Not to be a downer, but summer is ending. The days may still be warm, but it’s time to bring your nighttime activities indoors. Time to dig out your socks and jean jacket, along with some kind of jazzy accent scarf and figure out your weekend plans. In a city like Montreal, your choices are vast. Perhaps the cozy comfort of an intimate comedy club appeals to you? If yes, then head on over to the ComedyWorks on Bishop to check out local boy Andrew Searles, who headlines Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
A comedian’s greatest asset is tenacity. It’s a tough industry; you fight for stage time, for publicity and for bigger, broader audiences. Persistence pays off, something Searles learned two years ago. After years of performing across Canada, Andrew felt his time to headline his hometown of Montreal was due. After being told he “wasn’t ready” by various club owners, Andrew single-handedly put on his own headlining comedy show called “C’est Moi! C’est Chocolat!” in March of 2013. His self-promotion paid off – Searles appeared on CTV, CBC and the Montreal Gazette and sold over 400 tickets, selling out 4 out of 5 of his headlining shows.
This weekend, Searles is back with a variation of this show, called “C’est Moi! C’est Papa Chocolat!” The title has to do with the fact that so many of Andrew’s friends are settling down and becoming fathers – a topic this self-confirmed bachelor touches on in his show. I spoke with Andrew about the ups and downs of being a comedian and asked him his thoughts on one day becoming a father himself. Here’s what he had to say:
Andrea Stanford (MR): Your show touches on what it’s like to be single while most of your friends are entering fatherhood. Are you single by choice or because you haven’t found the right woman yet?
Andrew Searles (AS): Little bit of Column A. Little bit of Column B. Single by choice in the aspect of “I want this career to work for me. This is what I want in my life. This is what makes me happy, and everything else falls secondary to it.” I know too many people that had passions and dreams and then got into a relationship, and the relationship became a commitment, which became marriage, which became a family, and their hopes and dreams went the way of the dinosaur. I just want to be 110% focused on this and have as little distractions as possible. However at the same time, I’ve yet to meet someone that has wowed me off of my feet yet, so until that happens….
MR: Would you like to become a father one day? If yes, what advice would you give him/her if they eventually wanted to get into stand-up?
AS: I would love to be a father one day. I really don’t feel like cutting the grass forever! Someone’s gotta take over those responsibilities at some point! As for advice: Be a doctor, or lawyer, or anything else but this. Comedy is hard and the business and sometimes a lot of the people are cruel, unfair, and untrustworthy. But, if it’s something you want to do, you have my support to pursue it. But after you cut the grass
MR: You’ve been quoted as saying “The audience controls the show.” Have you ever had a grumpy audience you just couldn’t turn around?
AS: Definitely! You’d think people paying to come to a comedy show would be in the mood to laugh. Unfortunately that’s not always the case. I’m not talking about the audiences I didn’t win over, I’m talking about the audience that don’t want to be won over by anybody on the show. As a comic I try to do my best to turn it around and actually get them invested in the show, but after a certain point my mind switches and goes “Well, you paid to come here and if you want to stay miserable? Fine with me,” and I just leave them at that. I do my job and I leave. If they come around they come around but I did my best (for the time I was on stage). I can only do so much to crack an audience but if they don’t want to be cracked and open up, there’s nothing I or any comic on the show can do.
MR: Why is a venue like ComedyWorks such a preferred spot for comedians?
AS: Intimacy. Intimacy creates a connection between the comedian & audience. The closer you are to the audience on stage, the easier it is to create a rapport with them. The ComedyWorks has that major advantage of holding 100 people but still keeping that intimacy alive enough for everybody there to get really close and involved with the performers on stage. That’s why comics from all over North America love the club because of that same intimacy.
Check out Andrew Searles at ComedyWorks (1238 Bishop St) on September 24 (8:30pm) or 25 and 26 (8:30 & 10:30pm). Tickets $15. For reservations: www.comedyworksmtl.ca