For comic Ryan Hamilton, getting clean laughs just comes naturally
In the world of great Mormon entertainers, Marie Osmond’s a little bit country, brother Donny’s a little bit rock ’n’ roll, Jon Heder’s a little bit weird, Aaron Eckhart’s a little bit hot, and Billy Barty’s a little bit short. Add to that Ryan Hamilton. He’s a little bit comedy.
A big bit, actually. It’s his life.
The Howdy Doody–faced comic (he prefers a more contemporary comparison: “the illegitimate child of Jerry and Elaine”) makes his living working sinful nightclubs surrounded by drunks and his fellow comedians, most of whom are offensive heathens. But he loves it.
“People always say, ”˜Is it hard to live in that environment?’ But it’s not for me,” he says on the phone from a stop in London, Ontario, where he’s with the Just for Laughs Comedy Tour, which touches down at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts on Saturday (November 13) and again at the Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey the following night (November 14). “Comics come from so many different backgrounds that you can connect with a comic if you’re funny. It’s more about being funny than where you come from or what you believe. So I never really feel uncomfortable, especially around comics, in that environment, because you all have the one thing in common, which is comedy.”
The Idaho native, who now makes New York City his home, recently played the Global ComedyFest in Vancouver and was one of the highlights. His stories and delivery are so funny, it doesn’t even cross your mind that he works completely clean. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. When he talks about his experience skydiving or taking a hot-air-balloon ride, you’re too busy laughing to notice he’s not like the others.
But because he grew up a Mormon, being clean isn’t exactly forced. It comes naturally to him.
“Sometimes I’ll be standing around and hear someone say, ”˜Did you notice that he’s clean?’ and the other audience member will think about it and go, ”˜Oh, yeah,’ ” the former missionary says. “It’s more about funny than clean, really. It’s not a conscious decision, like, ”˜Oh, I want to be this clean comedian.’ It’s just kind of naturally what I’m drawn to and enjoy anyway. I want to be more authentic than clean.”
Fear not, non-Mormons, Hamilton doesn’t proselytize on-stage. He doesn’t even mention his faith.
“Sometimes people say I should really try and explore it more. And maybe I will someday. I’m not afraid to talk about it. But I just have decided for now that I really want to be a comedian who’s good, who happens to be Mormon, rather than the Mormon comedian.”
As always, the Just for Laughs tour assembles an all-star cast for the two-hour gala show. Hosted by the Italian-Canadian Frank Spadone, the tour also features American Robert Kelly (who was last here opening for Dane Cook at GM Place) and British-Nigerian Gina Yashere, with special guest Jeremy Hotz (aka Mr. Standing Ovation). And no, they won’t all be clean.
The Just for Laughs Comedy Tour is at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts on Saturday (November 13) and at the Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey on Sunday (November 14).