Published Jul 31, 2017Canadian summer is almost over! Laugh away the pain with us and also three hilarious comedians who know this country all too well.
Canada's only exclusive stand-up and sketch comedy label, Comedy Records, has teamed up with Exclaim! to launch the Comedy Records Showcase, which takes place on the first Thursday of every month at Wenona Lodge (1069 Bloor St. W) in Toronto. Showtimes are at 9 pm sharp!
Our August 3 edition features Faisal Butt, Carina Morton and Dan Galea. Each of them were gracious enough to let us pry into their private lives so we could all get to know them better.
Faisal Butt is originally from Montreal but has lived in Toronto for seven years. He's toured all over Canada and plans to record an album in September, which you can learn more about when his site is updated.
Butt says he has been a standup fan forever. "My introduction was taking a British Airways Flight to Pakistan and they had a standup station and I listened to it the entire flight," Butt recalls. "It was 1989 and I was only 11, but I was hooked. I do remember vividly a bit by Ellen DeGeneres about parking that I would recite word for word, though nobody in Karachi would know what I was talking about. But I was hooked.
"Years later on CBC, it would be Canadian comics Russell Peters and Brent Butt who started to give me hope that I could do it," Butt explains. "Obviously Russell was an Indian guy and that blew my mind and Brent had the same last name as me and so then I knew I could do it. Years later I got to open for Russell in Kingston in an arena, so it was a weird full circle thing, opening for the guy that inspired me to start standup almost 11 years later.
"He was very nice but I don't think he liked my set."
When asked to describe his current act, Butt suggests that the many people who assume he might delve into jokes about being Muslim are wrong.
"My act could be described as 'slacker ex-Muslim,'" he says. "I smoke weed, I drink Jamesons, my girl is white, and I'm not sure about religion anymore. I also have a two-year-old now so it's me discovering the world through her eyes. I never do jokes about the Indian accent; it's been done and I'm not shining any light or insight on it."
As an Edmontonian originally, Toronto's Carina Morton knows a thing about stereotypes and that thing is that they're true.
"My hometown informs a lot of my standup because 'Berta is full of pickup trucks driven by assholes," she says. "Sorry, I know I know: 'not all truck drivers.' So, a lot of my material is informed by gross stuff that is said or hilariously uncomfortable interactions."
Morton got into comedy by playing hooky from school and watching Kids in the Hall reruns with her dad and also Comedy Now! standup specials. She only discovered live, local standup around four years ago.
"I went to a show in Edmonton, and I loved it. I idolized everyone and seeing people riff and make jokes seemingly appear out of thin air. So I kept going back to that show every week. I learned about other shows to see at the clubs and at other bars. Pretty soon I was going to watch five shows a week. And every week that I went, I started thinking of things that happened to me and how to make them funny. And then I got my first set a year later.
"If you haven't seen me, please understand that I use potty language and I accidentally wrote a bunch of blow job jokes a year ago and I won't stop telling them," Morton explains. "I also don't like to make jokes about anyone's experience other than my own. I do like the idea of the 'PC world' that's emerging because it's nice to learn a new language and make comedy fun for everyone."
Toronto's Dan Galea can relate to this notion of comedy serving as something of a social entry point.
"Living in Oakville isn't very exciting," he says, reflecting upon his upbringing in the Toronto suburb. "The only things to do really are park at a Tim Hortons and talk to your friends in your car, go to a movie, go to the lake and smoke weed. So it left a lot of time to get into mischief.
"I think a lot of that stuff led to funny and unexpected circumstances and my particular group of friends were a bunch of goofballs, so comedy played a big part in entertaining each other," Galea recalls. "It seemed like the funnier you were, the more respected you were."
Galea hosts an online talk show called The DG Special, which soon returns for a third season after a hiatus (you can watch all past episodes on Dan's website). He also co-hosts the Garage Show with Helder Brum, which literally takes place in a garage on random Fridays.
"When I started doing comedy I was really into sketch comedy," Galea says of his multi-faceted approach. "I was a founding member of the Sketchersons and have done a lot of sketch since then. When I started doing standup, I really felt more comfortable doing things that were weird and more sketch-y on stage. Now I have a mix of songs, actual stories from my life, and kind of sketch-y act outs.
"My main goal is to be as silly as possible and hopefully make some kind of point in there, although it may be hard to find."
A ten-dollar ticket includes a pint of Steamwhistle; you can buy tickets in advance here.