Q&A: Comedian Chris Estrada is still that fool ahead of Irvine shows

Photo by Comedian Chris Estrada is touring across the country doing stand-up.
Chris Estrada jokes that he will perform at the Irvine Improv with his shirt off, but here he is (thankfully) with his shirt on.
(Mandee Johnson)

For comedian Chris Estrada, there’s life after “This Fool.”

Estrada, who grew up in Inglewood and South L.A., worked warehouse jobs while doing stand-up comedy at night when he got a call that turned into “This Fool,” a hit comedy show on Hulu that he co-created and starred in.

Set in South L.A., the show followed the exploits of Julio Lopez, a self-deprecating counselor working at a gang intervention nonprofit, and Luis, his ex-gang member cousin just released from prison.

A quick-witted, acerbic comedy that got Latino L.A. right without overstuffing it with corny cultural references, “This Fool” reigned for two hilarious seasons before Hulu canceled the show in February.


We spoke to Chris Estrada, creator of ‘This Fool,’ about the cancellation of the beloved Hulu series.

Feb. 23, 2024

Since then, Estrada has gone on to release a short comedy film “5th of July” about two friends on the quest for illegal fireworks that howls like a lost episode. The comedian is also touring across the country with his stand-up act, which makes a headlining stop this weekend at the Irvine Improv.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: Back in the day, you worked at warehouses while trying to break through as a comedian. What role did humor play for you before and after you clocked out? Did you test any material on co-workers?

A: I was irreverently funny with them. I don’t think I ever tested any material because it’s hard to go into a stand-up bit in the middle of unloading trucks. As much as the working class likes comedy, they also like to hurry up and get the job done. But there were some gigs where I was able to bust balls and be funny. I took a lot of comedic inspiration from all the jobs I worked at.

And it was during a lunch break in 2019 that you got a call about “This Fool,” right?

Yeah, it was crazy. I was working at this warehouse in Mid City or Culver City in L.A. I had been doing stand-up for six or seven years. Randomly one day, I get a text from Jake Wiseman, and he said, “Would you be interested in working with us?” We made arrangements to meet. That’s really how it started. Fred Armisen showed some interest in being an executive producer. The first time we talked to him was during one of my lunch breaks.

I’ll always regard the episode about Julio’s mom Esperanza taking office toilet paper home from her janitor job as an instant classic. It resonated a little too much. What was the inspiration behind that episode?

My mom is a retired janitor. She would bring toilet paper from her job back home. It was s—ty toilet paper. She’d get mad if you would buy any.

I take it there was no toilet paper panic during the pandemic for you?

My mom would send me a bag of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfecting wipes. We were pretty locked down on all of that!

Was the “5th of July” a short film you had in mind before “This Fool” got canceled? Or was it something that creatively came about afterward?

I made that before I started writing season two of “This Fool.” Steven Feinartz, my buddy who I made that with, directs a lot of comedy specials and does documentaries. We always wanted to work on something. In between season one and season two of “This Fool,” I had this idea about fireworks, almost like “Friday.” I just didn’t put it out because we were submitting to film festivals. But now that “This Fool” was canceled and we had already gotten into like two or three film festivals, there wasn’t much more to do with it and I wanted people to see it publicly.

As an L.A. comic, how do you like or dislike O.C.?

I actually like Orange County! My girlfriend is from Fullerton. I like Fullerton a lot. Santa Ana feels like home. Irvine cracks me up! It reminds me of an episode of “Arrested Development” because it’s a corporate city. Being an L.A. comic, and I’ve been a comic for about 11 years now, Orange County is a place that I was constantly performing at. Orange County has a great comedy scene.

Speaking of Fullerton, we just had Mike Ness Day there earlier this month, which brought a lot of white and Chicano Social Distortion punk fans together. Here’s a hard-hitting question for a rocker fool like yourself. Do you prefer “Greaser” Mike or “Punk” Mike?

I celebrate all of Social Distortion, from “Another State of Mind” to their last album. They’re a great band! My exposure to them was seeing the “Another State of Mind” documentary and watching punk Mike Ness putting on eyeliner and spiking up his hair.

Now, on Twitter, which is always what I refer to it as, not X ...

I joke around with that. I know Elon Musk bought Twitter and it’s called X, but it’s the only time I feel like an old person that doesn’t respect pronouns. I’m like, “You were born Twitter and you will die Twitter. I will not call you X!”

On Twitter, you posted about how standing at 5’11” makes you a tall Mexican. What are some of the advantages of being a giant among your people?

Definitely going to Northgate and reaching things other Latinos can’t! I joke around about that because 5’11” is not tall, but around a lot of Latinos that I grew up with, sometimes I was the taller one. I always joke around that if you’re over 5’11” you’re tall, but if you’re over 5’11” as a Latino you have Andre the Giant disease.

Well, I’m 6’6” and Mexican, so I’ll consider you my brethren!

You have Andre the Giant disease! Did you grow up by a f—ing nuclear plant?

Last question: Aside from your appearance at the Irvine Improv this weekend, what can we expect next for Chris Estrada?

More stand-up comedy. In my heart of hearts, I’m a stand-up comedian. With me, it all started with stand-up. I’m going to be touring a lot more. I want to keep making short films like “5th of July” and putting stuff out. Hopefully, I’ll get to pitch another TV show or write a movie. I like doing stand-up and I like making things, whether it’s a TV show or a short film or films.

Chris Estrada performs at the Irvine Improv Friday at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m., Saturday at 7 and 9:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at