Growing up, comedian Jose Sarduy wanted to be an astronaut.
But as he mentioned in the phone interview, “you have to miss the road to comedy.”
“My goal was to be an astronaut as a kid,” Sarduy said. “But I failed enough when I was little because it didn’t look good.”
Sure enough, everything went well for the Cuban comedian.
Sarduy will return to Permian Arrora on Saturday for the Odessa Catholic Charity Hope Banquet Fundraiser on Saturday.
The event will take place at 7pm at the Odessa Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in the Permian Ballroom.
This year’s Hope Banquet will return to the personalized environment for the first time since 2019 before the pandemics hit.
“I, the staff, the management, we are all very excited,” said Sara Aguilar, executive director of Catholic Charities in Odessa. “We were very lucky to have our fundraiser that year. We are very excited about this coming. ”
Also, it will be the first time in the fundraiser that Aguilar says it will be a stand-up comedy.
“First, it was just a banquet with a showcase of programs and then a dinner,” Aguilar said. “It’s the first time we’ve added entertainment to our event.”
Born in Cuba, Sarduy was a roller coaster of growing life.
He and his family were deported from Cuba in 1980 for their father’s political imprisonment.
Sarduy’s father was sentenced to six years in prison in Cuba for writing a letter that did not agree with the regime of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and his police.
“When he came out, I was born shortly after,” Sarduy said. “I couldn’t get a job and my mother was fired. My family was eventually blacklisted for everything. ”
Her family had to leave Cuba and in 1980 Mariel Boatlift came to the United States.
After graduating from high school, Sarduy was accepted to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.
As a pilot in the Air Force, Sarduy has flown extensively to Del Rio, Odessa and Midland.
“I’ve lived in Texas before, I’ve been located there, so it always has a special place in my heart,” Sarduy said. “Odessa is a blue-collar community. I’ve always liked the public there. It’s nice to come back and see how the town has grown since I was in 2017. Or during the pandemic, we made a lot of trips to Midland to train. “I’m leaving the airport in Odessa, especially since I’ve done a lot in Midland. Now I have to fill up my Odessa tank.”
Despite being a retired Air Force veteran, Sarduy trains Del Rio pilots as a backup in addition to his career stand-up.
After being admitted to the U.S. Air Force Academy, Sarduy’s goal was to become a pilot on a space shuttle program in the early 2000s.
But those plans were thwarted after NASA announced a shutdown of the shuttle program.
“That means if I wanted to be an astronaut, I would have to compete academically with other astronauts,” Sarduy said.
Sarduy would still become an Air Force officer, serving in Enduring Freedom and Freedom in Iraq in the early 2000s, making cargo planes.
“It was a fun experience, but I didn’t have a gun on my plane, which is scary,” Sarduy said. “In that situation, it would be nice to have one.”
Although he enjoyed the military, he did not want to work full time.
“I was a little lost,” Sarduy said. “My childhood passion was dying a bit. I had a good life. I was an Air Force pilot and I had a good life, but my passion was gone. ”
Another childhood passion came to him, comedy.
“I grew up in love,” Sarduy said. “The power of comedy made an impression on me. The funniest teachers were always the most effective, and humor can be used to ease the tension and help you get through some difficult times. ”
At first he didn’t think he would do stand-up comedy, however, as he doubted whether he could laugh in a crowded room.
“I like to stand up,” Sarduy said. “But I wasn’t very funny. I was an inside joke teller. So I never saw myself as a joke teller. ”
Then, in 2003, when he was on a trip to Urbana-Champaign, Ill., Something clicked on him.
Sarduy was with his girlfriend and his friends and started telling stories about himself.
“Maybe it was the right amount of beer, but they wanted to hear more about me and my life,” Sarduy said. “It was about 10 minutes, I was just talking and everyone was laughing. One of the women fell from her chair and another poured beer from her nose. I don’t remember what I said. That’s when I started really looking forward to being a stand-up comedian and realized what he needed. ”
Over the years, Sarduy made his way, eventually making an open mic at the New York Comedy Club.
“I got a legal laugh from the tough comedians who were there and that was it,” Sarduy said. “I went in. It’s been an interesting walk ever since.”
Since 2007, Sarduy has been doing stand-up comedy full-time, performing various shows across the country.
She talks to the audience about her life experiences, including the fun everyday moments she grew up with her family.
Like Aguilar, Sarduy stressed that next week’s entertainment will be suitable for families.
“It’s a charity event, so they’re going to get my comedy clean,” Sarduy said. “I know some people around me are probably thinking that this is not good for charity, but I tell people that I’ve been doing comedy for a long time. I can make a clean comedy. I have a couple of special comedies on my belt. People can relax. It will be a fun show. They’re jokes about my life and all that, but you can bring kids. ”
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Catholic Charity of Odessa helping the community.
“It’s great for us to be here and serve everyone in Ector County,” Aguilar said. “It’s been a fundraiser for years, so it keeps up the tradition.”
When the Catholic Charities of Odessa opened in 1982, it was originally an adoption agency.
“They’ve been working on that for three years,” Aguilar said. “They took several children through Catholic Charities during those three years.”
Shortly afterwards, the organization moved to social services, providing food and clothing emergency services to the community.
“They’ve grown since then,” Aguilar said. “I know our study center is very busy. We see an average of about 450 students each year who successfully complete their courses through the learning center, so we are very busy. The agency continues to grow. ”
The work has not stopped, especially with the pandemic and high inflation affecting many people with families in need of help.
“During the time of COVID, we were hit very hard,” Aguilar said. “We never closed our doors to the community and our numbers went up from the roof. We were seeing three times the number of emergency services, if not quadrupled, especially in the dining room. There were a lot of people out of work.”
These numbers have begun to rise again as a result of inflation, Aguilar said.
“This fundraiser has come at a crucial time because we need the support of the community to continue to serve those in need.”
For more information on Catholic Charities in Odessa, go to tinyurl.com/yc7wdza6.
Tickets for the Hope Banquet can be purchased at tinyurl.com/yckjcybn.
If you go
- What: Banquet of the Hope of Catholic Charity in Odessa.
- When: June 11, 7 p.m.
- No: Odessa Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.
- Where to buy tickets: tinyurl.com/yckjcybn