(WSVN) - An Air Force pilot who grew up in Miami is now flying high in a different career. 7’s Karen Hensel introduces us to this homegrown funnyman in tonight’s 7 Spotlight.

Jose Sarduy: “Yeah, my name is Jose, and nobody believes me.”

Believe him.

He is Jose Sarduy, and he loves to make people laugh.

Jose Sarduy: “‘What’s your name, man?’ And I go, ‘My name’s Jose. He’s like, ‘No, papi.'”

Born in Las Tunas, Cuba, Jose came to Miami with his mom on the Mariel boatlift when he was just 3 years old. Jose grew up in Miami Springs, and when he graduated from high school, he got a scholarship to the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Jose Sarduy: “That’s where my aviation started and my love of teaching. I still teach today. In the Air Force, I’m the old man now.”

Lt. Col. Jose Sarduy is a 27-year veteran and a flight instructor in the Air Force Reserves.

Mauriett Chayeb, Jose’s sister: “He’s just like the best big brother ever, and he’s been in the military since I was 6 years old, and he came back, and he’s used his knowledge and everything to make people laugh with his comedy.”

His love of flying is helping his comedy career take off.

He produces the show “Flying Funny,” showing off his mad aviator skills to friends brave enough to go up with him.

Jose Sarduy: “We’re doing some aerobatics today. How do you feel?”

Renée Percey, comedian/actor/writer: “Oooooh!”

He also has comedy specials on YouTube.

Jose Sarduy: “I was the number one viewed video of 2021 on the entire app.”

When he’s not tubing, he’s touring coast to coast.

Jose Sarduy: “My first year out of the military doing comedy full-time, I mean, it was like three weeks a month just in my car.”

Jose plays theaters, clubs, colleges and cruise ships.

Jose Sarduy: “I feel like I’ve got to be extra Cuban. ‘I got it, arroz con pollo y maduros, por favor!'”

One of his favorite subjects in his acts is his mom Maricela.

Jose Sarduy: “My mom is great. She speaks with an accent. ‘Do you want something to eat?’ They were like, ‘Yeah, of course.’ ‘Do you want hard dough’? ‘What is hard dough?’ I’m like, ‘That’s how she says ‘hot dog.'”

At first her feelings were hurt. She thought Jose was making fun of her.

Then she went to one of his shows.

Maricela Mendez, Jose’s mom: “Ladies came to me and say, ‘Hi, you’re Jose’s mother. You have to be so proud of him. He’s special.’ I say, ‘Yeah, he’s so special.'”

Jose Chayeb, stepfather: “I see the people smiling when he do the comedy, you know, he’s very happy.”

Even with a busy schedule, Jose comes back to Miami as often as he can, missing Maricela’s famous cafecitos and her hugs.

Jose Sarduy: “I get eight or nine of those a day.”

He writes new material here and works with sister Mauriett to plan his next move.

Mauriett: “You could go to like Tampa, you could do Jacksonville.”

Jose Sarduy: “That’s the goal, is to do theaters and then be back in L.A. and get on television, movies, whatever it takes. That’s the next thing.”

Jose says he’ll keep on working and doing what he’s always done to achieve success: aim for the sky.

Karen Hensel, 7News.

If there’s someone or something you think we should feature, send us an email at 7spotlight@wsvn.com.

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