Entertainment Local

Edwards brings comedic break from reality

By Josh Aldrich, Camrose Canadian

Canadian comedian Derek Edwards will be performing at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre on June 13. Supplied

Canadian comedian Derek Edwards will be performing at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre on June 13. Supplied

In a world full of political angst and drama, Canadian comedian Derek Edwards promises a break from reality by taking jabs at our reality.

Edwards is bringing his unique brand of observational humour to the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed performing Arts Centre on June 13 as part of his All's I'm Saying tour. While political climates north and south of the border provide low hanging fruit for comedians, Edwards has the view that the world does not need to be so serious al the time.

"I can't make a whole segment of my show about it because we don't deserve it, we deserve something more lighthearted," he said. "It's escapism, you're not there for a big dose of reality, not from me I hope."

Besides, he says he can't compete with the like of a Stephen Colbert or John Oliver who have teams writing material around the clock for them.

Edwards, instead, has made a career out of cracking jokes about every day life. His show is never set in stone and in fact changes every night, depending on what he has cone across or the people he has talked too during the day. Sometimes it's the best way to stay alert when driving half a day between shows on his tour.

"If you can't see something funny thing on the road in 13 hours, you're not alive anymore," he said.

There is a process to it, however. It's not just a matter of going up on stage and regurgitating what he saw throughout the day. It's picking out the absurdity of the mundane and finding the proper way to deliver a new joke to a crowd, and often times it takes some massaging. One of his favourite jokes is about getting stuck behind a house on a trailer on a two lane road going 10 kilometres per hour. At first the punch line was and agoraphobic house on holiday, and try as he might he couldn't get anyone to crack laugh. But when he changed holiday to vacation, rooms started erupting.

"How arbitrary is that?" he said.

Edwards relishes the open road and the long tours, he just sets the cruise control and daydreams to his next stop.

"You gotta love it or you wouldn't be doing it this long," he said. "In a peripheral stance, I get to meet so many nice people and that's enriching for me, that's a terrific addition to anyone's life. It's great to get a chuckle out of strangers, it's always a fun thing, it's a fun life."

He grew up in Timmons, Ont., and says he probably was not the funniest guy in his class at his time, though he had started to zero in on it as a potential career path, figuring if he could pay rent by making people laugh would be a pretty good way to live life. Just before he got into the scene he was told about an up and coming comic that he needed to checkout in Toronto named Norm MacDonald. He was hooked.

"it was so inspirational, that when I got on to try it I totally sounded like him, there were 10 or 15 Norm clones they called us," said Edwards. "You're writing your own material but it's in Norm's voice … you don't even know that you're doing it. It too me a while to get my legs under me, but it was really gratifying when I was no longer just a subsection of Norm MacDonald."

Edwards has been a regular on the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal and was part of their comedy tour across Canada, which proved a fertile ground for comedic material. One of his big breaks came in 2000 while opening for the live studio audience for tapings of the Red Green Show. He started submitting material to Steve Smith – who portrayed Red Green – and soon was asked if he wanted to play a part.

"That's how easy going it was. I was just warming up the crowd and next thing I know I'm doing the show and I get to be the hospitalized funeral home director," said Edwards.

He has since become one of the biggest names in Canadian comedy. He is the only Canadian winner of the prestigious Vail International Comedy Competition, is a two time Gemini nominee and has been nominated numerous times as Best Standup Comic at the Canadian Comedy Awards.

As his career continues on he says he would like to expand his horizons and do more writing for a series.

"Just have that going on the back and forth level for 13 weeks in a season," he said. "It would be kind of fun to build the character and write for a living."

Edwards' show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Lougheed Centre on Wednesday. Tickets are available through the box office or online at www.camroselive.ca



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