North Texas Daily

Laughing through the pain

Laughing through the pain

English junior Angel Garcia has been performing his comedy routine at open mics for about three months. Ranjani Groth | Staff Photographer

Laughing through the pain
November 10
00:06 2015

UNT student works to bring joy through jokes as he battles depression

Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer



English junior Angel Garcia spends his Thursday nights making people laugh.

For the past three and a half months, Garcia has been making his way into the world of comedy by participating in open mic nights at the White House, an espresso and beer venue located on Bryan Street. While some people dream of becoming a doctor or a teacher, his desires involve more unique ventures.


Up and coming local comedian Angel Garcia takes his coffee very seriously. Ranjani Groth | Staff Photographer

“Comedy is something I always wanted to do,” Garcia said. “I always told myself that there were always two dreams I had: to either be a luchador or a comedian. Since I am out of shape and bruise easily though, I decided to be a comedian.”

Garcia spent his childhood and teenage years watching and studying comedians like George Lopez, Louis C.K. and Bill Burr. As he grew up, he also became more interested in the comedy techniques of podcasts, namely “The Nerdist.”

He said he recently decided to start actively pursuing comedy because of the motivation and inspiration he found within various podcasts.

“In ‘The Nerdist’ they always say, ‘Just go and do the thing,’” Garcia said. “Go and have fun. Go do whatever your dream of doing. It is better to do whatever it is you want and fail than it is to never do it and wonder.”

Although Garcia’s career revolves around laughter, he said he has dealt with a lifelong battle with depression. He said keeping up with comedy and other everyday obligations while facing depression can be quite a challenge.

“I suck at balancing it all,” Garcia said. “I deal with my depression all the time, and whoever says it is a beautiful thing is full of it.”

He referred to a popular meme featuring a dog sitting in the middle of a coffeehouse that’s completely consumed in flames. But a speech bubble coming from the dog’s mouth reads, “This is fine.”

“That’s my life right now,” he said. “But comedy gives me some motivation to keep pushing.”

One person who is also motivating Garcia through everything is his girlfriend, English junior Amy Viña. Viña said she tries to go to as many of Garcia’s sets as she can, but she gets to see more behind the scenes.

“Most of the time, he practices his jokes on me and we work on them together,” Viña said. “He has always been funny and was kind of a class clown in high school. Angel is a really creative, multi-dimensional person, so I think comedy is just another medium for him.”

Garcia said comedy is not as simple as getting onstage and making people laugh. The challenges that come with being a comedian can become a lot to handle, especially with depression.

Writing jokes takes a lot of time and concentration, which Garcia has to find the time to do between his jam-packed schedule. He also said every time he performs, he faces a wave of nerves, the possibility of bombing in front of the audience and the paralyzing fear that his jokes won’t garner any laughs.

English junior Angel Garcia has been performing his comedy routine at open mics for about three months. Ranjani Groth | Staff Photographer

English junior Angel Garcia has been performing his comedy routine at open mics for about three months. Ranjani Groth | Staff Photographer

“When you’re giving a speech, for example, it is the audience’s job to listen to you,” Garcia said. “You have all their attention. However, in comedy, the audience doesn’t have to listen. Your goal is to get them to laugh and have a good time. I’ve had to learn from my mistakes and grow.”

According to Jonathan Dollery, Garcia’s manager at his job with Best Buy, the comedian does a great job of drawing audiences in with personal connections, rather than racy jokes or inappropriate behavior.

“Angel is passionate about people,” Dollery said. “He is extremely culturally-minded towards the audience and does his best to create a more well-rounded approach to comedy.”

Although he has been performing for a few months, Garcia said he is already excited to take his comedy to the next level. This Wednesday, Nov. 11, he plans to release his first podcast, “The Enemy Vaccine.” Garcia said he has been working on the podcast for a while and is excited to share it.

He said he drew a lot of inspiration from his favorite podcast, “Wrestling with Depression,” by Chicago comedian Marty DeRosa. The podcast, which talks about everything from depression to Garcia’s favorite wrestler, is tailored to his interests.


English junior Angel Garcia writes his jokes and ideas in a small, black notebook. Ranjani Groth | Staff Photographer

“My podcast is about depression but with a storytelling twist. I feel like there’s really not a lot aimed towards college students regarding depression, so the goal is to educate people and help them understand what it is,” Garcia said. “You hear a lot about depression when someone famous suffers or dies from it, but it kind of fades out a little after a while.”

Although he hopes to someday travel the world sharing his jokes with thousands of people, he said right now he is happy to just be in Denton taking things one day at a time.

“Inciting a positive reaction out of a group of people makes me feel so good,” Garcia said. “A lot of the time, people with depression are the most outwardly happy because I think we know what it is truly like to be sad. So I am constantly trying to make everyone else not feel as sad as I have felt. It’s like, ‘No, you don’t want this pain and sadness, so here’s a fart joke instead.’”

Featured Image: English junior Angel Garcia has been performing his comedy routine at open mics for about three months. Ranjani Groth | Staff Photographer

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