Hoopla

Martin Moreno ready to talk about male grooming, odd things guys do, and Iowans at Iowa City gig Saturday

MARTIN MORENO PHOTO

Brash comedian Martin Moreno is coming to the First Avenue Club in Iowa City on Saturday night (4/20).
MARTIN MORENO PHOTO Brash comedian Martin Moreno is coming to the First Avenue Club in Iowa City on Saturday night (4/20).

Comedy isn’t necessarily a young man’s game, even though plenty of youthful comics are on the landscape.

Jeff Foxworthy, who has sold more comedy albums in history, started as a stand-up after establishing himself at IBM. Rodney Dangerfield and Red Foxx didn’t make it as comics until they reached middle age.

Martin Moreno didn’t even hit an open mic until he turned 31. Twenty years later, the cheeky wise guy is a well-established stand-up.

“It’s been a great ride so far,” Moreno said by phone from his Los Angeles home. “I took a chance and I’ve had some luck.”

Some of his good fortune can be tied to his pal and fellow comic Gabriel Iglesias. Moreno’s son, Hooter, was a huge fan of the Nickelodeon show “All That,” which featured Iglesias, Amanda Bynes and Nick Cannon.

“I knew Gabriel from the show since my son always watched it, and we happened to meet in L.A.,” Moreno said. “Then we kept bumping into each other. We became friends.”

When Iglesias’ career as the fluffy comic took off not long after the turn of the century, Moreno went along for the ride.

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“I’ve been on the road with Gabriel for 20 years,” Moreno said. “It’s been amazing. He’s beloved around the world. He draws massive crowds in Australia, Norway and, of course, in the U.S. I was just out with him last week and as always, we had a blast.”

Moreno, 51, will bring his lighthearted comedy to the First Avenue Club in Iowa City on Saturday (4/20). The elder Moreno will crack wise about male grooming and about odd things guys do. He’ll also interview First Avenue’s Billy Francis and talk about Iowa stereotypes.

“I can’t wait to go on about Iowa and how people don’t know what it’s really like,” Moreno said. “I’ve been to Iowa a number of times and it’s a really cool place, particularly the Iowa City area. When people around the country talk about Iowa, they envision a very conservative, boring state. When you look at Billy, who is an Iowa guy, it’s a different story. Billy has piercings, a mohawk and is such a provocative guy. We’re going to have fun together onstage.”

Moreno will be joined by his son, who is also a comic.

“Hooter got into this much earlier than me,” Moreno said. “He was born into it, but he’s earned it. What we do is have fun up there. So many entertainers are so serious these days. It feels like such a gloom and doom era. We’re constantly reminded of all the bad in the world. We’re constantly bombarded by it courtesy of social media.”

Moreno, who has made a career out of better late than never, has doubled down on that phrase. The quirky podcast host is making his first punk-metal album.

“That’s a pretty cool midlife project,” he said. “We’ll be recording the album this summer and it’ll be out by fall. (The band) is called Saint Nektarios.”

Moreno is all about taking chances.

“If you don’t take any risks, you’re probably going to have a pretty boring life,” he said. “There’s no bigger risk I took than becoming a comic. But it’s worked for me, Hooter, and my good friend Gabriel Iglesias. I can’t imagine where I would be now if it weren’t for comedy. I know I wouldn’t be in Iowa in a few days.”

Get out!

WHAT: Martin Moreno with Hooter Moreno

WHERE: First Avenue Club, 1550 S. First Ave., Iowa City

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday (4/20)

TICKETS: $10 general admission, $60 reserved table for four with barbecue dinner; Firstavenueclub.com/event

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ARTIST’S WEBSITE: Martinmoreno.com/about/

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