Jai Rodriguez Up Close and Personal for 2018 at Act 2 Entertainment

jai rodriguez

by GayPV. Photography: Adam Bouska

It is great to have you back in PV for your shows this season at Act 2. Can you tell us about your last time performing in Puerto Vallarta?

Last time I performed in PV was 2 seasons ago. It was my second time back and I had a much better understanding of what makes a great show. From promotion to set list my second year really helped me grasp the kind of show that works well in PV. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do last season as I was headlining in Vegas at the Paris Hotel in SEX TIPS FOR STRAIGHT WOMEN FROM A GAY MAN. Which currently is the longest running off broadway comedy in NYC. I was thrilled to be asked to open the Vegas version which instantly became a hit for the Vegas strip.

Last we spoke you were promoting your film Kiss Me Kill Me and your role on Grace and Frankie. It seems you’ve been really busy since then. In case our readers missed it, what have you been on since we last saw you in PV?”

Yea I have been VERY busy with work thank God. When I came home from PV I was excited my episode of Grey’s Anatomy aired which I’d shot not long before arriving in PV. Was fun to be a part of such an iconic and long running series. After that I was cast on Ryan Hanson Solves Real Crimes opposite Orange is the New Black star Samira Wiley, Then Showtime networks DICE opposite Andrew Dice Clay, then recurring on the new CBS drama Wisdom of the Crowd opposite Parenthood star Monica Potter. Was fun playing a chief of staff for a politician. I’d long admired Monicas work in the hit TV series Parenthood and was a dream come true to go head to head with her on screen. While I was shooting Wisdom I was commuting back and forth to Las Vegas where I was headlining at The Paris Hotel. This past spring I was a guest star on the FOX drama The Resident where I played a straight male escort with a heart of gold who (while fleeing from his clients husband runs through a plate glass window leaving him fearful he will lose his looks. Was a really fun and VERY different role for me. I’ve also hosted Access Hollywood several times this spring. Currently I’m in preproduction for season 4 of the hit Netflix drama Eastsiders for which I’ll be staring on and helping produce. Last season the show was nominated for 4 day time EMMYS. The biggest change in my life is launching a new LGBTQ radio station October 8th on 97.1 HD2 here in LA (radio.com from anywhere else). I’ve long wanted to have my OWN talk radio show and now I do. It’s really surreal. The only thing I’m not looking forward to are the early mornings. I’ll likely have to be up daily at 5am!

What is your goal as yet not achieved in your career?

I’ve kind of done it all to be honest. A few bucket list items are my own one man show on Broadway in the style of John Leguzamo or Lily Tomlin. I’d also very much like to have my own Multicam sitcom.

What do you think about the new reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?

Ahhhhhhh. The #1 question I get from everyone EVERYWHERE. For this you’ll have to come see my show!

Are there any similarities to you and Karamo Brown the new culture expert on the reboot version?
Outside of being 2 queer men of color I would say no. I was 23 years old when I began shooting QE he is 37. He comes at the role more like a life coach which I LOVE. Although I had elements of that when I did QE, at 24 it may have been odd to be speaking to men in their 40’s about things I’d yet to experience. I love the legacy I left behind with QE and the many people our version of the show impacted.

What can your fans expect this season if they saw your show last year at ACT 2?

I am NOT holding back! Of course you’ll get the power house vocals yo’d expect from a singer like myself BUT I’m also at the age where I’m spilling TONS of behind the scenes secrets of my over 20 years working as a professional actor. I’m REALLY excited for what I have planned! As always I take audience questions which will be in a bowl on stage. During select moments of the show I reach in and answer them. The audience may ask ANYTHING they would like. NOTHING is of limits. However I always ask them to write their name and where they’re from should the question require me embarrassing them for asking lol

We know you are a huge HIV activist focusing on awareness and education in the Latin community. PV’s LGBT community center SETAC in July 2018 started the free PREP program. What do you think about this? What is new on your community awareness and involvement programs?

Thank you so much for including this. HIV advocacy had been my calling ever since my aunt and cousin passing from AIDS in 1996. Two years later I was staring on Broadway playing a pos character for 5 years in RENT. I thought we’d come a long way in terms of lowering infection rates, and in many ways we have. However there has been a steady spike in new infections within the Latinx and African American communities. Mainly because of the cultural stigma attached to being attracted to the same sex. I’m really focused on fighting the social stigma around the disease as well as making sure people know there are options to stay negative like PREP and safer sex practices as well as making sure my positive friends stick to their medical regimen so they don’t develop a resistance to their meds by missing doses.

Between being a actor and a singer/performer which do you enjoy the most and why?

So when you see my show you’ll get a bit of both. I feel like singing IS acting. I want you to feel the emotions that the song is trying to evoke. That could be comedy or something deeply emotional. I like to paint with all the colors in my box.

Tell us about your new morning show and what you are going to cover on it?

OMG I have my very first meeting today and I’m equal parts excited and nervous. It’s a LOT of pressure. I’m a funny guy so I know it’ll be hilarious but I’m also hoping we can tackle topics that are hard for our community to unpack. My goal is to provide entertainment that has a little something for everyone with an open mind and heart!



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