James Ponce

Not everyone in comedy can be Lewis Black, a great performer who tours major cities performing in large theaters.

You don’t just become a major act the second you step on the stage. (Not many know that Mr. Black himself first started as an Asian prop comic who did mildly racist ventriloquism in the 1940s.) It takes years of trial and error, developing instincts, and embracing failure to find your own voice. In San Antonio there is one voice that has played a vital part of this city’s standup comedy scene, and it belongs to James Ponce.

While you may not recognize his name yet, Ponce is quickly earning his place onstage — from being a favorite opener for national acts like Jo Koy, to being San Antonio’s only representative in NBC’s “Stand-Up For Diversity.” His act is unique in that he can cover an endless supply of topics while giving you the feeling as if it’s improvisational. In truth, it just might be off-the-cuff. One of his greatest strengths is being able to perform completely in the moment and relate to anyone sitting in front of him.

Ponce’s shows are comfortable and engaging; he uses the foundation of his family and closer relationships to swing into the most absurd, abstract ideas that only make sense when you hear him explain it.

Topics range from his career failures to romanticizing illegal immigrants shooting themselves out of cannons. Somewhere in there he may even act out the inner frustrations of astronaut Michael Collins or give a McDonald’s-laced eulogy.

If you want to catch him (before he’s swept off to LA or New York) he’ll be performing at Rivercenter Comedy Club.

$15, 8:30pm Wed-Sun, 10:30 Fri-Sat, Rivercenter Comedy Club, 849 E Commerce, (210) 229-1420, rivercentercomedyclub.com.