HBO’s Jerry Garcia: It’s Not My Weekend: Jerry Garcia on Self-Deprecating Jokes, Family and Roots [Exclusive Interview]

Self-deprecating humor is definitely funny.

In a humble way, up-and-coming comedian Jerry Garcia has made his mark in the standup world with his self-deprecating humor by making fun of himself as a single father.

He has earned his place in the stand up world with the comedy special on HBO with Jerry Garcia: It’s Not My Weekend that is now playing.

This is a half-hour standup special that features Jerry Garcia as a rising Latino comic and a single father of three. Recorded in front of a live audience, Jerry Garcia: It’s Not My Weekend reveals the California-raised comedian’s ability to make fun of himself, his parenting style and his efforts in dating. He tries to convince the audience that he is the best father he can be while spending the least amount of energy in doing so. Garcia makes the case for stepdads and dramedies, and takes aim at school grading systems. His views on life, relationships, his modest upbringing and everyday struggles captivate the audience, as do the punchlines he delivers with charisma and charm.

Jerry Garcia’s credits began in 2016 with Fox’s Laughs comedy series. In 2017, Jerry made his Netflix debut with co-starring in Chingo Bling’s They Can’t Deport Us All comedy special. Earlier this year, he entered the voice acting world as he co-starred alongside with John Stamos in the animated film PLOEY.

LRM Online had a phone interview earlier this month with Jerry Garcia. We talked about self-deprecating humor, his kids and life as a standup comic.

Jerry Garcia: It’s Not My Weekend is now playing on HBO today.

Read our full interview below.

LRM: I’ve checked out HBO comedy show. How enthusiastic when you first heard that you were going to get this?

Jerry Garcia: Very excited. Obviously, it’s nerve wrecking. A Lot of hard work comes into these performances out there. It’s so great to finally be on a huge format like HBO. I couldn’t think of anything greater than that.

LRM: How and when did they actually approach you?

Jerry Garcia: I met Edwin Licona, one of the producers of the HBO Latinos for stand up special. I was able to do another variety show called Entre Nos, which it’s also like a comedy special theme, where they showcase up to three comics in one episode. I was one of the three comics in one of those episodes, episode four to be exact. Then I was able to get my own stand alone. Thanks again to Edwin again. Edwin and the producers for just believing in me. They asked me if I would be interested in doing my own standalone. Obviously, I was stoked about saying yes.

LRM: Now you seemed a kind of nervous on your episode. You even spilled water on yourself. Can you talk about that incident?

Jerry Garcia: Yeah! That’s some jitters going on. That had happened to me before on any show. It just happens to me. You can talk it up with the nerves. Of course, there were butterflies in my stomach and feeding off the energy of the crowd. I was having a good time to be honest with you. Nervous, but having a really good time on stage. It wasn’t really the nerves I got to me. It was more just the excitement.

LRM: Tell me about your humble roots. Where did you grow up from? What’s your background for your jokes?

Jerry Garcia: I was born and raised in Huntington Park, California, which is Southeast Los Angeles. I lived in a very heavy Latino community, very Mexican. I’m very proud. Those are the roots I am from. Today, I’m still living in Huntington Park. I’m raising my kids there. I’m very connected to go on all my roots here today. I conceived my accent, who I am and what I do is all very natural and real to me. People feed off of that. It makes me more of a real character on stage than just the character.

LRM: I happen to agree you. You seem very down to earth. You’re willing to make fun of yourself, but particularly with you being a father.

Jerry Garcia: It’s my favorite style of comedy. I enjoy writing self-deprecating comedy. That’s my real life. I go through a lot of struggles in life. I’m no 6-foot tall, blonde and beautiful. I’m not that guy. I like to talk about who I really am and what I’m about.

LRM: Tell me more about your family, being a father of three and how you derive jokes about that.

Jerry Garcia: The jokes seem to write themselves to be honest with you. [Laughs] Being a single dad and I’ve got three kids, all boys at ages 11, 10 and 4 now. He’s just turned four. I’ve got two babies’ mamas. I was actually married for a while, about 10 years ago. I recently got with a new person from five years ago. Now I have to juggle two baby mommas and three kids. My weekend picking up, dropping off and forgetting kids. It’s a thrill on its own.

LRM: Did these members of your family heard your jokes? Are they actually okay and very supportive of it?

Jerry Garcia: Yes. And I hope so. They are. I had my two oldest kids at the taping. And one of my babies’ mamas was actually there too. She was the one with the baby. She wanted to come out. She’s always been a big supporter of my career. It’s how we met. Things didn’t quite worked out. We’re still good friends and raising a child together. She was there and with my two kids, the 11 and 10 year olds. That was just special enough for me. They barely ever come out to shows. Obviously, they saw me on TV like on Netflix. Seeing it live for the first time so I could just see their faces. It just made me feel so much more special.

LRM: Do they tend to laugh at you or did they tend to laugh about themselves?

Jerry Garcia: That’s a good question. Actually. I’m not sure. We had a conversation of what it is that I do and why I say things on stage. My kids get it. They know that Dad is being funny. Dad is entertaining the audience. That’s my job. My job to make jokes and figure out a way to make people laugh. So they get it. They understand what it takes.They know that I’m going to touch upon their lives, my life and their moms. I’ve always told them. It’s all going to be tasteful. I’m not going to ever disrespect your mom, any of you guys or even myself in any way. It’s all for fun. I enjoyed doing it. I think you guys will understand what this all for. As they’re getting older, they’re fifth and sixth grade now. We were always having open conversations about what I’m talking about on stage and why I’m talking about it.

