When we last caught up with Darcy Michael four years ago, the self-described Undercover Fag was a fat, bearded stoner. Now the standup comic is down 120 pounds, clean-shaven, and not nearly as covertly gay as he once was. And while he’s still a stoner at heart, his bong isn’t getting quite the workout it used to.
“Because my life is so different now, I have a lot more to talk about,” the Ladner resident said while visiting a Commercial Drive coffee shop. “It’s not just stoner jokes. Well, not as much.”
Now that he’s a lean, mean joke-telling machine who weighs in at a svelte 175 pounds, his number one goal is to keep the weight off. He can’t afford to get the munchies, which smoking up all day gave him.
And while his former rumpled appearance belied his gay and married reality, he says his new look doesn’t allow for the surprise reveal it used to.
“The old act is completely gone because I can’t do it,” Michael said. “I wear bow ties on-stage now. I’m my own little Pride Parade the second I get up there. I still confirm suspicions, but the Undercover Fag doesn’t work anymore.” He says if he tried it now, the crowd would think, “Really? Is this guy’s gaydar worse than ours?”
Michael credits his new lease on life to a “really small case of colon cancer” diagnosed in November 2010. He went in for surgery on December 14, and the next day he was on the seawall, vowing to walk it every day until he lost 50 pounds. Now he’s added running, biking, swimming, and working out to his regimen. “I spend three hours a day just kind of trying to be not a dead guy.”
He doesn’t talk much about it on-stage out of respect for those who’ve had it much worse than him. “I hate even mentioning it,” he says. “I went in and they cut a piece of me out and that was it. If anything, it was a light-switch moment for me.”
Michael is not a niche comic who only appeals to the groups he represents. He embraces who he is but speaks to everyone. Only seven years into his career, and he’s established himself as one of the top comics in the country. He recently became the first Canadian to release a standup special online (One Skinny Bitch, a slick three-camera shoot at a Toronto Yuk Yuk’s, is available for three bucks at darcymichael.com/). He is also a draw at both queer festivals and traditional comedy clubs, is heading back to the Just for Laughs festival this summer, and is in production with Frantic Films on a talk show called The Skinny With Darcy Michael. He’s already completed interviews with the likes of Alan Thicke, David Steinberg, and Scott Thompson.
The show was Michael’s first time in the interviewer’s seat, but his natural cheekiness won his guests over, judging by the trailer the Straight saw. The 32-year-old managed to take what he learned and apply it to his standup, which he’ll be performing this weekend at Yuk Yuk’s on Cambie.
“It gave me the confidence to not be afraid to just go off the cuff and go on tangents,” he said. “I’m doing a lot more crowd work. It’s really fun for me. I’m like, ‘I have jokes in my back pocket if I need them, but fuck it, let’s just go say hi to these people and see where we’re at.’ It’s definitely way more exciting for me. Let’s just have fun. Let’s see what the little homo can come up with. And if I can’t, it’s too late for refunds!”
Darcy Michael appears at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club on Friday and Saturday (June 15 and 16).