Comedian Cristela Alonzo recalls TV executives 'making comments about my boobs' and 'getting handsy'
Comedian Cristela Alonzo’s new memoir, Music to My Years: A Mixtape Memoir of Growing Up and Showing Up, has funny parts, sure, but writing it wasn’t always something she enjoyed, especially when it came to the time she spent on her former sitcom, Cristela, which aired on ABC for one season beginning in 2014. Writing about that was painful, she says.
“I cut so many pages from the chapter about my show, because I wasn’t ready to talk about things that happened,” Alonzo revealed Monday in a BUILD Series interview in New York City. “There’s a part in the chapter where I talk about getting harassed at the network upfronts, where some TV executives started making comments about my boobs and started getting handsy with me. As I was writing it, I found myself stopping a lot.”
Alonzo, the first Latina to create, write, produce and star in her own sitcom, found retelling the story “triggering,” and she didn’t want readers to have the same reaction to her words. She felt too vulnerable.
“I had so many problems with the writing in my show, because my voice ... The show was named after me, but I wasn’t seen as the most important voice in the writers’ room,” Alonzo said. “Good and bad people help shape who you become and they will always be a part of you, but when you give them too much real estate in your mind, it’s just not worth it, because then you realize that they had an effect on you that — for me — I don’t think they’re important enough for the world to know how bad they were. So I refuse to have them exist in print, but I’ll talk about it in person.”
The network did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Alonzo spoke about being sexually harassed in the comedy world in an April 2017 interview with Cosmopolitan.
“When you’re in an industry that’s very male-dominated, you end up finding that there’s moments where someone’s a little too touchy-feely, they come into your boundaries,” Alonzo told the magazine. “I remember years ago, when I started doing stand-up, in Dallas, I was working as the office manager at a comedy club and there were comics that were established, who, when they came to work, they made me feel very uncomfortable. They would come in and hit on me a little too aggressively. Because they were established and known, they felt that they had permission.”
Alonzo will next appear in a drama, the new BBC One series His Dark Materials, premiering Nov. 4 on HBO.
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