Last night, I had the profound pleasure of attending a fabulous comedic event at the recently refurbished Grand Theatre in Kingston. Canadian stand-up comic Derek Edwards is certainly at the peak of his career and while I had seen him before in a brief set at the 1st Annual Toronto Just For Laughs in July 2007, where he had to share the stage with five other comedians plus gala host Craig Ferguson, all I could I remember thinking about him was that he was pretty good but sounded like he had post nasal drip!
As it says on his website (www.derekedwards.ca), Derek’s current tour, “It’s a Blunderful Life” encompasses “common sense and an inspired sense of the ridiculous – a potent combination for a night of great laughs.”
“A 14-year vet of the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and the only Canadian to win the prestigious Vail, Colorado, Invitational Comedy Competition, Edwards is universally considered to be among the top comics in the country. Certainly his peers think so, as evidenced by the fact that he’s a four-time nominee, and winner of Best Standup Comic – Canadian Comedy Awards, and by his Gemini nominations for Best Performance in a Comedy.” ~ Shantero Productions Inc. Media Release
The award-winning Derek Edwards took the stage promptly at 8:00 pm and for the next 90 minutes riffed effortlessly on everything that’s funny and relatable about being a Canadian, and in particular, an Ontarian. His accent is authentic, although I think he laid it on thick to pretend he’s less intelligent than he really is (Edwards is undoubtedly an extremely bright, Roadrunner-quick-witted man) and his pleasant face is capable of conveying every emotion imaginable. Originally from Timmins, Ontario, which he talked about in some detail, including his experience of being on “Pogie” (unemployment insurance) while living there; Derek is warm, personable, and seems thoroughly comfortable on stage.
He opened the show with a discussion about a recent news article that proclaims that British Columbia residents drink more alcohol (by 11 beers per year) on an annual basis than other Canadians and he thinks THAT’S JUST WRONG! He challenged Ontarians to step up to the plate and consume one more alcoholic beverage than normal so that we can lead this race!
He was very topical about current events, and covered everything from eating buffalo chicken fingers (“Chickalos”) for breakfast while being on tour and not really having any concept of what time it is; to travelling on the 401 and stopping in to the exquisite and legendary theme park that is The Big Apple; to the numerous disappointing betrayals of life which include being tricked into paying for things that he doesn’t really need, such as having to pay ridiculous vet bills for getting his dog neutered and then having the veterinary assistant suggest that he might want to buy fake, plastic testicles for the dog so it wouldn’t suffer from a lack of self-esteem after its traumatic experience at the animal hospital!
He takes every day things and occurrences that we are all familiar with such as the seasonal, greedy consumerism of chain stores and the fact that Shoppers Drug Mart asks its customers to do its Christmas shopping in a pharmacy; to how President Obama is doing during his first year in office; to the fact that Norwegians have 100 words for reindeer; to having his wife count the number of beers he drinks at a party; and connects with everyone on an emotional level that leaves them in stitches.
Kingston’s audience was so quick to get his jokes that on a couple of occasions he didn’t even have to finish them and exclaimed, “You are the best audience EVER!” He kept the entire crowd laughing non-stop and by the time I left, my face ached. In fact, I was the person to start the well-deserved standing ovation that proceeded.
I cannot recommend Derek Edwards highly enough for a night out that will guarantee you the best medicine that life has to offer: belly laughs a plenty!
Derek is at the Brockville Arts Centre tonight (Dec. 13, 2009) and at the Ottawa Centrepointe Theatre on Monday night (Dec. 14, 2009) and is on tour in Ontario until the 21st of December. If you have a chance to see this brilliant comic’s uproarious show, do NOT miss him!