Gwen La Roka
Since first taking the comedy scene by storm in 2009, Gwen La Rŏka, pronounced [rok-uh], is proving to be one of Chicago's fastest up and coming comediennes. Her recent appearance on Chicago's ABC Channel 7's Emmy-Award winning show "Ñ Beat" is just one of the growing list of high profile coverage that is a testament to her laughter stimulating talent. A Jacqueline of all trades, Gwen's past stint with UIC's "The Vagina Monologues", Teatro Luna's ravely reviewed "Machos", and improv training at Second City Theatre has given her a grasp on acting, which she seamlessly combines to create her highly energetic comedy routine that keeps crowds laughing. Never forgetting her cultural roots and the need to relate to an audience, she incorporates real life experiences from her escapades of growing up in a Latin household to her struggles of being a skinny girl in the Windy City.
Gwen's commitment to grassroots activism and social justice has inspired her to be a comedic voice to many marginalized communities. Her devotion to various grassroots projects has made her a highly requested and in demand comedian/host for numerous events and fundraisers aimed at helping local organizations, charities, shelters, and services for the oppressed and underprivileged communities. Similarly, audiences enjoy her often quirky, real, yet clean viewpoint when raising awareness on important issues such as body image, sexual identity and even medical topics such as her scoliosis diagnoses.
In 2010, Gwen claimed 1st place in Mikey O's Annual "Last Loco Standing" comedy competition, making her the first female to win the title. Gwen also appeared in the TBS Just for Laughs Festival as part of "El Show Latino" in 2011, and on Chicago's ABC Channel 7's show "N Beat" in 2012, She was also featured as a part of The Queer Queens of Qomedy Show alongside widely known Poppy Champlin (Logo TV) Sandra Valls (The Original Latin Divas of Comedy) and Vicky Shaw. Gwen has shared the stage with some of comedy's most loved and respected comics such as George Wallace, Finesse Mitchell (SNL), Patti Vasquez (TBS), Rudy Moreno (NBC, Lopez Tonight Show), Shayla Rivera (Comedy Central), Edwin San Juan (Comedy Central, BET), Carmen Lynch (Comedy Central, NBC), Elizardi Castro (Made in Puerto Rico), and Frank Lucero (Latin Kings of Comedy). Gwen also repeatedly appears as one of Chicago's "Comadres of Comedy", alongside Ana Belaval (WGN News).
Gwen's honest comedic approach, meshed with her physical humor, enables her to bring together diverse crowds from all ethnic backgrounds in solidarity, reminding us that we are all one in the same. Gwen La Roka; she is real, she is funny - she is real funny!