Al Madrigal goes on a journey of self-discovery… starting with how to pronounce his own name.
In his new one-hour special “Half Like Me,” premiering on Fusion on January 22, The Daily Show’s senior Latino correspondent travels across the U.S. to discover what it means to be half Mexican and half white.
“Being half has always been confusing,” Madrigal says in the preview for the special. “White people think you’re Mexican and Latinos give me shit about not being Latino enough.”
A Fusion press release states that the special came about because Madrigal — who was raised in suburban California, attended a “preppy” high school, and favors American football — felt conflicted when his father recently “gifted” him Mexican citizenship.
In the trailer for “Half Like Me,” the comedian also goes on to say that his life experiences and inability to speak Spanish led many Latinos to describe him as a “coconut.”
“Basically it means I’m brown on the outside, white on the inside,” Madrigal explains in the clip.
The special follows the star on a quest for identity that many Latinos in the U.S. can identify with. The journey takes him from a family reunion in Tijuana and smoking cigars in Little Havana to some Spanish classes with a group of elementary school kids. He discusses the issue of Latino identity with big names in the community such as Univision’s Jorge Ramos, cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz and columnist Gustavo Arellano.
They also poke fun at him for being unable to pronounce his own name. A frustrated Ramos tries to get Madrigal to make the “rr” sounds in Spanish, with no luck.
News of the special was first announced last year in April. At the time, the network said the hourlong program would premiere before November’s midterm elections.
“I’m delighted to carry on in the tradition of the great reporters like Edward R. Murrow, Ernie Pyle, and Geraldo Rivera to probe vitally important issues of the day, starting with whether I’m Hispanic or Latino,” Madrigal said in the April press release.