Francisco Garcia III: Funny Stories about Life, Death and Comedy
A visit with Francisco Garcia III = head full of stories, philosophy, and laughter.
At the age of nineteen, Francisco Garcia III sold air time for a radio station located on South Padre Island. He discovered that a broadcasting company out of state was contracted to DJ for the station so he gathered sponsors and started his own radio show.
“The station was in a mall. It closed at six and my show started at seven. My days were like this: between eight a.m. to noon I was in college, after that I was working the strip bar (as a DJ) until five, p.m., and on the weekends from seven to eleven p.m. I’d host the radio show. I did that for two years and then I moved up here.”
Since he’s been in Austin, Francisco has been in public relations for several non-profit agencies, including one that spearheaded a campaign against “kitty obesity” which was featured on ”Must Love Cats”, a show on Animal Planet. Currently he’s a content developer, writer, DJ for hire, and stand-up comedian.
What has led you to comedy and how long have you been performing at open mics?
“For a year. I needed a new outlet, new experience. I wanted a new way to express myself. I have memories of reciting Richard Pryor’s “That N****r’s Crazy” from front to back for my dad’s birthday. He had all these vinyls. He had Steve Martin, Cheech and Chong, George Carlin and I would listen to them (with him) in the garage while he was smoking his cigarettes.
Eddie Murphy, Bill Hicks, Eddie Izzard … Freddie Prinze was a star that was gone too soon. Here was this five-year-old kid…loving it. I love it, I love comedy.”
When you’re on stage, who is that? Is there a persona or an alter ego?
“I try to just be me. A lot of the time most of my jokes are things that have happened to me, things that I’ve heard. I don’t try to be anything that I’m not...I don’t do that in real life so why do that on stage? Unless it’s part of a bit but I try to tell stories about what has happened to me. I like open and honest communication so how do I make this (material) believable by being unbelievable? So many comics can do that and they can roll with something. The line between reality and fiction is blurred and it’s funny.
I try not to lean on my cerebral palsy too much, as far as the jokes are concerned. But it’s there, it’s like the elephant in the room so why shy away from it? I think the best comics make fun of themselves. And sometimes when I make fun of myself I’m making fun of other people. Everybody has flaws and if you don’t laugh at those flaws then-not to say that you’re never going to fix them-but you just have to have a sense of humor. Everybody has problems and I think that if I did have a persona it’s that I really don’t give a sh*t what you think at the end of the day. It’s two fold, you’re just as small of a speck on this planetas I am but at the same time you’re just as much as the universe as I am.”
Where do you see yourself in five years, as a comedian? Do you see yourself moving out of Austin?
“I loved this city the first time I set foot in it. Whenever I was twelve years old I said to myself, ‘I’m moving to this town at some point and making a living here.’ I’d like to meet more people in the comedy scene. In five years, I’d also like to travel more…do a quick set in Portland or Seattle. I’d love to do shows in other states because new experiences lead to new material.”
Francisco had so many lovely things to say. We talked about growing older, learning how to not to get too attached to things in life, and losing loved ones. In the midst of that conversation he shared a personal experience.
“When I was seventeen I was tired of life. I jumped out in the street. I was in the middle of the road cursing everything and a car stops and it was Father Joe, the priest at the church my family and I attended.
He asked, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ and I told him, ‘Nothing, keep going. Don’t worry I’ll get the next one.’ His friend who was visiting was with him got out of the car and said "Come on, I’ll buy you a beer." and I told him "I can’t I’m seventeen" and he said "Shut up this is Brownsville."
He pretty much saved my life. And it wasn’t about god or anything; he just knew I needed to talk to someone. He told me "It’s not all that bad. It’s going to get better." All that typical sh*t you tell someone whenever they want to die.
He told me, "Whenever you’re thirty you’re gonna say, 'What was I thinking?! I would have missed out on all this stuff?!’ And I told him "What do you know you’re a priest, dude."And he said, "I made that decision. I gave myself the time to make that decision. You are making this decision but you can make better ones later." And things did get progressively better. “
I’m certainly glad Francisco is here to share his perspectives and life experiences. And I look forward to watching him grow as a comedian. His artistic intelligence is unique and refreshing. He definitely puts a smile on my face and makes me think about how most the of things we go through, in hindsight, have the tendency to be turned into “a joke."
You can follow Francisco on twitter @FranciscoG3 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org