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'We want to represent our gente': As new season looms, 'The Bean & Chisme Show' is as big a sensation as ever

The cast says they are careful in the portrayal and depiction of Latinos in their sketches.

SAN ANTONIO — The popular online “Bean & Chisme Show" has been a mainstay on social media for the past five years, racking up thousands of new followers and video views. 

The production, which began as a streaming program on social media featuring two Latina comedians, has undergone a transformation in 2022—boasting some of San Antonio’s biggest comedic talents as part of the cast.

Samantha Najera, Joanna Estrada and AJ Rivas comprise the new cast of the "Bean & Chisme Show," which focuses on sketch comedy and live performances. Popular TikToker “Jose Not Juan” also served as a cast member in 2022, but recently left the show to purse independent endeavors. Cast members say they aim to go mainstream and increase Latino representation within the entertainment industry.

“Right now, the status of Hollywood isn’t good for Latinos. As you know, there’s a lack of representation for us,” Najera said. “So for me, the only way to take control of that is to do it ourselves.”

Each comedian has their own independent social media following, focusing on videos that showcase elements of Latino life.

“I want to be a representation of our culture, and of our Latino descent,” said Estrada, also known as “Chona E” by her fans. “I want to be the George Lopez of women comedians. That’s what I want.”

Estrada recently headlined two sold-out live performances at the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club, but also performs at venues across the state. Estrada and the cast members credit part of their success to the authenticity they provide their audiences, drawing upon childhood experiences – and family backgrounds – as inspiration for their comedy.

“It brings all those core memories back of us growing up,” Estrada said. “Because it’s real life. It’s real stuff.”

Characters like “Los Tios,” played by Najera and Estrada, and “Yessica 210,” played by Rivas, are illustrative of how the cast uses their cultural upbringing as the basis for their comedy.

“She’s three of my primas that I have,” Rivas said of his popular character, Yessica 210. “All that is what I grew up looking at, and what I appreciate, and I feel like you won’t get that anywhere else.”

The cast says they are careful in the portrayal and depiction of Latinos in their sketches, as they work to further represent their culture through comedy.

“We’ve never set out to make fun of our culture, we’re very prideful in our culture, we want to represent our gente very well,” Najera said. “So the last thing we want to do is talk down on our culture, but we talk to our people through comedy.”

The "Bean & Chisme Show" premieres Oct. 27, on YouTube And Twitch.

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