Rick Najera

Award-Winning Speaker-Writer-Director-Author-Comedian

NAHREP taps Rick Najera as Director of New Media and Entertainment

Rick Najera Joins NAHREP in 2015 as National Speaker

Rick Najera Joins NAHREP in 2015 as National Speaker

The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), the largest minority real estate trade association in America, announced today that celebrated writer, director, actor and author Rick Najera has been named to the newly created position of director of new media and entertainment for the association. Najera will immediately begin work assisting the organization to develop a national touring division that will include live performances of the association’s highly acclaimed theatrical keynote, “53 Million & One” and his own live production, “Almost White,” based on his fourth and newly-released, award-winning memoire.

“NAHREP has been leveraging creative mediums such as theater and video to disseminate its core messages of sustainable homeownership and economic empowerment,” said NAHREP co-founder and CEO Gary Acosta. “Rick Najera brings unparalleled talent and experience to the organization. His contributions will vastly elevate the quality and relevance of our communications moving forward.”

In 2014, the International Latino Book Awards recognized Najera’s book, “Almost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood,” as the year’s most inspirational non-fiction book. He has directed CBS’s Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase for 10 consecutive years and is a regular contributor to NPRS’s radio show, “Tell Me More.” In 2005, Najera wrote and starred in the play “Latinologues” when it completed a successful 93-show run on Broadway. He has been a featured speaker addressing diversity in the U.S. for the most prestigious companies, organizations, and universities including Google, the World Bank, Stanford University, Harvard University among others.

“One of my passions has always been to provide guidance and opportunity for other Latinos,” said Najera. “NAHREP has a powerful impact in the lives and careers of Latinos in all walks of life, including some of the most impressive Latino business people in the country. I am excited to be a part of this exceptional organization.”

Rick Najera Featured on CBS News, Directing 2015 Sketch Comedy Showcase

Rick Najera, Director of the Annual CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase, the most robust and sought-after showcase of talent in the industry, was featured on the CBS News Eye on Entertainment segment on Wednesday, January 21, 2015.

The 2015 CBS Showcase marks Najera’s 10 year anniversary directing the show.


Rick Najera, Director of CBS Diversity's Sketch Comedy Showcase

Rick Najera, Director of CBS Diversity’s Sketch Comedy Showcase

Rick Najera Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary Directing CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Show

On Tuesday, January 20, 2015, after the last sketch of the evening show was performed, the audience flew to their feet with a standing ovation at the El Portal Theatre in NoHo. This is the goal for each show directed by Rick Najera, a standing ovation. The audience claps to the finale, fresh off an hour’s worth of this pure laugh-out-loud comedy ride.

Najera and Co. are featured in this week’s Variety article on CBS’s Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase, where the spotlight is on the talent he directs for nearly four months.

Thursday, January 22 is the last day for the 2015 performances (1pm and 7pm showtimes).

2015 CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase  directed by Rick Najera

2015 CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase directed by Rick Najera

CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Show, 2015

Photo by Variety; CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Show, 2015

2015 CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase  directed by Rick Najera

2015 CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase directed by Rick Najera

2015 CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase  directed by Rick Najera

2015 CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase directed by Rick Najera


Rick Najera to Direct CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE For 10th Consecutive Year

LOS ANGELES – (October 30, 2014) Award-winning film and television screenwriter, director, author and comedian, Rick Najera will direct THE CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE for the 10th consecutive year.

Writer-Director-Author Rick Najera

Writer-Director-Author Rick Najera

Each year, more than 4,000 talented and diverse actors audition for THE CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE.  20 standout performers are selected, and placed under the direction of Rick Najera and CBS’ production team, consisting of Fern Orenstein, Senior Vice President of Casting; Josie Thomas, Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer; Peter Golden, Executive Vice President, Talent and Casting and Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, Vice President, Diversity and Communications. Since its conception, ten years ago, THE CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE has developed into a hybrid comedy show with Broadway-worth live performances and original, creative writing.

