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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Demetri Martin in Canada

This press release just came through the teletype machine in the office. Thought you should be the second to know:


Stand-up Comedian Demetri Martin Announces His

“Telling Jokes in Cold Places 2012 Tour”

Los Angeles, CA. – Tuesday November 29, 2011 After being alive for decades, American stand-up comedian Demetri Martin launches his first official tour of Canada on January 5, 2012. Martin’s tour, titled “Demetri Martin 2012 Telling Jokes in Cold Places Tour”, will take him to six Canadian cities, including Vancouver on January 7, 2012 at The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts.

“I wanted to visit Canada during the coldest time of the year,” said Martin. “Canada excels at being cold, and I plan to take full advantage of that by seeing Canada at its best,” explained Martin from his warm and sunny apartment in southern California. “Sometimes you just get tired of enjoying very comfortable, pleasant, balmy weather,” he added. “It’s time to get my ass kicked by a Canadian winter.”

Martin’s live show will feature brand new jokes, drawings, incidental guitar playing and him walking back and forth on the stage a lot. “I have a lot of new material to share with the people of Canada – but just some of the people of Canada,” said Martin, adding, “This could end up being the best six-city-Canadian tour of the decade – if I don’t get screwed by weather delays.”

In the winter of 2004, Demetri visited Toronto as a staff writer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien, for a week of shows. During that visit, Martin promised himself that, eight years later, he would return with his own tour. And now, true to his word, eight years later, Martin returns with his own tour. “I’ve been meaning to tour Canada for a while,” explained Martin, “especially based on the five or six requests I’ve received on my Facebook page.” Demetri added, “I love Canada. Some of my favourite people are Canadian, including The Kids in the Hall, Eugene Levy, Joni Mitchell and Tim Horton. Plus, I’m really excited to go to Calgary, because if you rearrange the letters in that city’s name you get ‘Racy gal’.”

While Demetri is excited to return to Canada, he realizes that as an American, he represents the country that is responsible for both McDonald’s and the near total collapse of the world financial system. “Sorry,” he offered.

Originally from New Jersey, Martin rose to relative obscurity when he started doing stand-up comedy in small clubs in New York City. Later he became a writer at Late Night with Conan O’Brien and then a regular performer on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. After that, Demetri starred in his own series for Comedy Central called Important Things with Demetri Martin. Martin’s stand-up comedy special, Demetri Martin. Person. is considered by many to be his longest and only hour-long television stand-up special. He has appeared in movies as an actor, most recently in Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion and most lengthily in Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock. His first book, This Is A Book by Demetri Martin is a New York Times Best Seller, and it features a 500-word-long palindrome that is one of the longest in the English language.

Demetri has brown hair and he is allergic to peanuts.



January 7, 2012

Tickets: $39.50, $32.50 (taxes included plus applicable charges) go on-sale Friday, December 2 at 10:00 AM.

Tickets available at: Ticketmaster

by phone at 1-855-985-5000

online at

For more details and a list of other cities, go to

You can find Demetri Martin at, on Facebook at, on Twitter @demetrimartin, and in various places in the actual physical world.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Words of Wisdom

I've long marveled at the ability of beginning stand-up comics to ignore seasoned professionals. Even if they happen to be on the same show, you'll see the young'uns outside yakking with their fellow newbies while someone who knows what they're doing is on stage performing. And when visiting vets play a club in town, very rarely do the kids come and soak it in. There's lots to learn about crafting a set, working a crowd and even subtle physical movements. And you don't even have to like the pro's act because you can learn just as much in reverse, i.e. what you decide you don't want to do.

I was talking about this phenomenon a couple weeks ago with a comedy insider. The very next day I listened to WTF with Marc Maron, which itself is like a graduate study in comedy – any serious comedy fan needs to listen to every single one of his episodes, not just the ones with famous comedians or guests you like. The one that applies here is the Chris Rock episode. Early into the hour-long chat, Rock says essentially the same thing. And I quote (thus the quotation marks):
"I would get there early and watch all the comics. Kids today – because I'm that guy – I'm always telling guys, 'You guys don't watch.' When I go in the clubs, everybody's hanging out outside and shit. When I was coming up, whenever there was an empty seat... When the place got packed we got pissed because that meant some people had to wait outside. We watched every-fucking-body... Dude, I know so many people's acts. I know fucking every Dennis Wolfberg joke and every Joe Bolster joke and every Gary Lazer joke, and Mark Cohen and Jack Coen... I know all these guys' jokes, man. I know their acts inside and out. And I know Fred Stoller and Stu Trivax... I watched all these guys, just take it in, take it in, take it in."
Would Chris Rock be the comic he is today if he didn't absorb all these comics when he was starting out? We'll never know, but I doubt it. As Woody Allen's mom lectures him in Wild Man Blues, "Don't think for a moment that you are what you are by yourself. You're not. You had help."

