POMPANO BEACH – A Disney movie nearly altered the life of Chilean actor Ariel Levy forever.
It wasn’t the message. It wasn’t an acting role. It was the lead character – a cartoon.
When Disney released The Little Mermaid in 1989, Levy was only 5 years old. Because Levy and the lead character share the same name, he’s been linked with that little female human-fish hybrid ever since.
“Kids used to tease me because my name was the same name as the little mermaid,” Levy said. “I’ve always had a good sense of humor, so I used to laugh about it. It’s not really a childhood trauma.”
Levy had fun with that awkward experience and others during his debut as a stand-up comic on Saturday night, delivering his performance from the relative comfort of a South Florida wrestling ring.
“I had fun,” Levy said. “I felt comfortable because most of the crowd were friends. I’m a local in this place. I come here every day to train. We do shows here. It felt like home.”
The Tom Cruise of Chile, Levy’s resume is as varied as it is impressive.
Levy’s acted in some 20 feature films – most notably The Green Inferno, directed by Eli Roth. He boasts numerous Chilean TV show appearances – including soap operas and a Dancing With The Stars-type show. He’s hosted a World Cup soccer show, and led a rock band. In short, he’s one of the most famous people in Chile.
After moving to the United States less than a year ago Levy assumed the professional wrestling persona “The South American Superstar,” and within months claimed the Coastal Championship Wresting tag team title as one half of “The South American Alliance.”
Levy drew on his acting and wrestling experience during his stand-up performances – and it showed.
“I thought he did very well, especially for his first time,” headliner Carl Rimi said. “He didn’t seem nervous at all. If you can work through the nerves you’re halfway there.”
Levy took advantage of his professional wrestling training, immediately grabbing the audience by climbing to the top rope after entering the ring.
“When I wrestle it’s way more over the top,” Levy said. “I toned it down a little bit.”
He performed for about eight minutes within the CCW wrestling ring, which only recently began offering a monthly comedy night. With a set containing more hits than misses, Levy elicited a consistent stream of laughter.
For years Levy considered trying stand-up comedy, and even had some offers to perform in Chile, but felt performing on a familiar South Florida stage offered the perfect debut scenario.
“That made me feel more comfortable than in Chile where I was invited, but I’m already a well known actor and people were going to be judging me all the time,” Levy said. “[On Saturday] I was going to be introduced as a wrestler who is doing comedy, so that gives you some immunity, I guess.”
Levy’s performance elicited rave reviews from CCW co-owner Nelio Costa, Levy’s tag team partner and comedy show host.
“He’s hilarious,” Costa said. “Every single day he’s such a naturally funny person. But being a naturally funny person, a lot of times, doesn’t translate into being a funny stand-up comedian. He’s an actor, a trained actor, and he has the preparation skills. I think that’s what it was. He took it very seriously. I thought he did wonderfully. I thought he hit his jokes very well. I hope it’s not the last time he does it. I’m going to try to convince him to continue doing it.”
It doesn’t sound like Levy will need much convincing.
“I would love to give it a try again – maybe with a different crowd that is not as friendly, to know how it works,” Levy said.