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Latin History for Morons

Members say: Funny, Entertaining, Clever, Relevant, Thought-provoking
33 reviews
139 reviews

The Public Theater presents Emmy and Obie winner John Leguizamo's latest solo show in which he schools his son—and the rest of us—on the buried history of Latinos in the Americas.

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Inspired by the near total absence of Latinos in his son’s American history class, Leguizamo embarks on a frenzied search to find a Latin hero for his son’s school project. From a mad recap of the Aztec empire to stories of unknown Latin patriots of the Revolutionary War and beyond, Leguizamo breaks down the 3,000 years between the Mayans and Ricky Ricardo into 100 irreverent and uncensored minutes in his trademark style.


Cast & Creatives (7)

Reviews (172)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

The New York Times

"It’s understandable if you mistake the chalky clouds in which Leguizamo moves throughout this harshly funny, surprisingly poignant one-man show for the smoke of firing synapses. Leguizamo is churning up hot waves of improbably connected ideas...As is also Mr. Leguizamo’s wont, he is translating thought into action worthy of an Iron Man competition...The show slyly poses sharp and timely questions of what culturally defines American identity and who has 'the right' to be here." Full Review


“No one tells a story quite like John Leguizamo...Leguizamo's performance has the effect of a firecracker in a closet…At 52, he is as physical as ever…His vocal commitment is just as specific…Tony Taccone directs a tight production that also leaves room for Leguizamo's wit and spontaneity…Even if the history lesson disappoints, Leguizamo's irrepressible energy and supersize personality offer a perfectly satisfying theatrical experience.” Full Review


"It's no secret to theatregoers that the frenetically paced, multi-character solo plays by Obie-winner John Leguizamo have provided far more insight into Latin-American history and culture than can be found in most American school textbooks...Leguizamo's punch lines, potent and hilarious as they may be, have a serious undercurrent that propels director Tony Taccone's production...Leguizamo's reasoning provides a sharp twist on the way heroics might be viewed." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Often digressive and repetitive, the piece spews out information in a haphazard manner...Leguizamo doesn't blend humor and information as successfully as Colin Quinn...But he’s a far more dynamic comedic performer, using energetic body language and vocal inflections to make even his weaker material amusing. Leguizamo is such an engaging presence that he makes 'Latin History for Morons' enjoyable, although you may find yourself impatiently waiting for the classroom bell to sound." Full Review


"It’s never too late to be educated, especially when it’s as entertaining and personal as Leguizamo’s class in culture...Its Leguizamo’s charismatic storytelling gifts about his own family that make it personal, funny and endearing. The lecture would engage the sleepiest of students—or theatergoers. Even when his digressions have digressions, he’s still able to engage his audience—or at least keep the narrative ball in play...Leguizamo is again a whirlwind of energy, temper and wicked charm." Full Review

Time Out New York

"It's heartening to see that Leguizamo hasn't mellowed with middle age...The main takeaway from 'Latin History for Morons' is laughs, not learning...So much information is flying so fast in Leguizamo's cartoon style, it's challenging to digest...The more emotionally engaging narrative is the framing device with his kids...It's often uproariously funny and gleefully irreverent. And yet the show seems to want to impart something more serious than its joke-a-minute structure can support." Full Review

New York Magazine / Vulture

"The family material is certainly more laugh-out-loud than the extermination of the Taino...Even though there’s nothing very surprising about 'Latin History for Morons' a powerful, unlikely theme does start to emerge...Leguizamo’s burden, suggested but not really fulfilled, is to find a way to look at a history of great loss and still be proud...A better version of 'Latin History for Morons' might address those ideas more directly, but this one at least turns them into a good joke." Full Review

