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Sometime after his birth in 1969, his parents left the Philippines and immigrated to the United States, settling in Chicago. Navarrete, on the other hand, was raised by his grandparents in the provinces of Cavite and Batangas. He later reunited with his parents and his baby sister at the age of three. Eventually, the Navarrete family moved to South San Francisco, California where he spent the rest of his childhood.
Navarrete graduated from San Francisco State University, majoring in film and Asian American studies. He then attended the University of California, Berkeley where he received a master's in Public Health and Public Policy. He had intended to attend Harvard after to get his doctorate, but he ultimately decided to go into comedy.
He started his career in 1989 with a performance at University of California Santa Cruz. He has since performed in over two dozen colleges and universities as well as various comedy clubs and festivals, including headlining a sold-out performance at The Warfield in San Francisco as well as the Wiltern LG in Los Angeles.
In 2003, he released his first DVD entitled Hella Pinoy.
As of December 2006, he has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. These include performances in San Francisco, New York, Montreal, Manila, Geneva, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sydney.
- Badly Browned (1998)
- Husky Boy (1999)
- Bastos (2001)
- Hella Pinoy (2003)
- Bad-ass Madapaka (2005)
- Komik Organik: The Comedy of Rex Navarrete (2010)
- Rex in the City on MTV Philippines.
- Rex Files: Pinoy Undercover segment on ABS-CBN's Stateside.
- The Nutshack (Jack Colero, Tito Dick and Cherry Pie)
- Lopez Tonight (2011)
- Maritess vs. the Superfriends
- SBC Packers