Breaking Bad's Steven Michael Quezada ("Agent Gomez") to host Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza

It might not be evident from his role as laid-back DEA agent Steven Gómez on the hit AMC drama Breaking Bad, but actor Steven Michael Quezada is a funny guy. It's one of the reasons he was tapped to host the 18th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza at the Lila Cockrell Theater December 1. During an interview with the Current, Quezada, 49, talked about why he loves mariachi music and his thoughts about Gómez not seeing any action in 4 1/2 seasons.

I'm assuming you're a fan of mariachi music.
Yeah, it's a good way for us to hold on to our culture. Some Latinos might not know what [the mariachis] are singing about, but we love it anyway. We're attached to it. We drink to it. It makes us feel good.

I had no idea you were a comedian. Is that something you're hoping more people learn about you as your career continues?
Yeah, people don't think I'm a comedian. They see me as this really straight tough guy on TV. It's cool when they find out because they start supporting my [stand-up] shows. I started doing comedy as a way to feed myself. I did pretty well on the comedy circuit. I decided to take a break in 2007 and do more acting, but I'm ready to get back into touring. Breaking Bad has kept me busy.

Busy chasing after the bad guys…
Trying to catch the bad guys, but I haven't caught nothing! Me and Hank (Steven's partner played by actor Dean Norris) are the dumbest cops alive. My gun doesn't even come out of the holster. It's glued in. All the cops love us for the way we portray cops on TV, but they have to be mad at us because we haven't busted anybody in five years. Well, there was that janitor with the joint in Season 1.

If you were in a mariachi band, what instrument would you like to play?
I'd probably want to sing. I'm not a great singer, but I've done a lot of musicals in my life. I'd like to sing like Mariachi Vargas. Those guys are like Mexican rock stars. I was blown away by them when I saw them in Corpus.

Imagine Gómez at a Mexican restaurant and a mariachi orchestra comes up to his table. What song would he request?
He would probably pick that song ["Negro y Azul: Ballad of Heisenberg"] by Los Cuates de Sinaloa that comes out at the start of Season 3 [technically a narcocorrido, but we'll let it slide].

Since just about anything can happen on Breaking Bad, do you think we could ever see Gómez double-cross Hank?
Nah, it's one of those verbally abusive relationships that work. Being a Mexican on Breaking Bad is hard enough. I think I'm the only Mexican still alive.

When do you start shooting the second half of the final season?
We start shooting December 6.

You've made it this far. Are you worried about the possibility of getting killed off?
You bet I'm worried! But this is the final eight episodes, so people are going to die. People are going down!

18th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza

7:30pm Sat, Dec 1
Lila Cockrell Theater
200 E Market
224-9600 (Ticketmaster)

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