Modesto native Marcella Arguello knows a thing or two about microphones.
For more than a decade, the Johansen High School alum has been picking them up as a stand-up comic. Now, Arguello will be dropping them thanks to her first professional comedy writing job. She has been tapped to write for the new series “Drop the Mic,” a spinoff from a popular segment on James Corden’s “Late Late Show” on CBS. The rap battle series, which will be hosted by hip-hop star Method Man and model Hailey Baldwin, is set to debut May 2 on TBS.
Arguello’s comedy career has been rising steadily over the past couple of years. In 2015, she made her national television debut on “Last Call with Carson Daly.” Since then, she has made five appearances on the Comedy Central game show “@midnight,” hosted by Chris Hardwick, and you can expect to see her again in April as part of the show’s Internet-themed panel. She performs nearly nightly and has performed across the country.
Arguello started writing for “Drop the Mic” in late January. Since then, she has been creating rap lyrics for the contestants, mini sketches and banter for the hosts of the show as part of the writers room. She said the 13-week gig was a nice break from her busy travel schedule.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Modesto Bee
“I needed a small break. I’ve been doing stand-up for 11 years now and I’ve been awaiting for the right moment to take a writing job,” said Arguello, who has lived in Los Angeles for seven years.
She was convinced “Drop the Mic” was the show for her by its head writer, friend and fellow comic Eliza Skinner. She called the job “fun” and “creative,” but does not plan to make comedy writing her full-time job anytime soon.
“That’s part of why I’ve waited so long. I was pretty certain I didn’t want to do it permanently, but always wanted the experience,” she said. “But I for sure want my own show where I am the boss and dictate what is comedy and what is not.”
With that goal in mind, Arguello has an ambitious 2017 booked. She is set to perform her first headlining weekend in Washington, D.C., on June 16-17. She also is slated to perform at the new ID10T comedy festival created by “@midnight” host Hardwick at the Shoreline Amphitheatre on June 24-25. And she’s signed with ICM Partners, a major Hollywood talent agency.
The comic remains active as ever on social media, particularly Twitter through her account @marcellacomedy. And, in the past year, she has not shied away from getting political, either.
“I’ve always loved using my social media to give away free samples of comedy and promote myself. I love using my social media to elevate what I am doing,” she said.
So why get more political now?
“I’ve always been socially conscious, it’s just Trump has gotten so ridiculous so it’s hard not to comment on things,” she said. “My stand-up always has had a mix of everything.”
Even with all the big things happening for her, Arguello frequently makes the time to visit her family, who all still live in Modesto.
“I’m very proud to be from there. I love Modesto,” she said.