ARLINGTON -- He's the funny guy with big hair and an even bigger personality. Felipe Esparza can turn a tough crowd into a room full of laughing hyenas.
But on a serious note, the 39-year-old comedian has found a way to make fun out of life's hardships. When Esparza was a kid, his family moved from Mexico to East L.A. looking for better opportunities.
"My family sneaked in fair and square," he joked.
But, unfortunately, hanging with the wrong crowd turned Felipe's life upside down.
"I got hooked on crack cocaine," he explained. "I started drinking when I was 12, and by the time I was 19, I was a full blown crackhead."
After cleaning up his act almost two years later, Felipe knew he wanted to do something that he'd always loved to do -- make people laugh.
"Comedy is what brings people together. It can turn enemies into friends," Felipe told NewsFix.
It was in 2010, after years of rejection , Felipe finally landed a gig that would change his life forever.
"They were like, 'Felipe, they want you to audition for The Last Comic Standing.' And I was like, 'They don't want me!'"
But they did. In fact, Felipe ended up being crowned THE Last Comic Standing that year. He also walked away $250,000 richer in which he ended paying some of it forward to a woman's shelter back home and his priest.
" I said, 'I'm going to donate some of it to Father Greg Boyle for helping me out and keeping me clean,'" he explained.
But winning a reality show was just the beginning of Felipe's success.
He's managed to pull off several sold out shows, TV gigs, his own podcast series and a one-hour special on Netflix. Felipe and other well-known comedians perform stand up for a straight 60 minutes.
He also takes pride in putting a pen to paper and writing his own jokes on stories about his past, "I work really, really hard, and I write a lot of jokes."
Let's just say, if you're in the mood to laugh at life's ups and downs, Felipe Esparza just might be that stand up guy!
Want to know more about Felipe? Check out his 5 Fixes below: