TRAGEDY PLUS TIME VOLUME 15 – DARCY MICHAEL

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“Comedy is tragedy plus time.”
It’s been said many times by many comedians. I believe the original usage dates back to the great Carol Burnett. It’s a quote I have borrowed from to title this column about the wonderful talent in the comedy community right here in Vancouver.Since I’ve lived in Vancouver, I’ve heard a lot of people say that they had a bad experience at a comedy show and never went back. This is as ridiculous as swearing off restaurants as a whole because of one case of food poisoning. It’s my hope, that the profiles here will bring back those who have turned away or open the door for those who have never seen live comedy.

Finally, for those out there that don’t like to laugh, they might be best served by a quote from another lady of show business, Julia Roberts:
“Show me a person who doesn’t like to laugh and I’ll show you a person with a toe tag.”

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When I first heard about Darcy Michael, the word was that “this new guy really has something”. It’s always a treat to see someone new especially one that seems like he might have a distinct voice. For the next while, no matter where I went, I couldn’t seem to see him on stage. “He just left”,  “He’s on tomorrow” and the like were the closest I came for a while.

It’s a small enough scene that eventually I caught up with him and got to take in a set.

He certainly did have something.

He had a voice that was gravely and a beard, a cap and sunglasses that almost completely hid his face. At first, it seemed as if comedy had another stoner comedian, a funny reflection of the city we call home. Then, out of nowhere, his act took a left turn. He makes a joke about his husband. A husband?  This was new.

He also revealed either that night or some time later on stage that he was raising a daughter with his husband.

His jokes were good, his delivery distinct, but what impressed me most was his bravery.  You can never say on any given night what type of crowd you are playing to, or who is sitting in the dark beyond the lights. He did something the great George Carlin always said a comedian should strive for: “I think a comedian has an obligation to find out where the line is drawn and deliberately step across it. And then make the audience happy that you did”.

The laughs he receives seem to say he’s made good on this obligation.

Darcy has traveled all over Canada, picking up acclaim and fans as he goes.

If you haven’t seen him, you should check him out, he’s really got something.

If you want to know more you can go to http://www.darcymichael.com/

Darcy was kind enough to answer some question for Vancouver Is Awesome.

When was the last time you laughed until you cried?

A friend of mine made a really crude joke at a restaurant when he thought the waitress was out of earshot. She wasn’t. She turned around and slapped him. I laughed so hard I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Men are pigs.

What would be your idea of a perfect venue?

My house. It’s not ideal, not many people could fit but I like it here. It’s cozy. If not my house, than I’d say the perfect venue would be a small, dark club full of people wanting to hear me talk about my feelings.

You have done stand up at a lot of pride events, what is the difference between the crowds at an event like this and the average every night of the week crowd?

The regular audiences don’t have drag queens stealing your thunder. My mama always tells me no one can upstage a drag queen, so don’t let them in.

I love doing shows for both but the pride shows I find I have a lot more freedom with where I can take the audience. At the same time, straight guys are hot and sometimes I just like some eye candy in the crowd to keep me entertained.

How does being married and being a parent inform your comedy?

I think it’s like anything else in my life, I draw my material and motivation from what happens around me and a lot of that stems from being married and being a parent. But I also do a lot of drugs and that helps too.

You act in addition to doing stand- up, is one form more natural to you?

I definitely find acting easier than stand up. Acting is like playing an easy game of make believe where other people come up with the words and someone tells you what to do. There’s not a whole lot to it but f*ck me the money can sure be fun! Stand up is constantly challenging for me from one show to the next and sometimes from one joke to the next, I never know what’s going to work. It’s terrifyingly fun.

What is one myth about live comedy you’d like to dispel?

There are myths about comedy? I heard they were all true. Especially the one about how easy it is.

Why is Vancouver a good place for comedy?

Vancouver is a great place for comedy simply because of the diversity of the people that live in the city. You do a show on one street and kill and at a show a block away you can alienate the entire audience with the same jokes. We are a bit of an uptight and sensitive grouping of people, because of that it’s harder to get a collective laugh but so much more rewarding when we do.

Who is one performer/group of performers you think everyone should see at least once?

There’s so many that I would recommend. Is Menudo still touring? Those were the days. Someone that makes me laugh every time I see them live is Pete Johansson. He is raw, honest and hysterically funny.

Every article about comedy has to have a pun in the title. What would you like yours to be?

Come see Darcy make the Farcey…

I hate puns.

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