When asked about his comedy career, Carlos Medina makes one thing clear: He’s not really a comedian. A humble man from the small town of Ribera, he created his first comedic sketch four years ago featuring the high-voiced, Spanglish-speaking character Graviel de la Plaga. The sketch wasn’t meant to go viral—in truth, Medina is a lifelong musician who inadvertently created the beloved alter-ego between band recordings—but the cultural accuracy of his comedy was immediately recognizable, loveable and successful.
After these almost accidental beginnings, Medina is the headliner for next week's Valentime's in the Norte comedy show, presented by Meow Wolf at the Skylight. He's joined on stage by local comedians Joser Maestas from Las Vegas and AJ Martinez from Albuquerque, with music from local Norte band Los Malcriados.
Medina's alter-ego is a little outrageous, and that's what makes him so popular. Most of his fans know him from his Norte Saying of the Day videos, but the videos are only a small part of his relationship with them. "Pretty much anywhere I go, people recognize me. 'Hey, you're that guy—you're Graviel,'" Medina says. He often wishes fans happy birthday in his videos, but he also connects with them in a very unique and genuine way: "Every show that I sponsor, I try to be the only ticket outlet—I try to hand deliver tickets," he says, and that's his favorite part of the whole job. He personally delivers tickets to folks' houses or jobs, or sometimes he simply runs into them in the parking lot of Allsup's. No matter where he meets them, it's an opportunity for a conversation and a connection. "I've already met most everyone by the night of the show, so it feels like a big family reunion."
Obviously, this isn't some canned comedy routine; Medina sees it as an opportunity for Northern New Mexicans to laugh together and see the comedic gold in our shared culture.
This unique Valentine's show promises to delight those who are already fans of Medina. For those who haven't met him yet, Graviel wants to know: "What you douuuching?!"
Valentime's in the Norte:
8 pm Friday, Feb. 12. $15.
139 W San Francisco St.