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Rudy Moreno, popular Latino comedian who helped the careers of others, dies at 66

A bearded man in a burgundy shirt holding a microphone.
Comedian Rudy Moreno, performing at the Ice House Comedy Club on Sept. 7, 2019, in Pasadena, died Friday at 66.
(Michael S. Schwartz / Getty Images)
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Rudy Moreno, a popular comedian who was often referred to by fans and colleagues as “the Godfather of Latino comedy,” has died. He was 66.

Moreno died Friday at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena from complications due to a stroke and sepsis, his son Nathan said Sunday.

Born July 24, 1957, and raised in Lincoln Heights, Moreno was a frequent performer at the Ice House comedy club in Pasadena, and hosted shows titled “Rudy Moreno and Friends” that would feature other comics. He also worked at top comedy clubs around the country, and opened for Smokey Robinson, the Black Eyed Peas and other acts.

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“My heart is truly broken,” actor-comedian Ken Jeong posted on X,” noting that Moreno was the first person to book him at the Ice House.

“In fact, the first time my wife ever saw me do standup was at the Ice House on Rudy’s show,” wrote Jeong. “All this ultimately led to me doing my Netflix special at the Ice House, thanks to Rudy Moreno constantly supporting me and letting me get stage time on all of his shows. There are countless comedians who owe their start to this man. And he was hilarious, the consummate comedian.”

Under its new owner, Johnny Buss, and general manager Penny Toler, the 63-year-old Pasadena comedy club tries to revamp without losing its soul.

Feb. 16, 2023

A biography for the comedian said that he got his start in show business in 1991 when he was approached by Rudy Salas, the leader of the rock group Tierra, who asked him to open for the band.

“He said that I was so funny that I should be a comedian and if I wanted to, he would help me and let me open for the band,” said Moreno.

After seeing Moreno perform, television producer Jeff Valdez booked him for “Comedy Compadres,” which showcased Latino comics.

During his career, he appeared on numerous TV series, including “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Criminal Minds” and “Arrested Development.” In 2022, he appeared in the Mark Wahlberg film “Father Stu.”

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In addition to being an accomplished guitar player, Moreno and his family created Komics for Kids, an event designed to assist inner-city children.

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