And speaking of the Woodman, how great was it to hear Rock talk about him. You wouldn't think he'd revere Allen, but he does. He says, "He's my favourite. He's the best. Woody Allen's the best... He's the greatest comic mind in the last 100 years, since Chaplin. And who the fuck's been that funny that long? Who?!"

I posted a couple of videos here a while back taken from my VHS collection. I used to record any stand-up comic I'd see on TV. The first is a very, very young Chris Rock on Arsenio Hall's show. It was the first I'd ever heard of the guy. Watch it here:

The second is of Fred Stoller, who Rock mentioned on Maron's show a couple of times, also taken from Arsenio. Here's the link for that one:

Podcast episode 256ish: Jason Bryden

This podcast episode was a real yawner. But in a literal sense. It's just that Jason Bryden, father of a 22-month-old human boy, couldn't stop yawning. It was the latest he'd been up in a while. Or maybe it was the three gin & tonics. Either way, in this episode our hero bravely takes on an absent Doug Stanhope and relates how he told Marc Maron he was a dick. Plus we get to know the high school version of JB and learn what professional direction his own father tried pointing him in. It's a cram-packed, fun-filled WSF? you won't want to miss.

Your portal into Bryden's mind is at your fingertips below. Also at iTunes, where you can rate the show and leave a nasty comment. Don't be shy.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nov. 27: Bob Robertson

Happy Grey Cup Day, citizens of Canada. If you watch the big game today, no doubt you'll be sloshed because football and drinking go hand in hand (it's the only way to get through the endless stoppages). So here's a plan for you: Get hammered while cheering on your favoured team, pass out on the couch for a few hours, and wake up in time to tune in to What's So Funny? at 11. I'm more excited about this episode than I am about the fortunes of some thousandaires I don't even know. Why? Because we are welcoming back Mr. Bob Robertson!

Millions know Robertson as the taller half of Double Exposure, which entertained the nation for years on CBC radio and CTV television (they even did a number of podcast episodes which you can download at iTunes or on their website). For me, though, Bob was the subject of my boyhood man crush. He was the funniest weekend deejay I've ever heard in my life. He did the Saturday-Sunday noon-six pm slot and I'd listen religiously to his hilarious segments, like Little Mansion in Oak Bay, the Mouldy Oldie Music Vault and his chats with the likes of Old Ernie and Pierre Trudeau. If he were still doing radio, I'd still listen to radio. That's how great he was.

Bob's back in the WSF? studio as a published author this time around. Rather than moping around for the final twelve months our planet has left, Robertson is cashing in on our fears and anxieties with a book about the end of the world. It's called Mayan Horror: How to Survive the End of the World in 2012 (Anvil Press). Can't wait to hear all about it. And, of course, to reminisce. If we're lucky, maybe even his comedic (and personal) partner Linda Cullen – an author, too – will join us, too.

I'm not sure when the book is coming out but he's doing a reading at VIVO Media Arts Centre (1965 Main St.) on Tuesday at 7 pm and books will be available there. He might even sign one for you.

Meanwhile, tune in Sunday night from 11 to midnight to CFRO, 102.7 FM, livestream it online, or listen on Telus TV on channel 3718. So many options, so few excuses not to.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Podcast episode 255ish: Chris Gaskin

Here's an oldie but a goodie that dates back to all of two weeks ago. We missed getting it uploaded and on to your awaiting ears last week but it's here in all its glory for you this week. Young Chris Gaskin joined us in studio to talk about his youthful visage, his painful open heart surgeries, his foray into professional wrassling, and learning on the job in front of a national TV audience.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nov. 20: Jason Bryden

Look who's back! Why, it's none other than Jason Bryden, who's been with us a few times before but never under his own name in the credits. One time he was on as himself but the conceit was that he'd be interviewing me as I called in from the Just For Laughs festival. The last time he was on as Bev PoCock and was breaking up with comedy partner David Milchard as Chris Wes. I could swear he's been on other times, too.

