Interview with Erik Griffin : Ambiguous Ethnic Moving On Up

With the Just For Laughs Festival building up to the English week of insanity, some acts have already started trickling in and theme shows have started their run. Among them is the ever-popular Ethnic Show, this year hosted by Maz Jobrani and features a wonderful lineup made up of Erik Griffin, Elon Gold, Angelo Tsarouchas (read our interview HERE), Paul Varghese and Mike Marino.

I got to sit down and talk to the ambiguously ethnic Erik Griffin to speak about his career and experience at the festival between two years ago and this time around.

Mike Carrozza (MC): Hey Erik. Some people might know you as Montez from Workaholics. How has that changed things for you since being on the show?

Erik Griffin (EG): More people recognize me. but they don’t recognize me for stand-up which i’m working on. I can’t complain though, we’re going into season 5, so it’s going well.
It’s definitely a fun show. I can’t say I hate it, haha.

MC: We met two years ago in the green room for The Ethnic Show, when Godfrey and Orny Adams were on. We talked about how ethnic you were and how you should have been on the show.

EG: Well, the thing is I know all the guys who were on it, two years ago. I was like I wanted to be on the show with them. Plus then, I only had like three shows.

MC: But look at you now. You’re on the Ethnic Show.

EG: This year is different. I’ve got all the Ethnic Shows, I have a taping, I have two solo shows, I did the Midnight Surprise, so you know things change. It’s great.

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MC: They change for the better. Can you tell me a bit more about your experience at the Ethnic Show this year?

EG: Well I know all these guys and it’s just fun. Like the funnest part to me isn’t even the show, it’s the green room hanging with the guys, telling stories and stuff. That’s what the festival is all about to me. It’s like summer camp for comics. I get to know people that I don’t get to see around often or get to talk to a bunch. I mean you see your friends and then you make new ones. Just hang out and talk. I don’t normally get to see John Heffron around, but this festival I’m talking to him and he’s a good dude.

(At this point, John Heffron walks by)

EG: Haha, speak of the devil.

(John and Erik speak for a moment. His description of the festival being summer camp for comics is definitely true.)

MC: My favourite memory of you in the fest two years ago. Do you remember doing that tent show?

EG: (groan) Yeah.

MC: It was basically a tent full of kids and their parents. Mostly French. And nobody was doing all that well in the tent (and Jimmy Carr was one of them. WHAT!?). You looked at one kid in the front who was giving you nothing. You pointed at him and said checked this out, then used your palms to play a drum beat and did Push It (Salt-N-Pepa).

EG: Haha, yeah.

MC: When you were done, you asked him “Did you expect that shit?” and he was like “yeah.” Then you called him cocky. I laughed so hard. But now, you’re at the Metropolis.

EG: Yep, we’re at the Metropolis and it’s a real big venue. The crowds are… a little uptight sometimes, though.

MC: Let’s talk about the audiences!

EG: It’s still fun. What can you do? You just gotta break ‘em. I’m doing so many of these shows that I’m sure I’ll get it down to a formula or something. But for now it’s cool. I mean, I don’t mind when people are uncomfortable.I mean for some of the jokes, I almost need the audience to be offended. So it works out.

MC: You’ve got an album out, called Technical Foul Vol. 1.

EG: Yeah. It’s been out for a year a half. I don’t know when there’s going to be a Volume 2. it was just a joke to me, I thought it was funny to name it that, but now people always ask me when the second is coming. It just seemed like something fun to say. The next one might just be Volume 10.

MC: Haha. You’ve also got a solo show this year.

EG: That’s right. Two shows on the 21st and 22nd. At Theatre Sainte-Catherine. It’s a nice little room, but even with 30 people it feels big, so no matter what, the show’s will be fun.

And you can join in on the fun. See Erik at The Ethnic Show at Metropolis (59 St. Catherine E) on July 19th at 7pm and 9:30 pm, July 20th at 7pm, July 22 at 7pm, July 23rd at 7pm. Tickets are around $50-60 depending on reservations and table size.

And his solo show at Theatre Sainte-Catherine (264 St. Catherine E) on July 21st and 22nd at 9pm. $20 for this one!
Tickets are available HERE.