Interview with Marty Topps : Never Without a Keytar

Live at the Rotary Club. Marty Topps. Live at the Rotary Club. Marty Topps.

I saw Marty Topps‘ (a.k.a. Isaac Winter) show Live at the Rotary Club at Sketchfest earlier this year and it was awesome. The premise is that sad-sack Marty has paid his wife an absurd amount of money to sit on stage as he serenades her in the hopes that she does not leave him. He is patently ridiculous and pathetic and earnest in his attempt to save his marriage and his keytar-accompanied meltdown is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Angela Potvin (AP):  How would you describe a Marty Topps show to someone who has never seen you before?

Isaac Winter (IW): It’s loud and has lots of songs. It’s fun. He’s a song and dance man. There’s keytar and synthesizers. I tell people that it’s silly, disgusting and sad. Yeah, that sounds like me.

AP: How did you create this character?

IW: I’ve always performed under this name since I’ve started with comedy. I’m still developing the character, really. When I started working on the album in January, I was working with a co-writer, Adam Kemp, and we decided to really develop the character then, to think of his past and his backstory. Adam’s an old high school friend. He shot my video and we write together but he never performs. He’s shy.

AP: I saw you at Sketchfest this year. Has the show changed at all from that performance?

IW: It’s pretty similar but more expanded. We have an hour to play with, so we have an opener and I have multi-media stuff, so it’s a more immersive experience. There will still be tacos and Jean Pants.

AP: When you are not embodying Marty, what other kind of work are you doing?

IW: This is all that I do. I also host a show as Marty Topps in Toronto called Human Life is Worthless with a collective of comedians. I do a stand-up comedy competition. I control a troll who then rates comedians with me out of ten. There’s song and dance and it’s a lot of fun. The troll is played by Tim Gilbert, who is one of the best comedians in Toronto and he is currently doing a showcase at Just For Laughs at Comedy Night in Canada.   

AP : What’s next for Marty Topps? Does Jean Pants ever come around?

IW: I’m not sure if she will come around, but we are working on a new album that will come out in the summer or the fall and are working on new shorts. I’m also doing lots of live shows.

AP: When your new record comes out, are you coming back to Montreal?

IW: Of course! I love Montreal. You’ve been very kind to me.

You will regret missing the absurdity in action, so get yourself to La Vitrine (corner St-Laurent and Ste-Catherine) and get your tickets to his show. As always, Zoofest shows have no tickets available at the door, so plan ahead, as there might be some serious line-ups to contend with.

For a preview, check out his bandcamp here.

Marty Topps Live from the Rotary Club is at Theatre St. Catherine (264 St. Catherine E)  from July 30 to August 1 at 11:30 p.m. $21. Tickets can be purchaesd at La Vitrine. Tickets are also available here