New York Theater

"A timely cultural and political critique, suggesting what could become a new direction for the talented performer...The family story is both funny and affecting and it gives something of a structure to the 90-minute piece...At its best, 'Latin History for Morons' lives up to the promise of its title...As if afraid to bore his audience, however, Leguizamo sprinkles the history with jokes. Some of them are smart...Some of them are dumb...Some are a missed opportunity." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“This history is no joking matter, yet Leguizamo, cutting back and forth between it and his domestic problems, lands plenty of laughs even as he makes some mighty stinging points…Leguizamo deftly walks a fine line, one moment giving American history a savage twist, then complaining hilariously about his family…Working with a new director and with an all-new concept, he gives his freshest, funniest performance in years…An often hilarious and ultimately affirmative entertainment.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“Not just a history lesson. It is an homage to heritage, to parenthood, to Leguizamo’s family and specifically to his son. Not bad…Like a treatise being given by a slightly mad professor…The evening concludes, not because Leguizamo has run out of story, but because he has run out of time...The real journey here is not located in the past. It is about pulling the past into the present and dancing to the tune of the Leguizamo Family Orchestra.” Full Review

The Huffington Post

"John Leguizamo’s latest one-man show fails because its structure is especially weak, betraying a story that didn’t burn to be told...The personal spine of the show feels particularly slight, just an excuse for Leguizamo to offer up some highlights from Latin history...It’s all so shapeless that everything begins to feel like an interruption of everything else...History most certainly does not come alive here. But what’s surprising is that neither does Leguizamo." Full Review

AM New York

"This is not a dry recitation of a bullet-point outline. Leguizamo is passionately ranting and raving, bouncing around, doing dance steps and deploying his comic arsenal as he speeds through the centuries...The show (directed by Tony Taccone) may benefit from further development, especially to its messy structure and sentimental ending, but it makes for one hell of an effective and enjoyable history lesson." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"It's a compelling idea, and one that would seem an ideal match for the creativity Leguizamo brings to all his pieces. But this time, he has trouble aligning craft and content. His impersonations only have clarity and affection when they're for his family members, whereas the few historical people have the whiff of tired caricature...The cumulative effect is somewhat depressing, and you may not come away with a drastically improved opinion of the role Latinos have played in our own evolution." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"Seriously entertaining and thought-provoking...Leguizamo is like the Energizer Bunny that breaks into some cool and high-powered Latin dance moves. He manages to create an important discussions on race and intolerance, while discussing it as comedic theatre. Leguizamo’s brilliance has come a long way. Tony Taccone directs this piece with panache and flair." Full Review


“Precisely what it sounds like…Leguizamo interweaves his own story with a hilarious retelling of the advances and destruction of the Aztec, Maya and Inca civilizations, the arrival of the ‘conquistadors’ and the rise of modern Latin culture. There are visual aids, many jokes and a sober mission at work. If you want the condensed version, listen to Randy Newman’s ‘The Great Nations Of Europe.’ But Leguizamo, an incomparable mimic and storyteller, is always great company.” Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"A lesson...we all need to hear, and it couldn’t be delivered as funny with such a big dose of heart by anyone else but this incomparable performer...This wild man history teacher persona crafted by Leguizamo sometimes lets the historical details get a bit lost in his energetic storytelling...The core story is both achingly personal and relatable, with varying degrees of warmth and simplicity. Sometimes it feels a tad on the light side and unfocused, but the personal drive is always present." Full Review


"In 95 delightful, subversively serious minutes, he actually does teach centuries of history that never made it to the school books. He also reminds us that learning something — even (or especially) something tragic — can be a joy, and that the theater has missed him a lot...Leguizamo still has a nonstop mambo mouth, the energy of an eighth-grader and a curiosity that careens around director Tony Taccone’s tight yet friendly production with equal parts irreverence and sweetness." Full Review

The Wrap

"You will find 'Latin History' both informative and hysterically funny in the way Leguizamo takes a subject, whether it be a mother’s funky leftovers or a nation’s mass genocide, and turns our perceptions inside out...The only forced moments come when Leguizamo makes the occasional visit to his psychiatrist. This guy sees a shrink? Otherwise, 'Latin History for Morons' is the most fun you’ll have in a classroom since 'Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You.'" Full Review

Bob's Theater Blog

"He is still a consummate entertainer who owns the audience. Marriage and fatherhood may have mellowed him a bit, but he still ventures into X-rated territory...It’s a loose structure that gives Leguizamo plenty of opportunity for hilarious impersonations and dance moves...At its best, it’s very entertaining, but it occasionally sags and becomes repetitive. Nevertheless, it’s always a pleasure to see Leguizamo at work." Full Review


