Rising star comedian Ralph Barbosa sells out 6 Dallas shows for Netflix special
A Dallas comedian who's a rising star has landed his own NetFlix special: Ralph Barbosa, whose laid-back yet hilarious style has won him multiple awards and national TV appearances, is playing six sold-out shows this week at the Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff, where the special is being filmed.
The first two shows were on August 2, and the run ends on August 4.
Barbosa was the 2019 winner of the Funniest Comic in Texas competition, and the 2021 winner of the New York Latino Film Festival Stand-Up. His shows sell out at comedy clubs across the U.S.
His "Don’t Tell Comedy" set on YouTube, showcasing his delightfully droll delivery, has surpassed 4.4 million views. He's appeared on Comedy Central, HBO (HBO Max’s special "Entre Nos: The Winners 3," directed by Latina comic Aida Rodriguez), and made his late-night debut on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon in January 2023.
"Young Texas boy made it to the Tonight show," he posted on Instagram with a photo of himself on stage, and in June, he opened for Dave Chappelle at American Airlines Center.
(He also got an unintentional boost thanks to comedian George Lopez, who inadvertently helped elevate his profile further in February by stating on a podcast that no one had heard of him — a comment for which Lopez has since apologized.)
Barbosa, who graduated from Mesquite High School and currently resides in Oak Cliff, deliberately chose the Kessler as the site for the Netflix taping.
Kessler Theater artistic director and talent buyer Jeff Liles describes Barbosa as "awesome, really different. Not a typical set-up/punchline guy."
"Ralph was a barber at the shop right across the street from the theater," Liles says. "When he got the deal to do the Netflix special, he wanted to do it here in his neighborhood. He has even done a couple of pop-up shows at the barber shop."
Kessler booking agent Curtis McCary originally slotted Barbosa in for two nights, but had to keep adding more shows, because all the shows kept selling out.
"When his tickets went on sale for this Netflix night, both shows sold out in less than an hour," Liles says. "Then we added another two shows the night before, and they both sold quick, too. So we added two more the night before that, and they also sold out in an hour, too."
Liles says they've never seen anything like it, and it's not like the Kessler has not hosted comedy shows.
"It's actually a great room for comedy," Liles says. "In the past we’ve done shows with Sandra Bernhard, Tig Notaro, Pete Holmes, the Broad City girls, Amy Sedaris, John Waters, Elayne Boosler, Harland Williams, Paul Varghese and Linda Stogner."
"But in 13 years, no performer has ever sold out six shows in a row here. It's insane," he says.
NetFlix has a big commitment to comedy including a series dedicated to Latin stand-up comedy. When they film a special, they typically film a few nights at the same venue so they can choose the best reaction shots.
A few words from Ralph Barbosa on social media:
"I'm not very big on the whole social media thing. People don't do strange things on there often, but sometimes they get a little too social and I'm out. I'll pull the plug on Instagram. And it'll be normal stuff, but it'll just be a little too weird for me. Like this guy messages me and says, 'Hey man I saw you posted some pizza and I wanted to ask you where'd you get that pizza at.' I didn't say anything right away, so he sent a follow-up message. He was like, 'Hey man, I hope you're not planning on ignoring me.' I was like, 'I wasn't, but ...now that you sent the creepiest message, I'm deleting my Instagram.'"