That Time I Bombed is where the Straight asks comedians about their life-changing shows, favourite comedy albums, and, a subject that any comedian will face at some point in their career, a time that they bombed on stage.
Who are you
I’m Bruce McCulloch. Three percent of Kids in the Hall. Writer, director, raconteur. I am currently doing live shows with my childhood friend, Sir Brian Connolly. Telling stories, doing standup, and music that would make Beethoven proud.
First standup experience
My first standup experience was Loose Moose Theater in Calgary. I had notes in my hand that I couldn’t read because my arm was shaking so bad. The words just blurred. Even though I did very badly, I still decided to do 10 long minutes. My standup experience has—sometimes—been much better since.
Life-changing comedy show
The first time I walked into Loose Moose, the improvisors were just making things up onstage. It was so exciting to me. I didn’t even drink from the flask I’d smuggled in in my cowboy boot. From then, I’d felt like I found my religion. Comedy: a man without a country who had just glimpsed one through the clouds.
Top three comedy specials/albums
I grew up listening to my Dad’s records.
Bob Newhart – The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart I couldn’t believe how he made so much with so little.
Woody Allen – Standup Comic I listened to this over and over. The stories so bizarre and surreal; I’d never heard anything like that before.
Blue Öyster Cult – Tyranny and Mutation It’s not really a comedy album, but I sure thought it was funny.
All-time favourite joke or bit
When I was in the first grade, my teacher (Ms. Evans) got mad at me. She said, “That’s the umpteenth time I have told you to behave." And I said, “Yes, but you haven’t told me how many umpteenth is.” Everyone laughed. I came home and told my dad, “The greatest thing happened in school today: I got a huge laugh.”
Something you saw that made you laugh but probably shouldn’t have
Most of the things that make me laugh aren’t onstage or meant to make people laugh. I actually can’t pass by discarded furniture without getting a little chuckle.
The things I’ve laughed at that I shouldn’t? Without question, my Dad getting mad. His Fortrel shorts falling down revealing his “salesman’s crack”. His false teeth, flapping in anger. These things are what made me laugh and what made me want to become a comedian.
That time I bombed
The only time I really bombed—it was a conceptual thing. I was trying to bomb. So maybe it doesn’t really count?
Bruce McCulloch performs Young Drunk Punk at Lafflines Comedy Club this Saturday (October 1).