We had the good fortune of connecting with Ernie González, Jr. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ernie, how do you define success?
For me, success as an actor is feeling proud of the work I put out, whether it’s successful or not. I’ll explain. A career in acting is a career in auditioning, and sometimes you book the job, but a lot of times you don’t. Like, a lot, a lot of the time. Doing your best, doing the most, and being proud of all that doing, is sometimes; all you have.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The crux of my art stems and comes from Comedy. At my core, I’m a Clown that has pursued and explored Comedy in many of its facets; Theatre, Shakespeare, Improvisation, Clowning, and Single and Multi-Cam Television Comedy, to name a few. When you make someone laugh–you change them. Seriously, by the very fact that they are laughing, you are affecting their physiology at that moment in time, and they’ll carry that moment/memory with them forever.
Being of service and making people laugh makes me happy, excited, and proud. Currently, I’m proudest of an all-volunteer comedy improv troupe, “A Dose of Funny,” that I created, direct, and spearhead through the nonprofit “Laughter For A Change.” We perform a family-friendly show at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for the sick kiddos and their families. Unfortunately, and full disclosure, due to COVID, we haven’t been able to perform in almost two years, but I’m longing for the day we can get back in there. I like to think that I’m making a difference with my Comedy, and when I get to do improv shows at CHLA, I know for a fact that I am, indeed, making a difference.
How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
Getting to where I am today was not easy. At all. I’ve had to overcome a myriad of challenges, and the struggle continues daily. I’m a brown, first-generation, gay, Mexican-American. English is my second language, I’m mildly dyslexic, and I come from poverty. I have to work three to four times harder than the average person. Every time I step out of my door, I’m taking a risk. However, the work ethic and risk-taking that I’ve had to develop are how I overcame these challenges and how I got to where I am today. And, as I continue to evolve, move forward, and become even more comfortable in my skin, I continue to understand (and remind myself) that all those hardships, challenges, and things I’ve been so ashamed of–are actually my power.
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
The main lesson I’ve learned along the way is that work ethic is all one can truly control. Actually, TBH (to be honest), and just between you and I, and whoever reads this (so, you know, you and I, and my mom), I have no natural talent whatsoever. So any tv show, play, or commercial you’ve seen me in was not because I was any more talented than the other excellent actors who auditioned for it. I was, however, more than likely, the hardest worker. Also, if you approach the work with gratitude, you’ll be happier. Don’t think or say, “I have to…” Shift that to “I get to..,” and it will change your entire perspective!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
At this moment in time, the Omicron COVID variant is sweeping the nation. Even though I’m fully vaccinated and boosted–Hunty, no one’s visiting, and we’re not going anywhere. #sorrynotsorry
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout is dedicated to all the fantastic teachers, I’ve had throughout my life. Most of which believed in me more than I believed in myself. Susan Ware not only taught me to love literature, drama, and acting, but she taught me how to love myself. Likewise, Susan Telehany and Ivan Sandlin saved my life in high school. Speaking of high school, my math teacher (yes, MATH teacher), Mr. Cain, knew that I loved Theatre, but my family could not afford it, so he and his lovely family took me to see every big broadway touring show that came through El Paso. Mr. Cain passed away a few years ago, and I honor him by acknowledging that my success is his success. That goes for all my teachers.
Headshots by (the amazing) David Muller