There are over 100 shows and 180 comedic artists playing all around town in the next two weeks at JFL NorthWest. We can’t highlight everything, obviously, but here's a performer who won’t disappoint: DeAnne Smith, who kicks off the Canadian portion of Netflix's Comedians of the World. She plays the Orpheum on Thursday (February 14) and the Rio Theatre on Friday (February 15).
Georgia Straight: Has your Netflix special given you a boost?
DeAnne Smith: I think so. I’m definitely getting the feeling that a lot of people are, quote, “discovering” me. I know I’ve been around for a while, but not everybody does. So I’m definitely getting a lot of positive feedback from people who hadn’t heard of me and hadn’t seen my comedy before. And I think it does help to be the first up in that queue, because sometimes it just starts playing automatically, I think.
GS: So you can say you’re number one.
DS: Oh, you know what? I will, now that you’ve said it. If you put it in print, forget about it, that’s it. It’s my pull quote on all my materials going forward.
GS: In your special you talk about the fluidity of gender and all the language that goes with it. You’re also pretty fluid when it comes to nationality, it seems, because you’re American but you’re on the Canadian special.
DS: Yes. I feel so gratified that that worked out. I started comedy in Canada; I’ve made Canada my home and I really love it. Despite mounting pressure telling me to get to the States for my career, I keep choosing Canada. So to have a big moment in my career be labelled as Canadian and be distinctly Canadian just makes me so happy.
GS: There are avenues you could take to become fully, or legally, Canadian.
DS: Right now I’m just a permanent resident, but I guess there’s citizenship in the works. There’s nothing I want more than that little Canadian passport.
GS: Really? That is so backwards.
DS: It’s so backwards! I know, but that’s the way I am. I think that with my general demeanour—and I take it as a compliment—people think I’m Canadian anyway, I guess. I defer and I’m kind of polite. More and more, comedy and entertainment truly is such a global experience. With all the streaming networks and the Internet, there’s just so many platforms, it doesn’t really matter where you’re based anymore, I don’t think.