Starring in, writing and producing a TV show may sound like a lot of work, but for stand-up comedian-turned-sitcom star Cristela Alonzo, it's a dream come true.
"I really never thought it would happen," Alonzo tells TVGuide.com. "Part of me thinks this is like winning the lottery."
However, Alonzo hasn't let her success go to her head. On Cristela, which premieres Friday at 8:30/7:30c on ABC, Alonzo plays a fictionalized version of herself as she struggles to achieve her dreams. But instead of leaning on her family as she attempts to become a stand-up comedian, the fictional Cristela looks to her family for support as she tries to become a lawyer. "I picked law school instead of stand-up because law school was something that was more relatable to everybody and it was something that takes awhile to get just like stand-up," she says.
Although Cristela's professional ambitions play a big role in the series, so will her family life — which mainly consists of her overbearing mom (Terri Hoyos), her needy sister (María Canals Barrera) and her antagonistic brother-in-law (Carlos Ponce). "It's a family show so I wanted to make sure that my family felt like I was representing them well and honoring them," she says. "My goal is to always be real and honor what's true to myself whether it be in regards to the culture, the family, everything. To me, you can't pretend to be something you're not. People will feel it."
So how was it transitioning her material from the comedy clubs to a TV series? Check out our full interview with Alonzo below:
Cristela premieres Friday at 8:30/7:30c on ABC. Will you watch?