HBO Max’s Latino social audience initiative, Pa’lante! and creative agency WORD, releases a new episode of ARE YOU LISTENING?, exclusively for Instagram and YouTube titled “We Laugh to Keep From Crying.” Episode two of the 3-part social first series which launched last year, is an intimate discussion between HBO Max comedians, Aida Rodiguez & Ian Lara. Fresh off filming Lara’s first HBO special “Romantic Comedy,” directed by Aida Rodriguez, the friends who have become colleagues discuss their first connections to comedy, making people laugh during the pandemic, managing to stay funny while experiencing grief like deaths in the family and the identity politics in the Latinx comedy space.

We Laugh to Keep from Crying” is being released today in conjunction with Lara’s live comedy special, “Romantic Comedy” which is available to stream on HBO Max. This piece forms part of the digital content series, Are You Listening?, a content and community campaign inspired by the HBO award-winning show “Habla.”

In “We Laugh to Keep From Crying”, we see Ian discuss how he continued to show up on stage after his mothers passing. Aida echoes that sentiment as she discusses the challenges she experienced making people laugh while people were dying during the height of the COVID 19 Pandemic. 

Comedy was just something funny, I didn’t see it as something deeper…It wasn’t until my mom got sick and eventually passed, my life most of the time was such a good fun time with my family – but when she got sick, I still had to work. I was going through the darkest time in my life and I still had to go on stage.” reminisces Ian Lara

Comedians are often seen as mythical creatures who are expected to always be on when in actuality, they are people with emotions and their own traumas. Oftentimes, comedy can be a medium to channel their own inner pain and this can be overlooked in a world that prioritizes mass produced content over people.

I think there’s a lot of pain involved with people who are funny. You either laugh or cry, right? You laugh to not cry. We just know how to mine it into a set but it just becomes a function of what you want to do,” says Aida Rodriguez. 

The comedians also touch on what is allowed to be considered “funny” and how they would like to see the Latinx comedy community advance in terms of representation. The piece is thought provoking, honest and of course, funny.

“At Pa’lante we believe deeply in showcasing the nuances of being human and being Latino,” explains Jessica Vargas, Director of Multicultural Marketing at HBO & HBO Max.“Creating an intimate space where Ian and Aida could be candid about their craft is something we don’t always see for comedians. We’re proud to be their sounding board.”  Stay tuned for more news on HBO Max Pa’lante! & WORD Creative’s ARE YOU LISTENING? coming soon!


Open your account on Paramount+ for free and watch movies and series like The Rookie, Tulsa King, or Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Also you may watch the NFL, NBA y other Soccer Leagues like UEFA.

MORE ABOUT HBO Max Pa’lante!: Are You Listening? Campaign

Inspired by the HBO award-winning series, Habla, Are You Listening? is a digital content series, brought to you by HBO Max Pa’lante!, an initiative that reflects on the topics that matter to the Latino community.

Keep Reading