Published Apr 30, 2014Sometimes it's easy to spot comedians that get on stage because their friends tell them they should. They can be the life of the party, able to spin a yarn that grabs the attention of an entire room. With everyone in stitches, they take it to heart when someone says "You should totally do stand-up, man... you're hilarious!" Most find out quickly this does not a comedian make, and they usually go down in flames, never to visit a stage again. This is not the case with Toronto's Fraser Young.
Young succeeds in an arena that is arguably the toughest for comedians — storytelling. There are no pithy one-liners in his repertoire. On his sophomore CD, Food, Medicine & A Surprising Amount of Math, his signature frantic pace provides the listener with a glimpse of his life and the folly that surrounds him. Occasionally, he himself is the source of that folly, but it's almost always relatable and the key is in his delivery. The hardest part about story-based humour can be taking the audience with you, and Young has mastered this. If his tales are entirely scripted, they all appear to be spontaneous, without the "um's" and "ah's" you might expect in between.
Young's storytelling delivery doesn't focus on the extraordinary, but the slightly mundane. You wouldn't think a story about him questioning the consumability of some potentially spoiled meat, or a cashier requesting exact change, would be funny. But when Fraser Young tells it, it simply is, and these are some of his best bits. If I had to pick a favourite, however, it would be a piece entitled "Brownie." Pot rooms, you see, are quite popular in Toronto, albeit challenging (more than you might think). When Fraser is compensated for his set with pot brownies — "Which is not the case here at the club, they have this paper money system, but hey, whatever works" — he decides to eat one before a 30-minute subway ride to a party. Logically, by the time he arrives: party time. As he boards, he meets a friend of his parents, and by the end of the ride... well, let's just say it's storytelling gold. (Comedy Records)