Martin Moreno just can’t stay away from the First Avenue Club. The quirky comic returns to Iowa City for a New Year’s Eve gig only eight months after he performed there.
“I know it’s only been a half-year or so since I played the First Avenue Club, but there’s a reason I’m back,” Moreno said by phone from his Los Angeles home. “I really enjoy playing Iowa City. It’s a great place to perform, since the audiences are amazing. I love the energy and the open-mindedness there. I also have a lot of new material. So much has happened to me since I was in Iowa City last spring.”
Moreno, 51, will riff about aging and having surgery, among many other topics.
“It’s not easier getting older,” Moreno said. “It’s challenging. Things happen to our bodies. I had to get surgery and even though I’m an American citizen with health insurance, I went to Mexico for my surgery. It was cheaper to repair my torn rotator cuff in Mexico. If I had the surgery here in Los Angeles, it would have cost me $20,000. I paid $7,000 in Mexico and guess what? It all worked out. I was shot up with stem cells. ... It worked out great.”
Moreno is excited about living in the future.
“That’s how I see it today,” he said. “What we were wondering about years ago has arrived. We’re not flying around in cars, but when you look at where we are with the internet and technology, we’re in a really great space. Compare now with where we were a generation ago and we’ve come a long, long way.”
Since it will be New Year’s Eve, Moreno also will talk about 2020 and resolutions.
“I know that a lot of people make resolutions, but I’m not that guy,” he said. “But if I have to talk resolutions, I’ll resolve to try to take my career further. A priority for me is to put more content online.”
Moreno arrived to the stand-up party later than most, since his initial open mic performance was 20 years ago.
“It’s better late than never,” he said. “The cool thing is that I’m still doing it and it’s going well. A lot of comics ended up breaking later in life.”
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Rodney Dangerfield and Redd Foxx are examples of comedians who didn’t make it until they hit middle age.
“This is not like being a singer and you need to be this kid to get somewhere,” Moreno said. “I believe the more that you experience the more you have to say — and I’ve seen so much.”
Moreno tips his cap to fellow comic and good pal Gabriel Iglesias. Moreno’s son Hooter, who also is a comedian, and will open for his father at the First Avenue Club, was a big fan of the Nickelodeon show “All That,” which featured Iglesias, Amanda Bynes and Nick Cannon.
“I was aware of Gabriel. We kept running into each other and we became friends, and he ended up taking me out on the road with him,” Moreno said. “He blew up, and the exposure for me has been huge. But I have to work hard and continue to come up with material. Fortunately for me, my life is filled with funny and interesting things to talk about.”
• What: New Year’s Eve with Martin Moreno; Hooter Moreno opens
• Where: First Avenue Club, 1550 S. First Ave., Iowa City
• When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (12/31); dinner at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m.
• Tickets: $20, includes dinner buffet; $10 general admission, no dinner buffet; $100 reserved table for four, with dinner, drink coupon, midnight champagne toast; Firstavenueclub.com/events/martin-moreno-with-hooter-moreno/