"Sometimes repetitive, mostly riotous effort...Leguizamo’s one-liners usually hit their mark...I’m not sure the device is necessary for his points to be made, but it does serve up an opportunity for the Queens native to deliver a treasure trove of impersonations...Leguizamo expertly establishes a rapport with his audience, and by night’s end we have no compunction about interacting with him, at the very least making the event feel like one of your better experiences in a college lecture hall." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"The Public Theater is getting a shake-up currently with John Leguizamo lecturing, classroom-style, to us–morons that we are–about Latino history...In his own inimitable raunchy, high-energy style, peppered with lots of profanity, Leguizamo, now 52, is definitely a charmer as he blends family, personal stories and his own historical overview into many a laugh. I’m afraid, however, you’ll have to do a lot of your own research to figure out where truth or fiction lie." Full Review


"Weaving together stand-up comedy, oral storytelling and pointed social commentary, and adopting any number of personas in each show, Leguizamo creates experiences that are unlike anything else in contemporary theater...Always capable of digging deep into and explicating his own knotty emotions, he's never been as palpably tender as he is here...While he's always taken on Latin stereotypes and identity politics, his jabs now are subtler, even as they cut much deeper." Full Review

The Washington Post

"The only misgiving you’ll harbor about John Leguizamo’s foray into comic academia is that you can’t enroll for a whole semester...The wit and wisdom of Leguizamo, sprinkled over such diverse topics as how the Aztecs were vanquished by the conquistadors and why Leguizamo’s teenage son and daughter find him totally mortifying, have the kind of buoyant payoffs that would easily justify retaking the class...Expertly directed by Tony Taccone." Full Review


"There is no question that Leguizamo, under the direction of Tony Taccone, loves to perform and loves himself as a performer—a not-too-feeble posture to take when doing a solo show. I did carry away from this alternately scathing and scholarly seminar the revived sorrow that must be shared by all immigrated Americans...If you asked me whether I learned a lot from this overly long and also capriciously foul-mouthed 100 minute discourse, I would have to say no." Full Review


“Guaranteed to please even the most politically incorrect among us, ‘mambo-mouth’ is back at full velocity and pitch, in the person of John Leguizamo, this time in the guise of an instructor offering us a ‘Latin History for Morons’ class. Though his hair is longer and more frizzy than ever, and he's aged noticeably and considerably since his last theatrical outing, Leguizamo has every ounce of energy he ever displayed before as he unloads his ‘ghetto rage,’ while ostensibly teaching a class.” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you'd enjoy fast-paced, funny, self-deprecating humor with a history lesson thrown in. Leguizamo is a human tornado

Don't see it if you dislike one-man shows in general, Leguizamo in particular, or jokes about ethnicity (everyone is fair game here)

Intelligent, Great writing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a very funny, smart and relatable show. John Leguizamo maintains a strong point of view, while being thoroughly entertaining

Don't see it if you don't like one man shows. Warning: side seats of the 3/4 thrust stage have partial view. A director & set issue- black board obstruction

Funny, Edgy, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You enjoy biting, relevant, comedy spun by a masterful actor/commentator.

Don't see it if If you're a Trump supporter, hate left-leaning political/social commentary/comedy and have no interest in Latin history.

Funny, Clever, Entertaining

See it if John Leguizamo is a human dynamo! He gives us history lessons/stand up comedy/and killer dance moves! His show was funny, relevant and cool

Don't see it if you take yourself too seriously

Also John Leguizamo is hilarious, and energetic, but he also shows us vulne... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if You like John Leguizamo's solo shows. Everything in show is from his personal life Lots to learn about Latin history & impact on world.

Don't see it if You don't care to see John Leguizamo on stage solo.

Funny, Edgy, Raunchy, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy John L and his style of humor. His imitations of various characters are mostly hilarious; dancing fun to watch, jokes funny.

Don't see it if you don't like equal opportunity put downs of various ethnicities; you are easily offended by raunchy language; not a "deep" show.

