When I started doing comedy nine years ago my favorite comedian was Louis C.K. I totally bought into the cult of Louie. Here was a man excavating the darkest corners of his soul in order to bring us some sort of higher truth. I heard about the rumors when they first emerged as blind items but performed the necessary mental jiu-jitsu to ignore them and continue enjoying his work. It wasn’t until the rumors became Official News that I reappraised his work. His work wasn’t heroic, it was cowardly. It was hiding in plain sight; using vulgarity and vulnerability to appear honest about his shortcomings while obscuring the actual depths of his abuses and failings.
Unfortunately, it was too late. His influence was baked into me. That idea that just saying the thing—that holding up your pain and demanding an audience identify with it counted as not only an artistic act, but a moral one—was integral to my self-conception as an artist and as a person.
Last year I was added to the Yuk Yuks roster of stand-up comedians. For those unfamiliar with it, Yuk Yuks is Canada’s largest chain of stand-up comedy clubs, with clubs stretching across the country and also innumerable one-off gigs, from daytime corporates to shows at golf course ranges in the backwoods of the Ottawa Valley that feel like a combination of Coach’s Corner and The Wicker Man.