John Leguizamo Kicks Off National Tour of ‘Latin History for Morons’

Latin History Feature BELatina
Photo Credit IG @latinhistory101

Actor, playwright, and stand-up comic John Leguizamo kicked off his nationwide tour of his award-winning one-man show Latin History for Morons just last week in Durham, North Carolina. Latin History for Morons runs through November, with single or multi-day stops through Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., Seattle, Dallas, and San Antonio. 

This isn’t the premiere of Leguizamo’s critically acclaimed show; Latin History for Morons was nominated for a Tony award in 2018, and was off- and on-Broadway in 2017 through early 2018. (P.S. If you can’t catch it live, the show is available on Netflix, too.) But, halfway through Trump’s term in the Oval Office and only days after the President’s racist tweets aimed at congresswomen of color, Leguizamo’s show reminds us with a simmering sense of anger and frustration that we will be stuck at an impasse until we acknowledge a complete history of the Americas.

John Leguizamo History for morons LA BELatina
Photo Credit IG @simsjames

In his show, he shares the timeline of Latin American history that was passed down to him by his uncle, beginning in the vaunted Mayan age up through the modern era of Pitbull. “But yo, what happened in the three thousand years between our great indigenous civilizations and us,” he considers. “How did we become so goddamn nonexistent — because if you don’t see yourself represented outside of yourself, you just feel f*cking invisible.” He cites the statistic that 73 million indigenous people in Central America, North America, and the Caribbean islands were exterminated by European colonizers, leaving only a few million survivors to tell the history of pre-colonial America. 

This, he suggests, is why he created the show, a direct response to his son not having access to the breadth of Latin American history, the indigenous and pan-American influence that has been left out of history books and been overshadowed by Eurocentric progress. Leguizamo himself was humbled by his own ignorance. “I was the one who started to learn all this information,” Leguizamo said to NBC News, identifying himself as the original moron of his show. “And I will never feel like a second-class citizen in this country ever again.” 

Latin History for Morons Miami
Photo Credit IG @liaseirotti

Shortly before his shows last week in Miami, he told the Miami Herald that he hopes to reach a young Latinx audience with this tour, a production that he had honed to be informative, personal, and dynamic, a balancing act of indispensable education and engagement. The final product contradicts what the gatekeepers of the entertainment industry have conditioned him to expect. “I’ve been told by studio heads that Latin people don’t want to see Latin people,” he said in an interview with the Herald,  “There’s all this crazy Hollywood ‘wisdom’ that is really microaggressions that I gotta deal with on a daily basis. You go, ‘Why is there no Latin content?’ Well, they’re killing it at the root, at the creation of it.”

Previous articleA Love Letter to Colombia on its Independence Day
Next articleIt Seems Unimaginable, But #icebae Is a Real Hashtag That Describes a Latina CBP Agent
Monica Haim
As a professional writer, Monica Haim has collaborated on books for personalities such as Paige VanZant, Ricky Martin, Ilyasah Shabazz, Jorge & Laura Posada, Thalia, Nina Garcia and David Archuleta, with whom she wrote a New York Times best seller. Monica has been published by Hachette, Harpercollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Chronicle Books. In 2001 Monica was also published in an anthology, 9/11 8:48am: Documenting America's Worst Tragedy (Blue Ear Press, 2001), and her essay was adapted for the London theatrical premiere, Voices from September 11th, which ran at the Old Vic on September 11th, 2002. Monica was the Editorial Director at Botanika Life, a cannabis lifestyle wellness platform, and was previously the Editorial Director at saludmovil™, a bilingual health and wellness platform. Prior to that she was editor-in-chief at Becomingselfmade.com, Nely Galán's digital platform that advocates entrepreneurship for multicultural women. She was previously content director for Mamiverse.com, a web portal directed at Latina women.