A Toronto-based group of three comics have banded together delivering humour to venues across Canada. The Weather Permitting Comedy Tour, which began in Ontario on Nov. 12, will be at Maude Hunter’s on Dec. 13. Despite the tour’s name in preparation for snowstorms, they hope to hit all tour dates.
Unlike other comics in Canada, Michelle Christine, Andrew Barr, and Michael Flamank have decided to tour the country independently under a Mazda sponsorship. The independent nature of their tour allows them to perform in ski resorts, campuses, and bars in small towns across Canada. “It’s definitely dipping our feet in so many different types of venus, areas, and towns,” Christine said.
Christine has appeared on MTV, at NXNE, was a quarterfinalist for Sirius XM’s search for Canada’s Next Top Comic, and appeared at various festivals. With a degree in business, she was able to use her knowledge to her advantage in booking tour dates and getting sponsored.
“As a Canadian comic, you have to think outside the box, and really create your own opportunities, but they’re there if you do it, because not many people are,” she said. “You can’t sit and wait for something to happen to you.”
The format of each show changes for different days. “We’re funny, slightly edgy, but we’re not aggressive in the sense that we like to make fun of ourselves and life — but not in a way that I think most people would find unappealing,” she said.
Everything and anything is discussed, according to Christine. She has one routine that explores her attraction to men who shovel snow in the driveway. “I find that turns me on, because I’m getting old and things that men do now are different than what would turn me on when I was [younger].” Topics discussed range from their sex lives, to zucchinis, to buttholes.
Their acts are a culmination of all past years of comedy and experiences. “We’re fun and we’re friendly. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to talk about sex and taboo things – but I think we always say it in a way that is likable and enjoyable,” she said. “We are good comics, we deliver a good product, and people really enjoy what we’re bringing to the table.”
Being on tour and exploring different variations of comedy depending on audiences have helped the comedians detach themselves from the pressures they face in Toronto. Surrounded by the best comedians in Canada, it can be difficult to compare comedic success, “but then you get on the road and people think you’re great,” she said.
Andrew Barr admits there are challenges to face when practicing comedy in Canada where there are considerably less comedy clubs than there are in the United States. “It’s a good country to start in – you have to work really hard to get noticed and get good, but there’s not a ton of money to go around,” he said.
Barr has also performed at NXNE, showcased for Sirius XM, and has appeared on iChannel and MTV. He likes to begin his sets with self-deprecation. “I find audiences are much more open to letting you make fun of other things once you’ve made fun of yourself,” he said. Prepared for various audiences, he likes to have a bit of every type of humour in his arsenal.
“Comedy is like anything else – you have to really put in the time and work hard, and you’ll see it pay off,” he said.
Catch the Weather Permitting Comedy Tour at Maude Hunter’s Pub, 3810 Shelbourne St., on Dec. 13, 8 p.m.
Tickets are $10 and available at the door.