John Leguizamo attended the 2023 South By Southwest festival, where he discussed his upcoming MSNBC show, Leguizamo Does America, and the message he hopes it will send viewers about Latin history and communities within the U.S.

According to Leguizamo, his new series is about “Latin exceptionalism and what we’ve survived in this country… it proves that being Latin is a superpower because, you know, our wealth has been stolen, we’ve been deported – we’re the only group that’s been deported, two million Latin people were deported in 1930 by Herbert Hoover, who were American citizens because of the Depression then came at us with the Wetback Act in the 1950s, deported more American citizens.”


Citing historical references, Leguizamo went on to explain that despite the injustices and mistreatment they have faced in the U.S., “we keep coming back, and we keep rebuilding, and we’ve added $2.8 trillion to the U.S. economy. If we were our own nation economy, we would be the fifth largest economy in the world, and we get not much for it. We don’t get our money’s worth.”

“And so, [Leguizamo Does America] shows our struggles, our pain, our joy, our dance, our music, our culture, our artists, painters, dancers, activists, politicians, and go into a deep dive,” Leguizamo said describing his upcoming docuseries.

When asked whether his series will resemble a travel channel show, Leguizamo admitted that when he was first offered the show, he questioned whether his career was over because sending actors abroad and calling it a travel show has become a common end-of-career move.

“No, I would never do a light show like that… What I brought to American comedy and American story writing is to mix comedy with pain because that’s the way my experience in Latin experience was. And I brought it into Marble Mouth, Spic-O-Rama and I will always blend comedy with serious pain,” Leguizamo explained, recalling two of his iconic 90s performances.

The 62-year-old actor then went on to explain what it was like growing up in New York City, saying that his “bike was stolen many many times. Now I have the crappiest bike and it’ll probably get stolen anyway.”

“I got mugged when I was seven years old,” he continued. “First of all, my parents were immigrant parents, and they would make me earn my Christmas presents. So I had to read the encyclopedia to try to get my Christmas present… I read the goddamn A’s and they got me my bike. I’m riding it down the street and this Johnny guy comes and beats me up and takes the bike from me. I’m crying and I come up to my dad and go ‘Dad they beat me up’ and he goes ‘No you go back down there and you don’t come back here till you beat him up’… there was no winning,” he said to a laughing audience.

He went on to discuss the term “Latinx,” saying he will continue using it despite older generations and millennials not liking the term.

Leave a comment

Read more about: