a nobody who’s being thrown into the deep end of the pond in his first acting gig. The comedian has been around the comedy block for years, more specifically, he’s been around Comedy Central for years, which is why he probably seems familiar. He appeared in all five seasons of the beloved and recently departed Broad City on Comedy Central, playing Jaime Castro, Ilana’s Guatemalan roommate. In the press release announcing the premier date of the new sketch comedy series, Castro expressed his excitement about being a part of the Comedy Central family again. “Comedy Central has been my home for the past six years, my literal home, they have big offices and central heating. I couldn’t imagine better partners to bring this show to life,” he said.

And it seems like the feeling is mutual. “There’s no one better to continue Comedy Central’s unparalleled legacy in sketch comedy than the undeniably talented writer, performer and overall brilliant Arturo Castro,” said Sarah Babineau and Jonas Larsen, Executive Vice Presidents and Co-Heads of Talent and Development, Comedy Central in the same release.

Arturo Castro is originally from Guatemala, where he was raised in a big family in a house full of women with his three sisters and mom. He flexed his acting muscles and honed his comedy skill set with his first real acting gig — hosting a TRL-esque TV show in Guatemala called Conexion. After that first gig he officially caught the acting bug and moved to New York City to give the entertainment industry a real shot. Shortly thereafter he was cast in Broad City, followed by a role in the third season of Narcos.

Castro is proudly Latino, and is clearly excited for the opportunity to both star in this hilarious series, but also to be able to raise awareness of issues faced by the Latino community, and hopefully dispel some of those nasty misconceptions that are prevalent in this country and around the world. On his Instagram feed he recently posted a teaser of the premiere date for Alternatino, with the caption: “I can’t tell you what it means to me seeing my name in the title of this show. I didn’t know someone that looked like me or had a name like mine could have a show on American TV.” Castro doesn’t just star on this new comedy show — he is the creator, executive producer, writer and star of the series. It’s impressive and well deserved.

“I’m honored to be a part of this family and to have the opportunity to amplify the voice of a community that seems to be under siege at the moment. Hopefully, by watching, people will realize that the human experience is at its core the same, no matter what you look like or how much you like brunch, matcha, or fair trade friendship bracelets. Mmm, matcha …” You gotta love a guy who can help you laugh at yourself and the world when you need a hefty dose of humor most.

Why You Need to Watch ‘Alternatino,’ And Why this Show Matters

It’s no secret that we live in a world where Latinos are under attack and are constantly being broken down by stereotypes. Immigrants are being detained at the border and people are being judged or feared based on their ethnicity, where they come from or the color of their skin. At times it feels like history is repeating itself in a terrifyingly hateful way that puts us all at risk, which is why we need comedy more than ever; specifically, comedy that brings real cultural issues to light in an entertaining, relatable way. You’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine, which we firmly believe. But laughter that also makes you think and question what you knew, or that sparks a conversation about a culturally relevant and timely issue is even better. According to a press release, the network hopes the show will use “modern Latino identity (misconceptions and all) as a fresh filter to cultural commentary about our daily lives and the zeitgeist.”

Arturo has a very clear goal with his sketch comedy series: to give a voice to a community that has been marginalized, misrepresented and arguably neglected for years. But he plans to do so in his own way, using comedy (we’re talking laugh-out-loud skits that overwhelm you with pee-in-your-pants giggles) to make people think and try to see the world through someone else’s perspective — Arturo’s millennial Latino perspective.

via GIPHY

 Comedy Central is widely recognized as the authority when it comes to laughs and has helped to propel several comics to fame in the past — hello Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele and of course, Dave Chappelle. So it seems that the network knows epic talent when it sees it, and from the trailer alone we’d have to guess that Castro is going to follow in the footsteps of those stars. In just two minutes worth of clips we see him portray a frazzled, red-headed single girl at a wedding (we all have that friend), an awkward dad talking to his young son about sex, an ICE agent and a Latin actor trying to impress a girl on a date, but realizing that she has very different expectations of what she hoped to find in a “Latin lover.” (Spoiler alert: despite his silk shirt and trying to look the part, he is a little bit more delicate and has softer hands than any stereotypical Latin man should have.)   

Castro is clearly going to be a big deal and you’ll be hearing about his skits and his successes for years to come, but he’s going to do it his way, paving his own path to fame by staying true to his personal experiences and his modern Latino identity.

Alternatino with Arturo Castro premiers on Comedy Central on June 18th at 10:30p EST. The day after the premier episodes will be available via On Demand, the Comedy Central App and cc.com.