My Take on Shawn Pelofsky

Are we truly ready for standup comedy in Puerto Vallarta?


Well, a simple Google search pointed me to her website, where right on the homepage, I could peruse her bio and recent credits. Feel free to do this now, and come back to me!

If you took the time to read her credentials just now, then how nice it would be for you to catch her show. Trust me, you will have a blast (I’ll explain why later). If on the other hand, you are not intrigued enough to click on the link above and research visiting artists such as her, then your own lack of curiosity may be the reason why sometimes extraordinary talent doesn’t do well in Puerto Vallarta.

Now, please, stop reading now if you don’t care much about performing arts in Puerto Vallarta to begin with. On the other hand, if you are the type of person that complains about the lack of variety when it comes to live entertainment, please continue. This is all about YOU, and about Shawn Pelofsky, of course…!

Thirteen years I’ve lived full-time in Puerto Vallarta, and over the course of the last three, we’ve witnessed a tremendous boom as far as performing arts are concerned, in English and Spanish, and in all sorts of genres, from classical music performers to female impersonators. Still, there are some acts that, despite the best intentions on all parts, don’t swim as gracefully as others. And then there are those that simply sink.

I know what you’re thinking. I’m not saying Pelofsky sinks, but I couldn’t help but to wonder why someone with her credentials (you read her homepage four paragraphs ago, right?) can fill Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, or appear in US television networks, for example, and only get a crowd of 25 or-so in Puerto Vallarta during her show. It would seem that we Mexicans get more excited about our comedians when they perform in town in Spanish than our English speaking counterparts with theirs!

I actually asked her that very same question after her show: Why do you keep coming back despite the lackluster attendance? “I love it here,” she answered without batting an eye. “Can’t stop eating tacos.” Well, that answers that, and to each her own. But I did hear through the grapevine that a group that recently performed in Puerto Vallarta wearing very little did not have the reception and box office success they expected, so they may have left Puerto Vallarta in a huff.

  • Is it inaccurate expectations on behalf of the touring artists?
  • Is it insufficient promotion on behalf of the venues?
  • Are the visiting artists joining efforts with the venues promoting their evening gigs during the daytime while they are here with guest appearances, distributing flyers, and so forth?
  • Is it that we are simply not knowledgeable enough about stand-up comedy—in the case of Shawn Pelofsky—to appreciate it and attend?
  • Or is performing in underwear simply less hip in the tropics than anticipated?

To tell you the truth, I have no answers, because I don’t claim to be an expert here. For that matter, I know very little about standup comedy and comedians. But if you are still with me, please allow me to share the things that I found compelling about Shawn Pelofsky in particular, and why you may just want to not miss her show while she’s in town.

A vast memory bank

Yes, comedians must have routines to memorize, I’m sure, but the beauty of standup comedy relies on being able to improvise at any minute and draw on your knowledge of the world around you to connect your humor with a specific audience, on any specific evening. Pelofsky did not waste a single opportunity creating spontaneous humor with and through the audience itself, frequently asking questions about all present.

An amazing memory

Can’t speak about other comedians, but I was amazed how effortlessly Pelofsky remembered the names of people that were in the room, constantly going back to us, and making us feel like we were part of her performance.

A pet pieve

Clearly, Pelofsky has a thing for Canadians in general, and Justin Bieber in particular. And why not? She picked on them, and on Mexicans, gringos, gays, lesbians, and jews, and we loved every minute of it. She is always funny, even thoughtful. She is never mean.

A certain physicality

Most comedians have a gimmick. Pelofsky “stretches it out” for the audiences by striking a unique pose she will probably regret in a few years. Well her knees will, anyway. In the mean time, you will soon be “stretching it out” with her after enjoying her show. I did, although this did not make my knees very happy. What am I talking about? Go see the show.

A good handle on the mic

Combine all the qualities above with the ability to use the microphone. It is, after all, a standup comedian’s connection with the audience, more often than not. To that effect, Pelofsky works the microphone to her advantage, emphasizing moments, creating unique voices (no spoilers here, but between a well-known jewish singer and a not very popular film creature, she had us in stitches!).

Now take all this into account, and deliver it to an audience, standing up, without costume changes, uninterrupted, for 90 minutes. And make them laugh. She did. That’s what standup comedy is about, I guess. I may not know enough about the craft, but I certainly respect hers.

Now in her third season in Puerto Vallarta, Shawn Pelofsky is a ballsy standup comedian, a pioneer along with a few others (Leslie Jordan comes to mind) paving the way for many other standup comedians, hopefully, that will trust Puerto Vallarta as a fine destination to deliver a good laugh or two in the future.

And who couldn’t use a good laugh from time to time?

I love the work of performers that rely on singing, dancing and gender impersonating to get a laugh, I truly do. But I wonder, is there a future in Puerto Vallarta for Pelofsky and other outstanding comedians who don’t rely on anything but their sense of humor and wit? Or should we expect the Jerry Seinfelds of the world to sing and cross dress in order to come to Puerto Vallarta and succeed—no offense to those that do?

I truly hope that she keeps coming back to Puerto Vallarta.

How do we make this happen? Attending.

Do not miss Pelofsky’s show. It is absolutely brilliant. And don’t forget to “stretch it out” with her!


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