The Peabody Award-winning Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, from PRI and WNYC, is public radio’s smart and surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt Andersen introduces you to the people who are creating and shaping our culture. Life is busy – so let Studio 360 steer you to the must-see movie this weekend, the next book for your nightstand, or the song that will change your life.
March 25th, 2015
Episode 45 of 201 episodes
Al Madrigalhas been The Daily Show's "Senior Latino Correspondent" for years. In his funny new documentary, Half Like Me, he travels across the United States and Mexico to explore his ambivalence with that ethnic identity. Along the way, Madrigal discovers that he can't really pronounce his own name. He also discovers that he doesn't really care. While on his journey ofself-discovery, Madrigal is joined by a number of well-known figures, including the Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos, who attempts to teach Madrigal how to pronounce his last name in Spanish. Though he’s patient with Ramos, Madrigal isn’t sold on his critique: “I think any way I pronounce my name is the right way,” he says. “For people to tell me it’s the wrong way is just absolutely ridiculous.” “Being ‘half’ has always been confusing,” Madrigal says in the opening of his film. “White people think you’re Mexican — I’ve had people throw me towels at health clubs — and Latinos give me shit for not being Latino enough.” For most of his life, Madrigal has been called “pocho,” Mexican slang for being brown on the outside and white on the inside (think coconuts). By the documentary’s final frames, the comedian (who was born in San Francisco to a Mexican father and Sicilian mother) has come to terms with his identity issues. “It took the documentary to get there,” he says. Making it also helped him realize he wasn't alone. “A lot of people feel the exact same way.”