Steve Patterson rolls with the Brits in Just for Laughs Comedy Tour
Show business is a cruel mistress. The feast-or-famine nature of it is reduced to snack-or-starvation when you add the extra layer of cruelty that the Canadian version brings.
But Toronto-based standup comic Steve Patterson is on a roll. It started with a gala set of a lifetime last year at the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, where Patterson killed it in front of a comedy hero, Steve Martin.
“I talked to him for about 15 minutes after my set. It was a really inspiring talk to have. He went way beyond just going ‘Yeah, that was a great set,’ ” he recalls. “To be on the same gala as him was incredible, and then to do a good set and have a chance to chat with him after is going to keep me going for about five years. Immediately, I had my best year in standup right after that.”
That best year included being voted best male standup at the Canadian Comedy Awards last month.
Patterson was in the middle of the month-long Just for Laughs Comedy Tour ’11 when the Straight caught up with him at a stop in Winnipeg. The previous night, he was in Toronto taping several episodes of The Debaters for CBC Radio. He also hosts the televised version of the show, which can be seen every Tuesday night at 9:30.
The hectic schedule may leave him wondering where he is on occasion, but it beats the alternative.
“These days, I’m hoping to get out of the plane and someone will show me where to go on the other side,” he says. “But it’s great to have a tiring month in Canadian comedy. It’s not a given for the 12 months of the year, so I’ll take it in the one month that’s kind of wacky. This month means I will not be entertaining hammered people at company parties in December, so I gleefully accept that.”
Patterson is hosting the travelling gala show and introducing us Canucks to a quartet of English acts: Matt Kirshen, Stephen K. Amos, Sean Meo, and Terry Alderton. But the Irish Canadian is no Anglophile.
“When I was over in the U.K. doing standup, there were some good guys, but I didn’t see anyone when I was there that kind of blew me away,” he says. “I think the hecklers in British clubs are funnier than many of the comedians in British clubs.”
Still, he’s having a blast with this bunch. He raves in particular about Alderton, who has been closing the festivities each night.
“I love him. I love watching him perform. He’s really, really entertaining and I’ve never seen anyone else like him perform,” he says. “He switches it every night and no one knows where he’s going to go in the middle of his show, including him. You can see the people's heads turning to the side and processing what’s going on at first, but by the end he’s won the crowd over and he’s brought them into his world.”
On November 29, Patterson returns to the Lower Mainland to record six more radio debates at the Centennial Theatre. Then the newlywed can finally reacquaint himself with his bride. (The pair were married on April 29, the same day as Prince William and Kate Middleton.)
“It’s supposed to make the heart grow fonder,” he says of his long absences while he’s out on the road. “She should be pretty frickin’ fond by now.”
The Just for Laughs Comedy Tour ’11 plays the Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey on Friday (November 18) and the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts on Saturday (November 19).