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 Tips  on spiritual growth, emotional health, and relational healing.

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11: Comedy and Fear: Interview with Diego Garcia

Dec 10, 2015

Do you love to laugh?

Laughing is such an incredible gift. It lightens our mood, releases tension, opens us up, connects us to each other and makes a challenge seem a little more manageable.

Diego Garcia

Meet Diego Garcia

Diego Garcia is an incredible comedian. He is the youngest comedian to take the stage at The Comedy Stop, the largest comedy club in Arizona. Diego was a student of mine when I was the college pastor at my church. When I think about overcoming fear, I think about comedians. It’s terrifying to wonder if people will respond to your stories and jokes. Diego and I dialogued recently about his journey in comedy. He shared some fantastic insights with me. I’m excited to share them with you!

Scott: Diego, I’m so excited for you to share with us. I’m really curious – how did you get into comedy? When did you first start telling jokes publicly?

Diego: Thanks, Scott. For me, comedy was my escape. A lot of people, when they had a bad day, would turn to music. I turned to standup. I used to listen to it all the time in middle school and high school. Whenever I had a bad day, or something didn’t go right, I’d watch some standup. And I always told jokes in class, or on the bus. One day, I had a teacher, who was on the talent show committee, tell me that I should give it a chance, and preform on an actual stage in front of an actual audience. My senior year at the talent show was the first time I ever did standup in front of a crowd. January 20th. I still remember the date.

Scott: You had a major milestone as a young comedian in Arizona. What was that milestone and what was it like to get involved in this industry at such a young age?
Diego: For me, my big milestone was getting a shot to perform at The Comedy Spot. The Comedy Spot is the biggest club in Arizona; it’s been there the longest and draws the best crowds. A lot of the places I emailed about doing a set told me no, because I was so young. I was 18 at the time. The Comedy Spot was the only place that let me in. That opened a lot of doors for me, and my role there has grown. I went from doing 3 minute sets on an open mic to headlining my own show at the end of December.

Diego Garcia on the Voice of Fear

Scott: That’s awesome. We’ll share about the show at the end of interview. I imagine you battle a lot of fear as a comedian. What has that battle looked like? What does the voice of fear sound like to you?
Diego: There’s always fear. There’s the fear of failure. What if I get up there and bomb? What if no one laughs? What if no one comes? And there’s always that voice in your head that says “you’re not good enough. Talented enough. You won’t make it.” But for me, the biggest fear is what if it all comes to an end? What if something happens and I don’t perform anymore?

Scott: Have you encountered failure in your work as a comedian? How did you navigate failure?
Diego: I have. I’ve bombed on stage before. I’ve done shows where I’ll promote it all week, and come show time, I’ll have no one out to see me. (Which is, in my opinion, worse than bombing.) But you have to keep going. You have to understand that there will be other opportunities down the line. I always think “alright, we’ll try again next time”. To get through it, you have to think to yourself,  “it’s ok to fail, it’s not ok to quit”.

Diego Garcia on Courage and Grit

Scott: That’s a great reminder. Failing is okay, giving up is not. What helped you become courageous in the face of fear?
Diego: Stubbornness, probably. I thought to myself “this is what I want to do, and I’m not letting anything stop me”. And confidence. Before I started doing comedy, I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence in myself. But when I started doing it, and was actually pretty good, I started getting more and more confident in myself. That’s helped me be courageous.

Scott: How do you stay hopeful, resilient and gritty as you pursue your art?
Diego: I stayed resilient because I know that I’m where I’m at for a reason. I did something to get to where I’m at. It didn’t happen by accident, and it wasn’t luck. I put in the work to get where I am. And I know that I have to keep pushing. There’s still a long ways to go. I’ve accomplished a lot, but there still is a lot to accomplish

Scott: What would you say to encourage readers who are battling fear?
Diego: Keep fighting. It’s hard sometimes, but you have to keep fighting. And that can be the hardest thing, especially when you encounter setbacks. Sometimes you’ll feel like you want to quit, or give in to your fear, but you have to know within yourself that you can succeed. Even if no one else sees it for you, you must see it for yourself.
Fear is internal. There’s an old proverb that goes “defeat the enemy within. If you defeat the enemy within, then the enemy outside can do you no harm.” If you overcome your own fears, you can do anything. More times than not, we’re holding ourselves back more than any outside factors. Be confident in your own abilities and talents. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Diego, this is so good! Thank you so much for sharing with us!
Diego’s first show as a headliner is right around the corner. The show is Sunday, December 27, at 7pm at The Comedy Spot in Scottsdale, AZ. You can view the promotional poster below.
Diego Garcia
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