“Rick is an amazing director and an invaluable asset to the CBS Diversity Talent Showcase team,” said Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i. “Rick brings immense levels of passion, energy and expertise.  This program would not be as successful without his efforts.”

THE CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE highlights the talents of generally underrepresented ethnic groups such as Latinos, African Americans, Asian American/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans with extensive sketch comedy experience.  Additionally, actors with disabilities or LGBT actors of any ethnicity are cast and given the opportunity to play roles that point out the entertainment industry’s biases through satire and parody. Najera, an expert in entertainment diversity and author of award-winning book, “Almost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood,” works and mentors the most diverse talent pool in the industry.

Najera was first asked to direct the show in 2005 on the heels of completing a run on Broadway with his stage comedy, Latinologues.  He was the task and opportunity to shape the talents of a group of up-and-coming multicultural actors and put on an industry wide performance that brought attention to diverse talent. Najera agreed and a new standard of industry showcases was born.

Rick Najera Directs CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE for 10th Consecutive Year 2014/2015

Rick Najera Directs CBS DIVERSITY SKETCH COMEDY SHOWCASE for 10th Consecutive Year 2014/2015

Najera not only directs the show, but mentors the actors of all levels, teaches writing and stage performance, and punches up sketches that are close to falling flat. Najera pulls out the best from each actor and shapes the show into four live polished performances each January, that is presented to an overflowing theatre filled with casting directors, managers and industry agents.

It’s no wonder with Najera’s background in sketch comedy (“In Living Color”, “MAD TV”, “Latinologues on Broadway”) and keen eye for talent and direction, that more than 26 showcase actors have gone on to land series regular roles including “Saturday Night Live”.

Najera has received two Writers Guild of America (WGA) award nominations for Best Writer in a Television Series for Fox’s “MAD TV” and “50 Most Creatives in Hollywood” by Variety. Najera won an ALMA Award for writing the feature film, “Nothing Like the Holidays” starring Debra Messing, Elizabeth Peña, Alfred Molina, John Leguizamo and Freddy Rodriguez. The CBS Diversity Comedy Showcase will take place in January 2015.

For more information on Rick Najera, visit www.ricknajera.com.

CBS’s Rick Najera to Discuss Diversity in Hollywood on UCLA Panel Nov 5

The Entertainment, Media, and Intellectual Property Law Program, The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies and The Critical Race Studies Program Present a Discussion Forum on The CBS Network and Diversity in Hollywood


Knowledgeable and influential speakers will discuss the origins and practices of the CBS Network Diversity Program and the circumstances that gave rise to formalizing the effort to diversify network casting and employment, and how and why the Program has developed over its history. The complex, vertically-integrated manner in which the Program is supported from the top down within the CBS corporate structure will be examined.


Diversity in Hollywood will also be put into statistical focus by findings detailed in the groundbreaking 2014 Hollywood Diversity Report: Making Sense of the Disconnect, believed to be the largest and most comprehensive look to date at diversity in the entertainment industry, part of a series of analyses that will be done for the Bunche Center’s Hollywood Advancement Project.


The presenters include:

  • Fern Orenstein, Senior Vice-President, Casting at CBS Entertainment
  • Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, Vice President of CBS Diversity and Communications
  • Rick Najera, Director, Writer, and Executive Producer
  • Darnell Hunt, Ph.D., Director, Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA and Professor of Sociology
  • Moderated by Lev Ginsburg, Partner, Ginsburg Daniels LLP


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2014 at 6:30 PM Room 1347 at the UCLA School of Law


Both the UCLA academic community and the general public is invited. Light refreshments will be served following the presentation. Unvalidated fee parking is available on-campus.



Rick Najera Stars in New HBO Special: Habla Men

Rick Najera is one of the featured talents in the new HBO special, Habla Men, showing now. Watch a clip of his performance below:

See more info on the cast and crew of Habla Men here.

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