Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Despite the absence of Eddie Brill it was a great weekend at the Comedyworks. Most exciting is that the new stuff has been on fire. Last Monday’s open mike only added to the list. And the main entity to thank for the influx of inspiration is our little baby-to-be, whom we have dubbed, “The Who”.

I have never been that keen about using family as fodder for material, despite having a very funny family. The main reason is that most family stuff is anecdotal, requiring a bit of storytelling, which is not one of my strengths in terms of stand-up. I tend to like the quicker, observational, and often “out there” material. That stuff interests me more, and it generally comes out in a rhythm in which I’m comfortable.

Also, I kind of like keeping the family stuff at home, private. My stage-time is my unique “David-thought” time, and I’d just as soon leave Mom and Dad and the bee-in-the-car story for the gatherings and parties where we’ve laughed about it a million times before.

Keeping work and family separate has always made me happiest. So why am I writing so many jokes about the Who?

Including Monday’s wildly successful open mike, I’ve added the following titles to the set list in the last week or so: FORESKIN, BLACK, INDUCE, TATTOO, NIPPLES, NAMES, KICK, and ALIEN. There have been other new jokes that have got me excited, but those eight titles represent eight new bits that are purely Who-related. In the last week!

To give that a little perspective: for me, adding ten new jokes to the set-list is a good YEAR! I write more than ten a year, but it’s rare that, by year’s end, they hold up as permanent additions to the repertoire. So ten is a very good year.

Even if half of those eight new bits fall by the wayside, which is likely, I’ve fulfilled nearly half my yearly quota in the last week, just because of Who.

And the kid’s not even born yet!

So why am I suddenly opening up my personal life? And does this mean I’m going to be using this baby as a prop for here on in? Have I gone from distant, cerebral man to loveable, accessible family guy?
Part of the satisfaction of the new stuff has been that most of it has been unconventional in the manner to which I am accustomed. It’s been quirky, heady, and some of it has been downright shocking. BLACK, especially, is shaping up to be a good one. At least one crowd this weekend fell silent with unease and some tentative moral outrage before the punchline blew their tension wide open. That stuff is a blast, particularly ‘cause it ain’t cute.

But for all the creativity and crazy left turns which I enjoy so much, something else seeped into the material this past weekend as I discussed my future offspring. There was this strange element of sincerity. Friday night I spotted another expecting couple in the crowd, and started talking to them about their baby. And we were both excited just talking about it, and I imagine the audience could see that. And before I knew it I was talking about our trip to the OGBYN that morning, and hearing the baby’s heartbeat, and then, BOOM! I nailed a punchline that ripped the room up. Jokes pulled out of simple conversation, a classic maneuver from the Joey Elias playbook. It was organic, spontaneous and from the heart. That anecdote is now in the set as an official bit (officially integrated last night with great success). For those keeping track, it is called ALIEN.

If referencing the Who continues to give me a jolt of humanity that strengthens my connection with the crowd, that’s great news. That connection actually frees me up to be as quirky and strange as I like. Win-win. And from that openness and freedom, there’s no telling what comedic gems may surface.

Maybe I’m exploiting Who a little bit for personal gain, but it’ll be getting its share of the royalties (and most of my shares too, I suspect).

So I’m doing family material. And I like it. I guess having a kid really does change you.

Who knew?

Friday, February 09, 2007


Just announcing that Eddie Brill cancelled this weekend at the Comedyworks, so now we've got a little impromptu Montreal show instead. Acts include Joey Elias, David John McCarthy, and Wafik Nasralla on Friday, and Mike Paterson and Ryan Wilner on Saturday. Yours truly will be kicking around, both nights, still working the new stuff, which has been doing quite well for the most part (the least part being a couple of befuddled stares from the audience, but such are the growing pains of the evolving set).

Actually I'm about to go listen to the tape of last night's set, which overall was very fun. It was a great crowd for a benefit for orphans in Uganda. Always nice to do things for the children.

Speaking of which, listened to the baby's heartbeat again this morning, and last night I felt it move for the first time (!).

Life is cool.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


There's going to be some sort of fundraiser at JIMBO'S COMEDYWORKS this coming Thursday. There's going to be a whole whack of comics from both Montreal and out of town.

I'm closing it up.

I'll be trying some of my recent open mike stuff mixed with golden oldies. Come see if the chemistry is comedy gold or blows up in my face!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

(or: CAN I GET AN "AWWW...-MEN"?)

This is Cameron. He is the baby of my sister, Kim, and her spousal Scotsman, Russell. They recently returned to their home in England after a lengthy visit over much of December and January.

One of the highlights of my holiday was New Year’s Eve. Not just because of a successful stand-up gala that evening, which certainly ended the year on a happy note, but because of my nephew’s baptism earlier that Sunday. The astute Unprejudician may recall my entry from October 11th where I was concerned about being a suitable godfather for little Cameron. My main reservation was that I am not very religious and in fact have been feeling quite hostile towards institutionalized religion as a whole.

Well, I guess my inner agnostic took a secular holiday, 'cause the baptism had me looking up and feeling blessed. Between the music, the ceremony, and the great baby that was the center of it all, it was hard not to be in high spirits. Props to soloists Jessica Wise and Reg Fergus. Reg has been the main reason I attend the Christmas Eve service for the past 20 years, as his rendition of “O Holy Night” is oh-so-holy. For the baptism he went slightly more secular but no less magical with “What a Wonderful World”. Can’t go wrong with Satchmo.

The whole event had many moved to tears and certainly pinned a smile to my face. Seeing Cameron, a doughy ball of hope and goodness, made me look very much forward to Michelle’s and my own impending bundle. And deep inside I found myself thanking God.

I don't mean the God that's been used by leaders to control the world for centuries. I still don’t believe in a God that threatens with hellfire, or bribes with virgins, or demands that we sacrifice foreskins or comfortable summer attire or pork chops. I don’t believe in any God that would have us kill in His name. For that matter I think the world would be so much better if we dropped the whole notion that humans have to do His will at all. The guy’s omnipotent. He doesn’t need us. So if you’re going to burn books, bash gays or insist that humans evolved from a rib, quit playing the “God's will” card and admit that either you’ve got some personal gripes with this stuff or you're just comfortable following orders.

Nah, I just believe in the God that makes babies possible. The one who gives us not just the ability to whip one up on demand, but better still the ability to look at an infant and get that mushy feeling. The feeling that lets us willingly toss our dignity out the window in the hopes of maybe making the critter smile. The feeling that makes us view festivities that should honestly scream of hokey-ness but instead feel just perfect. Cameron’s baptism was perfect. A veritable slam dunk.

The event didn’t make me born again or anything. It just made me happy that things get born. Whoever pulls the strings that make that happen, that’s the guy I want to thank. For letting me be born in a world that's given me family, friends, good times and, of course, pork chops.

Here’s one more picture of my godson and his mom.

Thanks, G.