“Rodrigo Quintez,” the web series about a sloppy male children’s entertainer who wears a dirty pink rabbit costume, speaks in a bad Latino accent and kinda hates kids, has scored 2,000 and counting YouTube views since debuting last week.
That’s great news for Kenneth Yoder, the Chicago filmmaker/director who created and stars in it, although growing analytics would not matter to an oblivious guy like Rodrigo Quintez. And that’s part of his charm.
“Rodrigo Quintez is not trying to put out good entertainment,” Yoder explains, “he’s just trying to strong arm people into enjoying his act.”
Yoder should know. Rodrigo Quintez has been his alter-ego since the mid-2000s, when he bartended at an upscale Chicago restaurant and worked with a Cuban American food runner, who said things like, “Hey, Kenneth, mon, check out the girl in table four: I think she wants to have my baby.”
He was so amused by his coworker’s behavior that he occasionally adapted it for kicks. “I used to do it for Halloween,” he says, “the name, the ‘quality entertainter,’ the whole thing.”
At the same time, Yoder was honing his skill at the Annoyance Theater and Second City, where he still frequently takes classes “to keep my finger on the pulse of up-and-coming improvisers.”
As the personality took on a life of its own, it became clear that Rodrigo Quintez was much more than a party joke. Cinematographer Dan Fischer, whom Yoder met on the set of “Derailed,” where they were both PAs, “pretty much forced me to make the series.”
Yoder and Fischer went after the type of humor normally found in animated shows like “South Park,” except they filmed on location with real people. PJ Fishwick and Sara Martin produced. The Whitehouse edited. PR handled casting.
They call the results, “wildly inappropriate.”
In the first episode, Rodriquez allows kids to cuss, offers no adult supervision and disregards the innocence of youth with gusto that borders on contempt. The second episode is titled, “Retardeler.”
The raunchiness comes as no surprise to Yoder, the son of a Nebraska pool hall owner who “got a bunch of attention because he was a really small guy” and, at the same time, “was a huge character.”
Yoder came to Chicago in 2011 with an engineering degree from the University of Nebraska but dropped the straight career when he realized that “guys like Mike Meyer actually went to iO.”
“Get out there and make comedy that makes you have fun,” he says. “If you’re not having fun, then you’re the dick.”
In real life, Yoder directs for Quriosity Productions and earlier freelanced as a director for studios like the Onion Media Labs.