Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Just a note to say, after years and years and summer after summer in Montreal, I am finally taking the plunge by taking part in the Montreal Fringe Festival. 

It’ll be a one-man show entitled “David Pryde’s Tete Offensive”, featuring some of my more sensitive material for the last little while. This has been in the back of my mind since 2004, when I got my first official criticism for crossing the line following my Auschwitz joke at a Just for Laughs gala. Since then, I’ve been trucking along doing my normal observational stand-up, when once in a while I have an “Auschwitz” moment where I think of an idea that’s really risky, but potentially funny, and I try it out and find out it’s got some legs, not to mention some really good laughs.

The problem is, in your average set, these jokes risk being jarring compared to the rest of the material, meaning unless I’m riding a pretty good wave of approval it can lead some audience members to jump off-board. In recent years I’ve gotten better at navigating that, easing into dark territory a little more gracefully than at my 2004 gala (if I recall correctly my lead-in to “Auschwitz” was a witty one-liner and some jokes about the dictionary). It's my hope that, with them all in one place, and the audience suitably warned, folks'll relax their minds and go with the flow.

So this will be a bunch of my favourite jokes about religion, racism, and saying things you shouldn’t say. They’ve all been factory-tested in comedy clubs over the years, so you know that many upright citizens have laughed at them. Their other interesting distinction: I’m pretty sure almost all of them have prompted at least one objection, either aimed at me onstage, offstage, online or, as noted in a previous post, to club management. But these objections have been few and far between and in my opinion were, at best, debateable and, at worst, drunk and douchey. 

And just to stress, these are jokes constructed the same way I construct any other “inoffensive” jokes. An idea occurs to me, I find a set-up, a punchline, get a laugh. This isn’t about going out there and shocking for the sake of being shocking or upsetting people and then daring them to deny my freedom of speech or stuff like that. In these Twitter-rage/Charlie Hebdo times, the lines tend to blur between humour and confrontation and satire and political statements and so forth. 

Basically, in my perfect world, no one will be offended by my show at all. They’ll simply “get” what I’m shooting for and see the same funny angles I do. But the subject matter means some folks might not be comfortable with everything I say. In those instances, I invite them to sit patiently, not take anything personally (for themselves or, as is popular nowadays, on someone else’s behalf) and wait till the next bit, ‘cause the next one’ll probably mock something that you don’t give a crap about. So you can laugh away, your worldview unmolested. 

Here’s what my press release about the show says. Here’s hoping folks will come out and have a look for themselves.


David Pryde’s Tete Offensive

Written by David Pryde
Off-Fringe Venue: Theatre St. Catherine - June 10th-June 21st, various times

On the heels of his second comedy album (“Sight Gags”) and his second nomination for best male comic at the Canadian Comedy Awards, Montreal’s most straight-laced stand-up wanders to the edges of tact and taste in his Fringe Festival debut!

During a televised Just for Laughs gala, a joke about the Aushwitz gift shop earned David Pryde the derision of critics and left the comedian wary of ever again crossing the line. And yet time and again this naive, well-meaning white-boy-in-the-woods can’t help thinking about the questions that nobody wants to ask:

-Why do gay men sound different in prison? 
-What’s the ultimate slur for Racist Scrabble? 
-What’s the worst that can happen if I show this cartoon?

The answers to these (first two) questions, and many more, are explored in a multimedia extravaganza complete with slides, video and good ol’-fashioned live joke-telling. From his infamous gift shop gag to more recent meditations on taboo topics, experience one comedian’s most provocative, polarizing and “all right, that’s pretty funny” jokes told over the years, now wrapped up in one sensational show. Are you ready to go tete-a-tete with David Pryde? Then let’s begin the offensive...

Clever and thoughtful with a blindsiding edge, David Pryde has successfully not offended audiences in the U.S., U.K., Australia and all across Canada, where he’s performed in 4 Just for Laughs galas, 20 episodes of CBC Radio’s The Debaters, and has been nominated twice for Best Male Stand-Up at the Canadian Comedy Awards. His backstage credits include writing material for Triumph the Insult Comic Dog at the XXX Ultimate Nasty Show Gala celebrating the Just for Laughs Festival’s 30th anniversary.

NOTE: This show is not for individuals under 18 years of age and contains material some may find grounds for hyper-inflated self-righteousness.

“Pryde is a very likeable, audience friendly comic who immediately gets you on his side. That he is able to cover a wide swath of material so effortlessly means you are guaranteed a good evening's entertainment.” -Richard Lanoie, theseriouscomedysite.com 

Off-Fringe Venue: Theatre St. Catherine, 264 St. Catherine Street East

June 11th - 8:00pm / June 13th - 10:45pm / June 14th - 9:00pm / June 16th - 10:45pm
June 17th - 5:30pm / June 19th - 5:30pm / June 20th - 3:45pm / June 21st - 7:15pm

TICKETS: $10 (+ $2 service charge)
514-849-FEST  /  www.montrealfringe.ca

Media Contact: David Pryde - 514-894-9805 - david@davidpryde.com
www.davidpryde.com - @davidprydejokes - #teteoffensive