GIGGLE CITY: Like Bear on Brown

Paul Brown is more than just a pitchman for a popular hair restorative treatment. He is more than just the drawling, deadpan host of The Paul Brown Show, heard every weekday morning on the Bear 100.3 radio station. He is an actual working comedian – one of many radio people who have managed to transfer the skills of early morning radio zoology to the world of late-night stand-up comedy. Or vice versa. It’s slippery slope either way. Brown hosts the “Brown on Bourbon” comedy night every Tuesday at the Comic Strip in West Edmonton Mall.

(Mature language warning: not suitable for children.)

Q: If you could be any Canadian celebrity, who would it be and why?

A: Tom Green. Everybody says I look like him. He’s like a more talented, richer, better, funnier version of me.

Q: What’s your best heckler story?

A: I had a guy throw a beer bottle at me. He was heckling me and I made fun of him. He was sitting with a couple of girls and I said ‘it looks like you’re about to finger-bang these two girls like finger puppets.’ They were drunk. He gave me a dirty look and then he quieted down for the whole show and that at the end of the show he just randomly got up and whipped a beer bottle at me, broke it on my leg. Glass flew across the stage, it flew into people’s hair. He had to be escorted out. I had to restrain a group of guys from beating the crap out of him. That actually happened to me twice. This other guy threw a beer bottle at me.

Q: Maybe it’s you – why do people get so mad at you?

A: I’ve been doing comedy for seven years now and think I lay into people pretty hard. Some get pissed off, but generally they just kind of laugh. Two beer bottles out of seven years isn’t bad, considering.

Q: What’s your favourite joke you don’t use anymore because it’s dated?

A: I used to this thing about Trading Paces on TLC. You remember that show? It came after this other show Clean Sweep. It was brutal: No sex, no drugs, no bombs, just an hour long show about cleaning. I can’t even remember the punchline.

Q: Do you have to be a pessimist to be an effective comedian?

A: I don’t. I think a lot of comics are, but I do think you have to be aware – and really I think most comedians just observe what’s happening around them. That’s where they get the comedy. There’s a little bit of truth in all comedy. I don’t consider myself very pessimistic at all. I just consider myself observational.

Q: Do you have some fresh material that’s getting a good response lately?

A: I do a bit on some women in Alberta who want to ban Maxim magazine from Wal-Mart because they find the pictures of ladies on the front covers offensive. And I don’t know about you, but I find half the people who go to Wal-Mart offensive. I get a lot of people nodding in agreement to that one.

Q: What do you do when some fans tells you some horrible, racist joke and then says, ‘You can use this in your act’?

A: I get a lot of people coming up to me. I get a lot of drunks. If they say something really rude or racist, I just don’t speak. I smile and move on. I literally won’t say a word.

Q: What’s the difference between kids today and when you were a kid?

A: They’re not much different. Every generation has a new set of technologies and a new set of battles and a new set of parameters that they have to encounter. Probably all the fears and insecurities manifest themselves in the same way, but the vehicle that takes them there is different. There wasn’t an Internet when I was a kid. Now it’s everywhere. That’s the only major difference.

Q: You have kind of a Dean Martin thing going in your act. Are you drunk when you go on stage or is that apple juice in your cup?

A: I get asked that all the time. There’s a certain schtick to that, playing a character. I sort of have a drunk slur to me anyway, a little more laid on when I’m on stage. But I stopped drinking. It’s been two years since I’ve had a drink. It was personal choice. When I sobered up, I got funnier, I think. Everything got better for me. But even when I was drinking and drugging and partying, I never did it before doing comedy. I think I’m funnier sober. You know when you’re drunk or you smoke weed and everybody thinks they’re funny? You’re not funny. I never smoked too much weed, but I used to play music and we thought it was the greatest music ever. Until we listened back to it.