GIGGLE CITY: Jon Mick would rather die than get old
It takes years of hard knocks, bitter experience, finely-honed cynicism, endless long nights, lonely laughs, working the trenches, paying your dues and performing in places like Fairview, Alberta to attain the overnight success necessary to please a roomful of canny comedy connoisseurs in a REAL comedy club. Of course, there are exceptions. Local Jon Mick, 27, is a happening young comic who hosts a monthly comedy-variety night at Wunderbar Hofbrauhaus: The Jon Mick Delicatessen of Jokes and General Funnery!
How much of a Whyte Avenue hipster is this guy? We reached him late one evening via his cellphone on his way to have a drink at – you guessed it – the Black Dog. That’s how.
Q: If you could be any celebrity, who would it be and why?
A: Louis C.K. He’s a brilliant comedian and all around miserable guy, which is what I try to attain for myself.
Q: What’s your best heckler story?
A: It was actually another comic. We were doing a night at the Black Dog about a month ago. We had this comic on, this 50-year-old guy, I don’t want to say his name, and he didn’t really fit the evening. He started off by saying, “Anybody here watch television?” I remember one of his jokes: “There’s airbags on all cars these days. I didn’t know I had to get a wife every time I bought a car.” It was painful to watch. I don’t think he went over too well with the 20-something crowd. So everybody started heckling him throughout his act. He didn’t know how to deal with it, he couldn’t handle any of the insults, so he just floundered around. I kept my mouth shut and tried to shush people so he could do his set, but there was no saving him. So I had to follow him, and I tried to take over the crowd immediately, but starts talking over me. I’m delivering a joke about death, setting a darker mood, and he jumps on stage and says, “Hey, he’s stealing lines from my diary!” So I had to tear him apart. I believe I told him that he looks like a Drakkor Noir ad smells like. That was one of my favourite lines I ever had to deliver on a heckler. This keeps going on. I made fun of him for five minutes, and then I said, “Anybody here watch television?” That got a huge laugh. He ended up leaving the club, chin to chest, dejected. I’m not proud that I made this man feel miserable, but he should know that if you’re a comic heckling another comic, you’re going to get it worse than if you were just a guy in the crowd.
Q: Do you have a favourite bit you don’t do anymore because it’s dated?
A: I used to have a piece about George W Bush. I always had an issue with people who would hate him just because he was George W. Bush. Why do you hate him? They’d say: He’s an idiot, he’s George W. Bush. Yes, but why is he an idiot? It would drive me insane.
Q: Do you have new material that’s going over particularly well?
A: I have this desperate fear of becoming a senior citizen. It seems that all my interactions with senior citizens, other than my own grandmother, seem to be extremely magnified versions of the person I don’t want to become. So I wrote this bit about how I would rather die very young than become old: People say it’s natural to grow old, but I say it’s also natural to die of malaria, lupus, smallpox, all these diseases we’ve cured. It’s not natural to grow to the age where we look like stapled bags of skin stuffed with worms and beetle grubs.
Q: Do you have to be a pessimist to be a good comedian?
A: I come off as a pessimist, but I don’t feel like one. I think what’s important is to have a wary view of the world, not trust everything you hear, and not take everything at face value.
Q: What’s the worst meal you ever had on the road?
A: We were passing through Regina and I had pulled pork sandwich that had mouldy apples on it. I sent it back and they just took the mouldy apples off and brought out my same sandwich again. It wasn’t a lovely meal, but I ate it.
Q: What’s the difference between kids today and when you were a kid?
A: I try to separate myself from anybody under the age of 22, for the most part. I would say it’s having this breadth of information at your fingertips at any time, never having any mystery to any question. Now you just have to type it in Google. There’s no ‘aha’ moment anymore. I kind of miss those days where you would have to really think about a question. Like yeah! It’s Keanu Reeves who was in Point Break!
Q: Question just for you: You play in a band, too?
A: We’re called Bonspiel, three-piece garage rock, kind of Kinks-like. When I was a 17-year-old boy, I heard the Savage Young Sonics’ version of “Louie Louie” – and that was everything rock ‘n’ roll should be to me.