Whether he's on the stage, on TV, or voicing animated characters, comedian Jeff Garcia is usually busy making a lot of noise. And he's making big moves. He's definitely a crowd favorite in Orange County due to the way he somehow customizes every show to that night's audience and with an upcoming stop at the Brea Improv this Thursday through Sunday, we took the opportunity to chat it up with Garcia. Getting downright personal, we wanted to find out more about his newly single life, to find out what's going on with his busy work schedule, and to see what else is in the cards with this totally hysterical and talented man.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): First of all, congrats on your divorce being finalized. It seems like you've been mentioning it on stage for years!
Jeff Garcia: Yeah. It's like a death in the family but they're still alive, you know? In a couple of more years I won't have any more alimony either so I'll be OK there too. [Laughs.] I didn't know how hard getting divorced was. It's crazy because my ex-wife was so logical the whole marriage and when this hit, she was the most illogical person I've ever met in my whole life!
It's crazy that it's so easy to get married and so difficult to get divorced.
Oh I know! I was talking about that on stage once. This couple was getting married and I said, “You can just walk in and get married tomorrow. Like, let's go!” But it took me two years to get divorced! It just drags on. And then I had to pay her lawyer! That's like paying someone $20 to kick your own ass!
Yikes! Well congrats nonetheless. I know you have a background in radio so I was wondering, is that how ended up doing voiceovers?
Not really. The voiceover job came from timing really. Steve Oedekerk was producing Jimmy Neutron and they were looking for a Latin voice and I have it. It's funny because the role I went for, which was Sheen, was supposed to be an Asian kid. They liked my voice though so they changed it all.
Doing voiceover work seems a lot more laid back than most of the jobs in the industry.
Well, it depends who's doing it. For instance, when I did Happy Feet, it was brutal. We'd be there from like, nine in the morning until six at night. So it was like an actual work day! But for Fox with Rio, I did five characters and I was there for two hours. Rio 2 should be coming out next year in April.
And what's the deal with your gig on Mr. Box Office? Did the show get renewed for another season?
Yeah. They bought 104 episodes off the bat so we'll be doing that until my alimony is finished, so that's good news! It's really a weird thing because I had a huge house when the divorce started and we pretty much split the house in half. Like, she took the upstairs and I was taking the two side rooms and the game room. I had no access to a kitchen so every morning, I would drive to Starbucks to get coffee. I get this e-mail saying, “call Byron Allen ASAP.” So I hit the number on the e-mail thinking it's going to go to his office and it was actually his cell phone! Byron starts telling me about Mr. Box Office and then he goes, “We're writing a part for you.” I'm like, oh OK! Sounds good! It was a Friday when this happened and he was like, “What are you doing on Monday?” I literally got the job over the phone and showed up on Monday and there it is! Now we're like twenty-something in and we're going to do another eighty. It's really awesome.
That's got to be a great feeling! So with your stand-up, you riff almost completely off of the audience. It's seriously incredible. Do you even have a set?
Well, not really. There is just a bunch of shit floating around in my head. Sitting there and just mapping it out is a very difficult thing for me to do. The industry is cookie cutter so I think people appreciate a guy like me because they'll want to know what's going to happen but with me, you don't. You can't mold art you know? I mean, how different would the Mona Lisa have been if there was a guy behind him going, "Hey put a smile on her bro! She looks fat!” When you have free reign and no one telling you what to say or do, you are going to be more successful in your art.
Well I can't wait to see you in Brea because it's true, you never know what you're going to get. But I do know you'll be talking to the audience and somehow, you'll remember everyone's names while you're drinking! That's totally insane.
Brea's great because it's close to home and with the drinking thing, it's more of an economical thing. When people the drink, the club is happy. So when I drink, they drink. And Latinos are drinkers! [Laughs.]
Jeff Garcia performs at the Brea Improv October 10th through 13th, 120 South Brea Blvd. 92821, (714) 482-0700. For tickets go to www.Improv.com. For more info, find him of Facebook, follow him on Twitter @JeffGarciaLA, grab his CD's off iTunes, and check out Jeff Garcia Radio on Pandora.