Raymond Orta did his first talent show when he was a third grader and has been doing them ever since. Now, Orta will be auditioning for the biggest talent show of his life as he is one of 200 people who have been invited to audition for NBC's Last Comic Standing.
When he was 15, he entered the talent show at his high school in La Joya and when he won the $100 prize he realized something.
"I was real excited because I had never gotten money for being funny," Orta said. "I'm pretty consistent on being funny and if I could do this a lot I could get paid $100 every time I did a talent show."?But Orta admits that at that point he wasn't looking at the bigger picture where he could actually take it to the next level and become a comedian.
"I figured out I could do it at bars and people were paying me $50 an hour when I first started," Orta said. "I was 16 years old and I wasn't even allowed to be in those bars."
When Orta was 20, he missed his chance to audition for Last Comic Standing because of a career move he thought might be a "cool gig."
"There was an auditon that was being held in San Antonio for the show but they needed someone on the radio," Orta explained. "I thought it would be a cool gig so I took it. That was the last season that they had Last Comic Standing, but when I heard they were going to do it again I told myself, 'I have to audition this time or I'm going to be kicking myself for the rest of my life.'"
One of the hardest things Orta has had to overcome is to get his routine down to the two minutes that are allowed to audition. He has over two hours of material and not only does it have to be two minutes, it has to be rated G.
"It really makes you appreciate the art of comedy," said Orta of his challenge. "Because if you can make something that is not dirty or naughty and have your own twist on it and make it funny I think you've accomplished something."
Orta's big day comes next week when he leaves for New York City to audition for the show. If he makes the first cut he'll be performing at Gotham Comedy Club on March 21 and 22.
"If you make it you get a week to come back and get your stuff and then you go to Los Angeles," Orta said. "My ultimate goal is to put the Valley on the map."