WNYC Studios Presents “Scattered,” Special Six-Part Audio Memoir by Chris Garcia
(New York, NY—October 23, 2019) -- Today WNYC Studios debuts its first “audio memoir” “Scattered,” a six-episode podcast series tracing comedian Chris Garcia’s search to discover: Who was Andres Primitivo Garcia?
Like many comics, Garcia often drew material from his family for his standup sets, and for years, his father Andres had been the centerpiece of his act. But after his dad passed away in 2017 due to complications from Alzheimer’s, Garcia came to realize that the man who had inspired so much in his comedic life was actually a mystery to him.
Andres carried his wife’s purse when they went out, taught Garcia how to throw a knuckleball by age eight, and loved a good joke at Fidel Castro’s expense. But behind it all was a dark past that Garcia was always too scared to ask about. Andres was a Cuban refugee who survived Castro’s labor camps, then lost his way all over again in search of the American dream. Before he died, he asked that his ashes be scattered in Cuba. Garcia’s mother, Ana, has vowed to never go back to the country they fled 45 years earlier. So, for now, his father’s ashes are sitting on a closet shelf between a Paul McCartney record set and a Gremlins Gizmo mask. And while Garcia tries to convince his mom to fulfill his dad’s dying wish, he digs into the past of the man who took so many secrets with him.
“Scattered” features Garcia’s conversations with the people he hopes can illuminate the dark corners where his father’s secrets live, including:
- Ana, Garcia’s mother, and the love of Andres’s life for 53 years. About Cuba, she says, it’s “great for tourists, but immigrants and exiles just go back and see the family they left behind and the misery they live in. So, you return to the United States sadder than when you left.”
- Ada, Andres’s sister and best friend, who tried to free him from the labor camp
- Laura, Chris’s sister, who was born in Cuba
- Lillian, professor of Cuban history who has spent decades interviewing people who lived through the Cuban Revolution.
- Ernesto, a man who shares horrific stories about his time in a Cuban labor camp, similar to what Andres may have experienced
- Jennifer, a history professor who provides insight about Mazorra, the infamous psychiatric hospital in Havana
- Dino, Garcia’s therapist, who helps Garcia work through his feelings, and offers insight about trauma and memory
- Rodolfo, a salsa-singing pastor and recovering alcoholic who saved Andres’s life
True to the texture of Garcia’s family home, “Scattered” pulses with expressions of Cuban and Latin culture: free-flowing conversations that drift between English and Spanish; Cuban actors, including Emiliano Díez (Ray Donovan, NCIS, One Day at a Time) translating the Spanish conversations; music from Ecuadorian-American musician Helado Negro.
“Scattered” stands as a primer on grief, a history lesson, and a eulogy. With graceful humor and heartrending sincerity, the series offers a touchstone to all who are children of immigrants, have lost a parent, and then found them again after they’ve passed.
“There were so many things that I never got to ask my dad,” said Garcia. “If you’ve ever lost a parent, or anyone you’ve loved, you know what I’m talking about; all the unanswered questions they take with them when they die.”
“This is one of the most arresting podcasts we’ve ever developed at WNYC Studios,” says Paula Szuchman, Vice President of New Show Development who also serves as “Scattered’s” Executive Producer and Editor. “In six episodes, you hear the story of one man’s life and legacy, and of a son’s brave journey to honor him. It’s sad and life-affirming, and resonant for anyone who’s ever longed to be known.”
Garcia first started talking about Andres’s experiences with Alzheimer’s on This American Life, in a segment where he recorded the first time his dad couldn’t remember who he was. He continued on 2 Dope Queens in what he calls, “the best set of my life,” recorded six days before his father died. Robin Williams had called one of Garcia’s many sets about his dad, “beautiful, fearless, and straight from the heart.”
Episodes can be found at ScatteredPodcast.org each Wednesday through November 20. Each week the @ScatteredPodcast Instagram page will be updated to include original artwork and videos, photographs, memorabilia, and other ephemera from the Garcia family that coincide with that week’s episode.
ABOUT WNYC STUDIOS
WNYC Studios is the premier producer of on-demand and broadcast audio, home to some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed and popular podcasts, including Radiolab, On The Media, Nancy, Trump, Inc., The New Yorker Radio Hour, Death, Sex & Money, Snap Judgment, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin, and The Stakes. WNYC Studios is leading the new golden age in audio with podcasts and national radio programs that inform, inspire, and delight millions of intellectually curious and highly engaged listeners across digital, mobile, and broadcast platforms. Programs include personal narratives, deep journalism, interviews that reveal, and smart entertainment as varied and intimate as the human voice itself. For more information, visit wnycstudios.wnyc.org.