GIGGLE CITY: Andrew Grose to live in the moment at the Edmonton Comedy Festival

Before you call “Nepotiz” on Andrew Grose for being the artistic director of the Edmonton Comedy Festival AND one of its performers, consider Graham Neil. This guy is the PRESIDENT of the Edmonton Comedy Festival, where he will appear Friday and Saturday because he also happens to be an aspiring stand-up comedian, along with the most recognizable entertainment reporter in town, who works for CTV Edmonton, which is a major festival sponsor, as is 630 CHED, where Andrew Grose is on air with Leslie Primeau every afternoon from 3-6 p.m.

Quite the cluster (insert F-word here) we have here.

Actually, Grose didn’t want to perform at his own festival. They BEGGED him to perform, twisted his arm, the people at the St. Albert Kinsmen Corral – now there’s a good comedy club name – said his appearance on Saturday was a deal maker. He couldn’t say no. Besides, as he puts it so humbly, “Let’s be honest: “If you’re going to have a comedy festival in Edmonton, you pretty much have to me there.”

Again with the Giggle City gauntlet:

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

A: Russell Peters – just so I could afford myself.

Q: Best heckler story? (Read another one in a heckler tale round-up here.)

A: There was a guy that every time I hit a punchline he would repeat the punchline. It just became annoying as the show went on. He was in the front row. I think I was the only one who could hear him. But it was actually throwing my timing off. Because I’d hit my punchline and then wait for him to repeat it. Finally I said to him, why are you doing that? He, went, “Oh, my buddy wants to know what you’re saying.” And I said, well, is your buddy blind and deaf? And he was like, “uh, yes.” And I said, OK, well, let’s just proceed, then. The guy was blind and deaf. I don’t know what his friend was talking into, maybe a hearing aid or something.

Q: Do you have a favourite bit you’ve abandoned because it’s stale?

A: I loved the bits about my wife being pregnant and the children being little, but as my children grow up, so does my act. So for continuity’s sake, I can’t have my wife pregnant one moment and have a teenager daughter the next.

Q: Is it so important for your comedy to be so personal and in the moment?

A: You have to be passionate about what you’re saying and you have to live in the moment, for the most part. Also, since joining CHED, so many people know so much more about me that I have to stay relatively close to the truth.

Q: Do you have a newer routine that’s killing right now?

A: The Tim Horton’s bit. I get requests to do that now – and it’s a true story. [It starts at 2:05 in the following video.]

I actually got a lot of work out of that one. My writing has changed because my personality has changed. Of all the things in my life, I am the most proud of being a father. And I’m not ashamed of being a real father. I do a lot of comedy about how much teenagers irritate the hell out of me.

Q: What’s your favourite irritating teenager joke?

A: My daughter wakes me up to go to school because she’s missed her school bus, and I’m like, oh, for God’s sake, so I don’t bother getting dressed. My wife’s housecoat, my underwear, a pair of cowboy boots and we’re good to go, because I’m going back to bed anyway. And when I get to the school, I’ve got a cigarette dangling out of my mouth that I haven’t lit yet, because I won’t smoke in front of my daughter. So we get to the school and she says, “You should quit smoking. It’s not good for you, it’s not healthy.” Right then and there, if you have one moment in your life that changes the rest of your life, you’re lucky, and for me that was actually my moment. Right then and there I decided that I am not driving this bitch anywhere.

Q: What does your daughter think of that joke?

A: She helped me write it.

Q: Do you have to be a pessimist to be a good comedian?

A: I don’t think so. I’ll tell you the two major components of a great comic: You have to know a little bit about a lot and I think you have to have some dysfunction in your past. Some. It shouldn’t be crippling dysfunction.

Q: What’s yours?

A: I didn’t have a very good childhood. It’s not something I talk about in my act. I did not have a very loving, caring family and I think that is a lot of what makes me want to get the admiration of strangers.