The star of Broadway's ''Sexaholix'' talks about gang life, Latino history, and becoming an action hero

By Brian Hiatt
Updated December 07, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
John Leguizamo: Dave Allocca/DMI/TimePix

Wildman John Leguizamo is a father now, which may have contributed to his decision to voice a cartoon sloth in the kiddie smash ”Ice Age.” But that doesn’t mean his days of adults-only material are behind him, as his recent one-man show, ”Sexaholix… A Love Story,” makes clear. ”Sexaholix,” which hit Broadway late last year, is set to debut on HBO special Saturday, April 13, at 8 p.m. Leguizamo tells where he got that title, why he’s done with one-man shows, and gives his twisted take on Latino history.

Your show is named for a posse you joined in high school. What kind of posse is called the Sexaholix?
We were a weak posse, a punk-as-in-chump posse. The real gangs were the Latin Kings, the Skulls, the Nomads, the Cobras, the Tomahawks — those were the serious gangs in Queens and Manhattan. My friends and I just formed this little group, the Sexaholix, and we were silly more than anything else. I didn’t really make it to the real gangs; I didn’t have what it takes. You had to fight to get in, and when you [tried to] get out they just beat you up.

You call the first part of your show ”Latino History for Dummies: From Montezuma to Me.” How do you make the leap from Montezuma to you?
It’s just the history of Latin man — even the Discovery Channel doesn’t know our story. You can’t start it with ”once upon a time,” because that’s usually for white fairy tales. Latin history always has to start, ”You mother—-ers ain’t gonna believe this shit” — that’s how it’s got to be. Nobody knows that white Spaniards came here, sexed up the Indians, ménage-à-trois-ed with some black folk, and that’s how Latin man was born.

Why is this your last one-man show?
I enjoyed this one more than I enjoyed it before, because for the first time in my life I feel I have a gift, and when I’m onstage there’s an electricity and a chemistry that happens. For the first time, I’m able to appreciate that and enjoy it, because I never had before. But at the same time, it’s also really difficult on me — it’s really hard on my voice, really hard on my body, and really grueling to put myself through.