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Rojo Perez '07 performing at a comedy show.

Just for Laughs

Jul 13, 2023

 Rojo Perez ’07 is a New York-based comedian who has spent years making people laugh. 

Originally from San Sebastian, Puerto Rico he moved to Florida to attend Florida Southern College where he majored in communication and minored in Spanish. 

“The campus wasn't the eye candy it is today, but it had a nice feel to it,” said Perez, who noted that he chose Florida Southern because he needed a smaller college to keep him focused. “I felt comfortable in the space.” 

Perez said he always wanted to be a sports reporter, so his communications major felt like a “no-brainer” at the time. 

“Dr. Vicky Wuertz was very instrumental in my years at Southern,” he said. “From freshman speech and public speaking class, to being my faculty advisor, every class I had with her there was something I was able to take with me as an adult. The journalism classes with Dr. Mike Trice, a.k.a. T-Money, helped me understand how to be concise with my writing; that directly translated to stand-up comedy. The few acting classes I took taught me how to negotiate.” 

Dr. Mike Trice, an associate professor of communication at FSC, recalled when he first met Perez. 

"I met Rojo in my first year at Florida Southern. In general, I don’t take myself too seriously and neither did Rojo, so we got along well. By that second semester, he and a classmate had given me a nickname, T-Money, which was such a departure from who I am that it was our own inside joke,” Dr. Trice said. 

“The fact that he is so successful today doesn’t surprise me. I saw his work ethic and his creativity. From what I know of it, a career in comedy is a grind, and I can see Rojo putting in the work and then taking advantage of opportunities as they arise. Rojo would have been successful in a number of career paths, but I think it is fantastic that he is successful making people laugh.” 

Perez has been a fan of comedy for most of his life and grew up watching stand-up. 

“After my parents went to bed, I'd sneak back into the living room to watch this show called "Comic View," he said. “I remember just laughing, trying not to be loud to avoid getting yelled at.” 

Rojo Perez

Perez has been in the comedy business for 16 years. He began performing stand-up at age 20 in clubs and small cafés. The first time he got on stage was at Coconuts, a comedy club in Clearwater. Jordan Stout, his comedy partner from FSC, also performed. 

Perez said his performance was terrible. Stout, on the other hand, won $50 for his performance. 

“It was the quietest car ride back to campus I had ever gone on,” Perez remembered. “He didn't want to be a pain, but he couldn't stop smiling and I was heated.” 

Perez would eventually succeed at winning audiences over. He was selected as a “StandUp NBC” finalist in 2016. He has participated in numerous comedy festivals and performed at top comedy clubs across the country. 

In August 2017, Perez made his late-night stand-up debut on the television show "Conan." In April 2019, he participated in an HBO special titled “Entre Nos: Spot On,” and in 2021, he made his network debut on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Perez was also featured in Comedy Central’s “Tight Five,” and served as a writer on Netflix’s “Drink Masters.” 

Since moving to New York City, he has been a cast member on MTV's “Decoded,” was featured on Comedy Central's “Funny 'Cause It's True,” on TruTV's “Comedy Knockout,” and Univision's “FLAMA.” 

Rojo Perez

Perez cautions students to make sure they know why they choose their major. 

“Find something you actually have interest in because at the end of the day, this is your journey,” he said. “As you get older the support system tends to shrink because now you are an ‘adult’ and can fend for yourself, so if what you end up studying isn't truly enjoyable to you, no one will push you to grow in that field.” 

Perez also advises students to explore their academic and career options. 

“Don't be scared if you don't know what you want; use your electives with a purpose,” he said. “Try different classes at Southern. Get out of your comfort zone. Learn how to be okay with being uncomfortable. Why not try some different lanes? We don't just buy the first ‘fit’ we see; we try them on. Why would you be pickier about your clothes than your future? Try stuff on.” 

Rojo Perez will appear on the Netflix show "Survival of The Thickest" that premieres July 13. His debut album “Words” is streaming now on all platforms. His set, "Entre Nos: Spot On" is on HBO. 

Some of Perez’s material is intended for mature audiences only.