But tonight it's all Bryden all the time. We'll talk to him about being a new, and expecting, father, about doing stand-up, about his numerous web series (The Acting Class and The Staff Room), about his new room at the Prophouse Cafe on Mondays at 9 (1636 Venables – I hear Glenn Wool is on tomorrow), about his desire to leave this podunk outpost for the bright lights of America, about his addiction to Twitter, and no doubt lots more.

We hit the air running at 11 pm. And if you're on Telus TV, I just found out CFRO, 102.7 FM, can be heard on channel 3718.

Now I'm off to attend some big playoff football game the Lions are hosting. If there's a riot, I'll let you know tonight.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

David Hasselhoff – comedian?

The Vancouver Comedy Festival should add a question mark to its name. While head honcho Will Davis brings in some great comedic names each year, he seems to be admitting that stand-up comedy doesn't put bums in seats. So he's perfected the art of the non-show show. Throw in a big-name celebrity with a sense of humour but no act and presto! – tickets sold! It all started with a disaster of a show featuring the Trailer Park Boys at the Vogue. Then a few years ago it was former stand-up Steve Martin sitting down and answering inane questions from an adoring crowd. Then former-sketch comic Carol Burnett did two shows two separate years doing essentially the same thing, sans act. This year he's got comedic actress Betty White, at 90 years of age, doing two "shows" the same night. I assume she'll be answering questions, too. The common denominator – buzz. Something stand-up comedy, apparently, can't create.

Well, the fest just announced another in a line of non-stand-ups: David Hasselhoff. No doubt he'll have a few jokes, maybe sing an intentionally horrible song or two. At least in this case he'll be surrounded by actual stand-up comics. The former YouTube star hosts the festival's Opening Night Gala, featuring an international array of comedians: Doug Benson, Howard Kremer, David O'Doherty, Vancouver's Paul Bae, Brad Williams, and Ian Edwards. It's all going down Feb. 16 at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nov. 13: Ryan Hamilton (repeat)

I'm away this week so we're running a repeat. Er, I mean a special encore presentation. There have been some really fun shows lately so it was hard to choose one. I decided to make it semi-timely. Ryan Hamilton is playing the Comedy MIX this weekend (and I'd totally be there if I were in town because the guy is hilarious). When he was here back in February, I dropped by his hotel room and recorded a show with him. So that's what we're running tomorrow night. You can go down to the 8 or 10:30 show at the MIX tonight, laugh at his jokes, then tune in on Sunday night at 11 to learn about the man behind the jokes and funny face. Oh yes, we talk about his face. Enjoy. We're back next Sunday with a live in-studio show when Jason Bryden drops by. Then the following Sunday we've got the legendary Bob Robertson back in studio!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Podcast episode 254ish: Steve Burgess

Last week's guest (and this week's podcast guest), Steve Burgess, was a real pro. The former radio deejay and current memoirist knows how to spin a yarn. So we talked about his new book, Who Killed Mom? (spoiler alert: it wasn't him), waxed poetic about reality TV in general and Jillian Harris in particular, discussed how bagels can be cute, and we touch on an old topic he was hoping would disappear. It's a bright and breezy hour with Greg Proops' doppelgänger.

Get this episode hot off the podcast presses right here by clicking on the link below. That'll play it for you immediately on your computer via a stream. But should you want to savour it, come and go at your leisure, you might want to head over to the iTunes store, search for 'What's So Funny?' and click on the one with my mug on it, then download the latest episode to your computer or iPod or MP3 device at no monetary cost to you whatsoever.

Nov. 6: Chris Gaskin

What time do you have? Did you remember to put your clocks back one hour last night? Hope so, otherwise you'll miss tonight's What's So Funny? at 11. Our guest is the youngest one we've ever had on. And if not, he's definitely the youngest-looking one we've had. But Chris Gaskin's no pushover, apparently. The kid is apparently a good wrestler and even "referees" pro-wrestling when not performing stand-up. We'll see if he can get out of my headlock. Besides being a young comic on the rise, he's also the publisher of the Gaskin Bugle. So we'll talk about all that and his health issues, comedy competitions and let him spew off on whatever's getting his goat these days (like all young men, he's known to have an opinion or two). Should be fun. Join us, won't you? We'll hit the air at 11 pm PST, or moments thereafter, at 102.7 FM in Vancouver or livestream the show at