By Rami Mansi
The award-winning and positively infectious podcast “Latinos Out Loud” recorded last week’s taping in front of a live audience of New Yorkers and members of the Brooklyn College community alike inside the campus’s Whitman Theater on Dec. 5. The Puerto Rican and Latino Studies (PRLS) Department partnered up with the Television, Radio and Emerging Media (TREM) Department to welcome back BC alumna and host of “Latinos Out Loud” since its creation in 2015, Rachel Strauss-Muniz, professionally known as Rachel “La Loca.”
“Latinos Out Loud” is a podcast with a mission “to move Latinos forward, by making them LOL,” Strauss-Muniz explained at the event.
Strauss-Muniz is a New York native market researcher turned comedian who is as charismatic as she is a Leo. From sketch comedy and stand-up to hosting her podcast, Strauss-Muniz has made a name for herself, having the confidence of a true performer and the energy of a Bulldog. Strauss-Muniz has even been invited to teach a new course at BC in the spring revolving around radio and podcasting.
Audience members were in for a treat as this episode of “Latinos Out Loud” featured three different guests. The opener, “Michelladonna,” was a Baruch and Cornell student turned comedian. The queer Latina performer opened the episode up and rattled the audience in the best way possible with hilarious remarks to get them ready for the following hour-and-a-half-long journey.
During the opening minutes of the podcast, Strauss-Muniz had an introductory shout-out session where she gave credit where credit was due and acknowledged the audience, her team, and crew, who was almost entirely made up of students from a TREM class at BC called Multi-Camera Television Production, among others.
“It was really exciting to be part of a real live show!” said Yariana Baez, a student in the class. “Speaking for myself, being a stage manager was nerve-wracking but exhilarating because I got to work directly with the talent and the director. Overall, it gave me a taste of what the real deal would be like. I loved it!”
The first segment that audience members witnessed was with Frank Nibbs, cited “Frankspiracy News,” a segment that discusses various conspiracy theories. For this episode, the theory presented was that Santa was a shaman and made his reindeers fly by giving them the drug “magic” mushrooms. With proof being the constant approach of red mushrooms in various films, books, and other forms of entertainment, the evidence was surprisingly quite substantial.
The next guest was a comedian who’s been performing for 15 years. Starring in Jimmy Kimmel’s Vegas comedy club, Disney’s “Dashing Through the Snow” film, and the live shows of “America’s Got Talent,” Gina Brillon graced the podcast with her quick wit and enthusiasm.
With two empowering female comedians taking the stage, listeners already knew they were in for a good listen. Brillon and Strauss-Muniz enthralled audience members and went off of each other’s energies perfectly. Reflecting on their shared experiences of motherhood and being women of color in a white male-dominated field, Strauss-Muniz asked Brillon for tips for “the young Gina’s” of the world and what she would tell her younger self.
“We don’t lose; we win or we learn,” Brillon said. “You can tell me ‘no,’ and I’ll come every week until you say ‘yes.’” With stories to share and emotions to bare, Brillon lit up the stage and enlightened BC with her energy and words of motivation.
With laughter and emotions resonating with all of the audience members, the filming was enjoyable on all sides of the camera. One of the production team members was The Vanguard’s very own managing editor, Kate Dempsey, who was entrusted with the role of camera number one operator.
The production class excelled in their abilities to work with each other and create a successful episode. “It’s one thing to work hard, another to see your work pay off in front of you, especially in just one semester,” said student Mara Matos, who operated camera five. “It was one thing to work on such a cool show with a great host and incredible guests, but it was another to be surrounded by such talented and hardworking students and staff. To be a student trusted to take on such work was beyond rewarding, and I feel it was a real bonding experience amongst the students, one I’m truly grateful for.”
Finishing the episode with the fast-paced game that sponsored the episode, Strauss-Muniz and Brillon played a fun game of “Get Loud,” the Latin-cultured game that strongly resembles “Heads Up.” Strauss-Muniz then left the audience with warm regards and excitement for the next episode, which was filmed in the same location with different guests just an hour later.
With a memorable audience and powerful momentum carried throughout the episode, Brooklyn College was graced by the energy of Rachel “La Loca” Strauss-Muniz and the entertainment that is “Latinos Out Loud.”