Chris Garcia Comedy Night
On Thursday, October 9, Chaffey students had the opportunity to see rising star Chris Garcia at the Chaffey College performing arts theater. The event, titled “Comedy Night,” was free to attend, and was hosted by One Book One College and the Language Arts department.
English Professor Kimberly George introduced the show by stating, “Hearing people’s stories is really such a powerful way to bring people together.” Soon after, Garcia came out and began his act with a joke about Rancho Cucamonga. The L.A. native claimed to have never visited the city, using a comedic approach to how the city was named, impersonating a stoner-surfer saying, “Let's call this place Rancho Cucamonga, dude.”
Garcia’s parents are both Cuban citizens. He insinuated a sense of gratitude living in the U.S. compared to his parents' experiences. In a reference to his father, he gave a twist on parent jokes by imitating him in a Cuban accent, making fun of himself for wearing tight jeans. On the subject of comedians mocking their own parents, Garcia stated, “I think it’s very rude. I think it’s very disrespectful because my dad never got on stage and shit on me.”
Touching on societal issues, Garcia told a story of a previous audience member, who he described as a “Trump-ass dude who wears camo everyday,” interrupting one of his sets yelling, “sit down Mexican faggot.” Silence in the crowd indicated deep thought as Garcia went on to say, “What has gotten into people to get so emboldened to talk shit?”
Garcia connected the story to his father’s arrival to the U.S. after escaping a brutal refugee camp. Separated from his wife and daughter, and knowing little English, he eventually relocated to Inglewood and obtained a low-paying job. Garcia continued on to describe his own struggles, having been denied access to a four-year college due to being put in reformative classes. He went on to continue his education at El Camino College in Los Angeles and later transferred to U.C. Berkeley, receiving straight A’s. "Those two years at community college really shaped me, because those are very formative years to do whatever you want," he said.
Garcia eventually found his way to comedy in San Francisco. After ultimately being offered a job teaching brain anatomy to kids, dressing as a brain and writing plays, he said, “What I learned was that I really loved performing and articulating ideas and defending them in a public space.” He emphasized the difficulties of starting out in comedy, doing stand-up inside laundromats and struggling to obtain income. “My first year was tough. I couldn’t get work, I couldn’t get an agent, I was poor,” he stated. He joked about tweaking his resume and bluffing interviews to obtain a decent job.
Eventually, Garcia was offered a shot at auditioning for SNL, which he approached with the idea of just being himself. He didn't get it. Garcia described appreciating the experience, as it created exposure that landed him a spot in the Montreal Comedy Festival, where he was one of twenty comics chosen from America.
Garcia is currently working on a TV show emphasizing Latinos portrayed as main characters. “It always has to be a family or drug lords. Not a lot of people know that there’s different type of Latinos. We’re all different. It’s never the center of the story,” he said.
Closing the show, Garcia touched on the current political state, noting, “I think right now our voices can be heard louder than ever. We’ve got to push as hard as we can.”