Jerry Garcia jokes around at Laugh Factory

Kelli Makenna Kuttruff
Arts Editor

The Laugh Factory’s newest location in Covina hosted comedian headliner Jerry Garcia on Feb. 8 to kick off the start of his weekend lineup. 

This location of the Laugh Factory opened last July in the historic Covina Performing Arts Center, and is located at 104 N. Citrus Ave. It  hosts comedy shows most Thursday through Sunday nights. 

At the Feb. 8 show, Garcia left the audience reeling with laughter along with opening comedians J Valentino, Fernando Panda Chacon, Sebastian Cetina and host Victor Vasquez.

Making people laugh was inherent to Garcia, as he was funniest in high school yearbooks, contests and amateur nights. It was not until 15 years ago in 2009 that he committed to the craft and started taking comedy seriously as his career. 

He started out at the Haha Comedy Club in North Hollywood and started working out his material at open mics and amateur nights to begin building his confidence as a comedian. He kept getting calls from bar and restaurant owners to come back, and has taken off to the point where he has opened for large-scale comedians such as Paul Rodriguez, Steve Trevino and Jeff Garcia.

Garcia was one of the first comedians to perform at the Laugh Factory in Covina and believes that something people like about his material is that he is just being himself. 

“A lot of it is myself, I’m just being myself up there,” Garcia said. “I’m just talking about my everyday life and I talk like I talk onstage and offstage, I’m kind of the same person… One of the biggest compliments I get is that people feel like they know me, like I’m a friend talking to them.”

Garcia has performed all over the U.S. and is featured in an HBO comedy special called “It’s Not My Weekend,” was the co-host of the “Jeff Garcia Podcast Show,” co-starred in a Netflix special called “They Can’t Deport Us All” among other many great achievements such as acting and commercial opportunities according to his bio

He believes that the most rewarding part of making a career out of comedy is being able to do what he loves. 

“I get to live my passion, and get paid for it,” Garcia said. “It’s hard to complain when you’re doing something that you really truly love.”

Garcia’s favorite part of his set was his material on his new cat that he recently got in hopes that it would eat a mouse he found in his house. His plan was to keep the cat until he caught the mouse for him, and then return it. 

“Hopefully within 30 days return the f****** cat, maybe get some store credit.. A tarantula would be nice,” Garcia laughed. “But I have to keep the cat for all of his nine lives…. I’m stuck with the cat. Cats are cool until you run out of mice. Then they’re just cranky, broke-ass roommates.”

Jennifer Quach attended the Laugh Factory for the first time with Frank Gonzalez, who had previously been to the venue when it was the Covina Theater. Quach frequents comedy shows and has traveled to see Jo Koy in San Diego and even saw Dane Cook in Hollywood. She attended with Gonzalez for her brother’s birthday, and was surprised by how nice the venue was. 

“It’s better than what I expected… It’s classier than I thought… the outside doesn’t look like the inside, it’s nice in here,” Quach said. 

She hoped that one of the comedians would decide to venture out of their regular material and do crowd work and call her or her family out. 

“I’m hoping for the comedian to make fun of one of us right here!” Quach said. 

Gonzalez had high hopes for the show, and believes that people should come and support small theaters and the comics. He joked that the raunchier the comedy, the better it would be.

“All kinds of comedy is great for me, I just enjoy laughing,” Gonzalez said. 

Host Victor Vasquez was told growing up that he was funny and quick-witted, and in the early 2000s had his comedian friend Willie Barcena tell him he should go into comedy.

“He said you (Vasquez) should just go into comedy… you’re probably better off instead of going to therapy just to let your thoughts out onstage,” Vasquez said. 

He frequented open mics for some time, but then walked away from comedy during his second marriage. It was not until 2012 when he performed at the American Legion Hall for a show called Monday Madness that he got reacclimated into the world of comedy. He has performed at every comedy club in Southern California, and is a triple-threat as a promoter, producer and traveling comic. 

“It’s remarkable… I got into it (comedy) because I wanted an outlet to vent about my life’s mishaps and now here I am performing with some of the best comedians across the country,” Vasquez said.

He is frequently asked to host at the Laugh Factory in Covina which allows him to get the crowd ready to experience a night full of laughter.

The art of comedy is kept alive and well by the many comics at the Laugh Factory in Covina. Vasquez said that no matter what you do, whether you are hitting a high note as a singer, nailing your lines in a play or performing as a comedian, there is a rush when you perform. 

“Comedians, any way you look at it, they’re artists,” Vasquez said. “The canvas is the stage, and our brush is the microphone.”

Performing at the Laugh Factory in Covina is one of his favorite venues because it is a full-fledged theater. The high VIP balconies even inspired him to joke about this being the theater that Lincoln was shot in. It is one of the few venues in Covina that regularly brings the art of comedy to life. 

“Covina has a gem of a comedy club right in its own backyard and I don’t think everybody in the San Gabriel Valley really knows that it’s there,” Gonzalez said. “It doesn’t matter who you see, just go and support the venue… it’s a great little gem.”

Kelli Makenna Kuttruff can be reached at kelli.kuttruff@laverne.edu.

Kelli Makenna Kuttruff is a senior communications major with an emphasis in public relations. She is the arts editor of the Campus Times, and is in her second semester as a staff writer.

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