Also We thoroughly enjoyed this show, despite some flaws. If you like this ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Hilarious

See it if You enjoy one man shows and want to see a master of comedic acting, all while learning about the importance of point of view in history

Don't see it if You aren't a fan of Mr Leguizamo, or prefer big scale productions

Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if you like comedies

Don't see it if you don't like comedies

Funny, Edgy, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if You are a fan and are prepared for an edgy - but still slightly subdued performance

Don't see it if You don't enjoy one man shows or raunchy humor

Also Hard to tell if it was just the day I saw it - but JL seemed slightly ... Read more Read less

Funny, Edgy, Great acting, Refreshing, Relevant

See it if The one & only Leguizamo is back where he belongs - LIVE! Still hyper-active & thankfully non-PC, his Latin "history" is funny & deeply felt

Don't see it if Despite Taccone's fluid direction, show's a little too long & loses momentum and information overload dulls impact but John's heart is full

Funny, Clever, Resonant, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy solo shows; JL is a brilliant performer & hasn't done a show in a while. He is always deeply funny and a brilliant mimic.

Don't see it if the frame of the show doesn't always work, and the material feels artificially inserted. it's political but not especially radical.

Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Quirky, Relevant

See it if you're a Leguizamo fan, enjoy quirky relevant comedy, can relate to being a father to teens, want to learn more about the latin experience

Don't see it if Leguizamo is not your cup of tea, you don't like stand-up comedy, can't relate to the Latino experience in the USA, are a bigot

Funny, Delightful, Thought-provoking, Hilarious

See it if You like one man shows, or you like John Leguizamo. It's an interesting topic, but can't be covered completely in this short a time.

Don't see it if You don't like one man shows, or want something more staged, or don't want periods where you'll laugh out loud.

Funny, Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You like John Leguizamo and/or want to learn some history. The show is very entertaining. You'll learn a lot too.

Don't see it if You don't like one man shows or you prefer big Broadway shows. However this is an entertaining and educational show. It's worth seeing.

Funny, Relevant, Resonant, Cliched, Entertaining

See it if you like the Leguzamo one handers. Often his material showcases sharp wit while teaching a fairly whitewashed audience much needed history.

Don't see it if watching great wit get mired in trite & easy stereotypes will undo the less base material.

Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if Learned more than I expected and laughed so much. Always loved johns humor!!!

Don't see it if You don't want to expand your mind

Must see, Raunchy, Relevant, Great writing, Hilarious

See it if Your a fan of john Leguizamo and want to laugh

Don't see it if You have no sense of humor or one man shows

Funny, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a funny and entertaining show that teaches. Leguizamo is brilliant. I'm not a fan of 1 person shows but this one rocks.

Don't see it if you don't want to think when you see a show. Or want to see Hamliton.

Funny, Clever, Edgy

See it if You want to laugh a lot and learn about latino History.

Don't see it if You are offended by obscenity.

Funny, Clever, Refreshing, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if You are a fan of John Leguizamo, as I am, and you want to see a whirlwind performance by a unique talent.

Don't see it if You don't care for one-person shows, or don't enjoy watching comedy.

Funny, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a hysterical one-man show that touches upon some prejudices in our society and a sweet father-son relationship.

Don't see it if You don't care about broadening your knowledge of Latino culture.

Funny, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you like one-person shows. He is entertaining throughout with great energy and a specific perspective.

Don't see it if Read the reviews and decide

Clever, Relevant, Resonant, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you like your theater really funny with a dash of history and politics on the side. John Leguizamo is simply the best - fab performance

Don't see it if you don't like one man shows, have no sense of humor or you don't like theater that gets in your face with social issues.

Funny, Ambitious, Relevant, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you have a hankering to learn the history of Latinxs in North and South America but also don't want to be bored while doing so.

Don't see it if you are easily offended by adult language or conversations that are (rightfully) critical of some races.

Funny, Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Leguizamo-esque

See it if you want to experience a hilarious & poignant showcase of John Leguizamo demonstrating his mastery of his particular craft.

Don't see it if you're not a Leguizamo fan; if you know lots about &/or have strong feelings about the historiography of Latinx Americas