Chris Fleming Interview: Lipstick on a Showpig

Chris Fleming. Chris Fleming.

I am really excited about Chris Fleming being in town, and you should be too. An accomplished stand-up with a dance and theatre degree, this youtube star has a great understanding of joke structure, music and movement, which adds a rare coherence in his use of absurdity, infusing a certain depth to his work. Fleming is bloody hilarious and his mix of wit and goofy physicality will charm you to bits. He was generous enough with his time to chat with me for a bit.

Angela Potvin (AP): What got you started in video work?

Chris Fleming (CF): I started in high school with my other dweeby friends and while I was never that into it, they led the charge and I ended up enjoying it. In the end, I would really commit to it, getting sick from standing in the rain and all kinds of nonsense. Also, when I started doing stand-up in LA, I quickly realized that it’s not the ’80s anymore, started turning characters into videos and, yeah, desperation… desperation led me to youtube, pretty much as it leads most people. Except for those hot dads that wake up their family for 3 a.m. videos. They are just another breed…

AP: So I first came across your work with the Video ‘I’m Afraid to Talk to Men.’ A lot of your work deals with gender and masculinity. Is this something that you are thinking of a lot these days?

CF: Ooooooh… Crossing on the binary canoe, getting deep are we? It’s what was on my mind that day. I was terrified of going to this family BBQ and I was anxious about talking to dudes. A really masculine ’80s roadhouse rock song came on the radio and I thought it would be funny to put my fears to song. That video was basically me spewing my insecurities. I was raised with women, communally, with my female cousins and a sister and was basically raised as a girl…so yeah.

AP: What are we dealing with in your solo show, Showpig?

CF: It’s lighthearted. There’s song, dance, a long story about the time that my dad told my soccer coach that he loved him, polyamory, a Korean spa day gone awry… all kinds of fun stuff.

AP: Is it your first time in Montreal? What are you looking forward to seeing and doing here?

CF: I went once when I was in middle school and we had penpals and mine was 28 or 30 years old and other people had 6th graders. Mine looked like a messed up Christina Aguilera, it was just really weird. This time, I am excited. I am going to see shows at the festival and see Montreal a bit and kick up my French a couple of notches. I am going to wish someone a “bon weekend” and I am going to end up skinny dipping in poutine. That’s how I plan on spending my time in Montreal.

Don’t miss out. This is a one night only affair and you will kick yourself if you don’t make it. See you at the theatre. Showpig is playing as part of the Just for Laughs Festival, on Thursday, July 27 at 9:30PM at Maison Theatre (245 Ontario St E), more details available here. Just for Laughs continues until July 31.