Lalo: “I’m usually more of the angry cucaracha”

(photo: Howard Lipin/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Lalo Alcaraz, like many cartoonists, has diversified. He no longer is strictly a pen-on-paper (stylus-on-wacom?) man for editorial cartoons and his La Cucaracha comic strip.

More recently, he’s worked as a cultural consultant on the Pixar film “Coco” and the upcoming animated Nickelodeon show, “The Casagrandes.”

He recently met with The Conversation podcast at The San Diego Union-Tribune to talk about growing up in the San Diego region, what inspires his art, the challenges of publishing an editorial cartoon in the politically charged climate of 2019 and how he’s taken all he’s learned to Hollywood.

Pacific (San Diego) has excerpts from that interview.

On how to create a cartoonist:

“I grew up a kind of typical Mexican border kid. My mom came through Tijuana. She lived there for 10 years in the ‘50s from 1948 to 1958 and then was undocumented for a bit and then got her papers as a nanny in La Mesa. My dad came, I think, through Texas from Zacatecas, Mexico. My mom came from Mazatlán, Sinaloa and they met at Helix High School, the high school I went to, in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class, sometime early 1961 or 1962. Their desire to assimilate and fit in and learn English — it only took my mom 50 years to learn English — got them together and created me.”

On how much of himself he puts in La Cucaracha:

“They’re definitely me. Half of me is angry all the time, wants to tell everyone how they’re wrong constantly, never has an incorrect opinion, and the other half of me just wants to chill and sit on the couch and drink a beer and watch endless hours of crap TV. Preferably science fiction crap. … I’m usually more of the angry cucaracha.”

On his current project:

“I am a consulting producer, cultural consultant and gadfly and freelance writer on this show called “The Casagrandes,” and it’s on Nickelodeon. It’s for ages 6 to11, and it’s the first animated show about a big Mexican-American family. It’s a spin-off from a show called “The Loud House,” which is one of the top shows there at Nickelodeon. The character, Ronnie Anne, is a little Mexican-American girl who was a super popular character on the loud house so they decided to spin that off, move her, her brother and her mom from Royal Woods, this Michigan suburb where “The Loud House” is set, to Great Lakes City, which is like a fake Chicago kind of amalgam of a bunch of cities — to go live with the mom’s family.”

“It is very funny and it’s a good co-viewing show. I watched 10 years of Nickelodeon shows when my kids were little, so if you are that parent, you can watch this show because we sneak in a lot of funny adult things that kind of get by everybody but not the grown ups watching.”

Read the Pacific excerpt and listen to the audio interview.