How many people can say, “I have become what I have always dreamed of becoming?” Not many could say their life’s path has always led them back to the same fated road. Tito Hoover, a man who has been on many paths has always found himself walking the road of a comedian. He’s gone from a naughty little ‘rez boy’ to a man trying to heal the nation through laughter, Yee’go style.
Hoover’s ‘truth in humor’ approach to the ‘rez’ way of life connects with people in the audience. Connecting people with his routine has skyrocketed his popularity towards a much larger stage in Las Vegas, Nev. on Dec. 13. In a week Page resident Tito Hoover will be taking his comedy to Las Vegas to audition for America’s Got Talent.
“I am ready. I will get four `yeses’. I will.” said Hoover, confidently. “I always tell myself I will. When I believe ‘I Will” it happens.”
Hoover applies this confidence to all he does. This approach has been a wealth of inspiration to the communities he has visited.
Growing up in Cedar Ridge, Hoover was a wise cracking son who fought the giggles when it was time to be serious. He was constantly in trouble for being the class clown and admits his grades had room for improvement.
Hoover has six brothers and a sister and they were raised by a single parent. He credits his mother’s tough love efforts to keep her kids off drugs and alcohol. Having that positive influence was key to his future. His wife is also a huge source of strength in his life.
“She is so strong.” Hoover sid, acknowledging her ability to adjust to his return to comedy.
Hoover also gives credit to his family who has been 100 percent supportive his whole life. His family who saw his natural talent early on would encourage him through family talent shows at reunions. Family members would ask him to cheer them up so he would perform for them which was a happy time for him as well. Those small moments Hoover acknowledges as stepping stones towards a dream come true.
Jim Carrey was Hoover’s first influence.
“Whatever Jim Carrey did... I’d imitate him.” Hoover recalls, “I would do my ‘Mask’ routine to cheer people up”.
While in middle school, life changed when his cousin played him a cassette tape of Vincent Craig. Craig opened Hoover’s mind to the world of Native comedy.
“’That’s how we live!’ I said the first time I heard it.” said Hoover. “It was the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s when I found out Native Americans could be comedians.”
He wore the cassette out listening to it over and over.
Hoover started high school about the same time the comedy duo of James and Ernie began taking center stage.
“I kept a journal growing up and I actually wrote ‘I want to be on stage with James and Ernie.’” Hoover said.
He began to prepare.
”It never dawned on me that I was going to come back to [the journal entry].”
But like most young people with big dreams, life after high school started with college in Tucson. Hoover admits being fresh out of high school and on his own he made some bad choices. So, in 2005 Hoover returned to Page. That same year Hoover and his mother were in an accident. It was the kind of traumatic experience that made him buckle down and return to Tucson to pursue an art degree. By the time he finished college the recession lessened the need for an anime artist. Hoover then came home to Page and began various jobs.
After losing a job Hoover was feeling down and asking himself what he was going to do with his life. He clicked on a James and Ernie video on YouTube to cheer himself up. His first thought after watching the video was, “It ain’t over for me.”
He found their email addresses.
“[James and Ernie] were doing all the things I wanted to do.”
Right then and there Hoover wrote an email stating, with absolute conviction, he wants to be ‘the greatest comedian in the world’. Always has and always will. The email worked and before long, Ernest Tsosie of James and Ernie called him and asked him to send a video or audio of his set. Hoover broke the unheard-of truth to Tsosie that he had no recordings and would be better to show him in person what he could do.
“To be honest... all I got is my word. Can you just give me a shot?” Hoover asked Tsosie
Hoover recalls. “I didn’t think they would [respond], I mean come on, this is Ernest Tsosie III and James Junes.”
Believing Hoover’s word Tsosie took a chance and booked a show at the Chinle Chapter House with Billy Crowley called the EBT Show and invited Hoover to open for them.
Hoover took the opportunity wholeheartedly.
“[Tsosie] later told me he never does that... just on a word,” Hoover recalled, “but he said something about my email and my name made him want give me a chance.”
His first show
Hoover remembers being nervous and doubting himself.
“I thought it was gonna be a huge venue,” said Hoover. “I forgot Tsosie said ‘Chapter House’. But people showed and it got packed. I thought, ‘what if I bomb?’
“Ten minutes before the show, Ernie comes up to me and says, ‘Are you ready?’”
“I said ‘no!’
But Ernie said, ‘Oh ok. Too bad you’re going on,’ and he just walked away.”
Soon after Hoover was introduced by Tsosie and he took the floor.
“I heard two claps. Then I told [the first joke] and the crowd laughed. It went smooth from there. I felt the energy and... just improved the whole show. I did seven minutes. I don't even remember what I said.”
Afterwards Tsosie said to Hoover,“You did it! We gotta talk after the show.”
Hoover remembers feeling scared he did something wrong. Instead Tsosie’s told him “I got five shows and I want you to open. You seriously have the talent of somebody who has been doing comedy for ten years.”
“I thought [Ernie] was teasing me because they’re comedians.” Hoover says. “My start came from Ernest David Tsosie. I am truly grateful for him believing in me over an email.”
During the five show tour James June’s words changed Hoover’s whole perspective on his new venture.
“June said ‘I knew you had something. When I hear your name I can see your name in lights. I can see it on TV.’
“I’ve never told anybody this, but I’ve learned a lot from all the people I’ve come across,” said Hoover.
The display of confidence from his peers gave Hoover the courage to keep performing and checking things off his bucket list.
“I don’t know how many times I wanted to do America’s got talent. I mean, let’s see what happens? If Ernie could believe in me over an email, what are those judges going to think? I’m excited and I’m humble about it. You got to live your life the way you want. [I have] only been four years in comedy. America’s Got Talent is just a jumping off point.”
The audition is the beginning process of the actual television show. He will meet and perform for the producers while on camera. Once he is voted in he will go on to the national broadcast of the show. Magician Brian Yazzie will be auditioning as well. Yazzie s a friend of Hoovers and from the Page area.
Hoover has a growing fan base since he branded his act with the name ‘Rez Boy Comedy’. He now has merchandise at his shows with the ‘Rez Boy’ logo “Making them laugh yee’go style.” Taking his brand has been a success through social media.
Several projects stand out to his followers when he paired up with local vine celebrity Moonie Littleman. Hoover’s first video “Frybread Delivery Guy” received a huge response from followers.
*Lake Powell Chronicle’s interview was also on Hoover’s bucket list and we would like to thank you for representing the area. Have fun above all else.