There’s a joke that I used to do. It’s not on the special. It’s on another show that I did where I talked about if any of my kids grow up to be gay–what type of father would I be? Obviously, I be a very supportive father. I would not really care less if he was gay or not. I talked about that and made fun of that situation. What if he was gay type of situation. At that point, one of my kids was like, “Dad. Do you think one of us is gay? Why did you write that joke?” Those are the type of conversations that we have to figure out. I had to tell them that I don’t think you’re gay. It’s just a fixed point topic.

LRM: [Laughs] Do you use sometimes run your jokes with your family then?

Jerry Garcia: Yeah. I have. I spend a lot of my time with my kids, believe or not. But, I actually do. I pick them up from school. I drop them off to school. I have a lot of free time in the day time. I get to do that on a daily basis. We actually really do talk about, especially when the jokes are just relating to them. With jokes about them, I like to run it by them and see what they think. Obviously, if it’s about dating or more adult content, I won’t run that by them. As far as the rest of my family, I like to surprise them. For my kids, I do like to keep them involved as much as possible.

LRM: How do you balance your comedian stand up life with your regular family life? You seem so busy.

Jerry Garcia: That’s another good question. I’m still trying to figure it out as I go. I enjoy spending time with my families. So it’s not easy. It’s not hard for me to do that. It’s just finding the time for it, which makes it a little difficult. I’m actually driving out to Ontario from LA for my youngest son who was out there visiting his grandma. I’m going to pick him up from there. Those are the little things. I don’t mind doing it. I don’t mind taking a little drive. Picking up my son. Spending some time with him.

It’s hard too. Obviously, my job reflects on a lot of nighttime activities. As long as I’m clear for that and the babies’ mamas aware of it–they are very understanding people. They would make it work. It’s really a team effort when it comes down to it. Fortunately, I have two babies’ mamas who are understanding. They’re team players. So far, I’ve been blessed with that side for sure. It’s hard for me to complain or argue when it comes to that effort.

LRM: What is a lot like to be a standup comedian? Is this an easy a type of gig? What inspired you to go into this profession?

Jerry Garcia: I always wanted to be a stand up comedian ever since I was a little kid. At Huntington Park, I wasn’t really exposed to what stand up comedy is. Not until I saw George Lopez in the early 2000s. Once I saw him breakthrough, then I realized that this can really happen for me. I always knew about Eddie Murphy, Bob Hope, David Letterman, Johnny Carson and all these people. I never connected with them in any way.

I always felt that it looks like a fun job. I always thought it was an unreachable goal. As I got older, got to experience more things, and see George Lopez break through, it was what inspired me to want to and follow this dream. It wasn’t until my late twenties is when I decided to go actually go for it.

It wasn’t until after my first born, I started getting comedy. It was just one of the things that I needed to do. I wanted to try it. The more I saw it, the more I learned about stand up comedy and what it takes, the more I gravitated towards it.

It’s a very challenging job, man. It’s very difficult having to write jokes. I’m the type of comedian who I want to make sure that everybody is enjoying the material. I really focused on bringing everybody into the joke and to the picture that I’m trying to draw. I don’t want to speak to only Latinos. I don’t want to only speak to single parents. I want to speak to everybody in general as much as possible.

LRM: Are you also going to follow like many stand up comedians to go into acting eventually down the road?

Jerry Garcia: Yeah, of course. I think that’s the next step, right? It’s not something that’s on my radar. I really truly love comedy to the root. That’s what I want to do first. First and foremost, it’s about stand up comedy to writing jokes. I’m keeping busy with that touring and performing. Obviously, acting does go hand in hand eventually. I’m opened to that. It’s not something that I’m actually just going out there and trying to reach at this very moment.

LRM: Can you talk about any more projects that you have after HBO special coming up this Friday?

Jerry Garcia: After this, it’s just a lot of touring. I’m going to join the Latin Kings of Comedy with Paul Rodriguez. We’re going to get that tour going with an opening the fall. Obviously, my own with a tour headlining across the country. I’m trying to put that on my calendar as we speak. Just a lot of work. Trying to perform in front of many audiences as possible. Staying busy!

LRM: Sounds like it. I just wanted to get some insight here. What does it mean to be a Latino comedian today?

Jerry Garcia: What does it mean to be a Latino comedian today? Man. That’s a tough one. We’re not just a Latino comedian. I believe that we’re than that. We have a lot to relate to with everybody. I think we all go through the same struggles. We all go through same ups and downs. We have funny ways of showing it. We have funny way to express it. At the end of the day, we are all living in the same world and of the same planet. Being a Latino comedian today, it’s main stream.

LRM: Excellent. Great answer. Hey, thank you very much for this conversation. I can’t wait till everyone to check out your show.

Jerry Garcia: Thank you, brother. Thank you, man. Really looking forward to myself. I’m excited.

Jerry Garcia: It’s Not My Weekend is now playing on HBO today.

Source: LRM Online Exclusive

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Gig Patta

Gig Patta is a journalist and interviewer for LRM and Latino-Review since 2009. He was a writer for other entertainment sites in the past with Collider and He originally came from the world of print journalism with several years as a reporter with the San Diego Business Journal and California Review. He earned his MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management and BA in Economics from UC San Diego. Follow him on Instagram @gigpatta or Facebook @officialgigpatta.

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