Jon Dore is one of Canada’s most successful comedy exports. The Ottawa-born, L.A.-based comic is a regular on the late-night talk show circuit and the host of Funny As Hell on the Movie Network. Other credits include The Jon Dore Television Show (The Comedy Network, 2007-2009),the ABC-TV series How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life), and appearances on Live At Gotham, How I Met Your Mother and Inside Amy Schumer. Feature film credits include the indie drama Gus, and the comedy film Stag.
Dore, whose unique bait-and-switch comedic style has made him a favourite on the comedy club and festival circuit in Canada and the U.S., appears at the Comedy Mix Feb. 24 25 as part of the JFL Northwest comedy festival. We talked to the comedian about funny cities, Google searches and his favourite band.
Q: You did a show called A Dore to Winnipeg, about your adventures in the city. Do you think some cities are funnier than others?
A: You know what, I haven’t given it a lot of thought. But impulsively, in the moment right now, I’d have to say yeah – I think some cities are funnier than others. Winnipeg is kind of a funny city, for a lot of reasons. Even the geography of it, the fact that it’s in the middle of nowhere, the fact that the infrastructure is very strange. When we made that documentary – mockumentary, actually – we tried to expose all of the grey, dark weird things about Winnipeg. It was springtime when we shot the documentary, but of course there was still snow so we found the snowiest place we could find to introduce the documentary and announced that “It’s springtime in Winnipeg.” You can have fun with the city, and I think people in Winnipeg have a great sense of humour, and I love going there. So yeah – some cities are funnier than others. Some take themselves more seriously than others.
Q: In what ways is Vancouver funny?
A: I don’t know if I’ve thought of it…
Q: Coffee, rain, mountains, snowboarding, Australians in Whistler…
A: I find it to be kind of a serious city. I don’t know if I find Vancouver that funny!
Q: Where do you get your Canadian news from down there in Los Angeles?
A: Every day I Google “news Canada.” It’s my first search of the day.
Q: How often does any of this stuff make it into your stand-up?
A: It doesn’t really. I guess if something strange pops up. It was kind of towards the end of the year, but when Castro died and people were aggressively going after (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau for his eulogy, there was enough going on there where I was able to work that in. But it’s mostly to stay up-to-date and see what’s going on in Canada.
Q: What are some of the things you’re going to be talking about when you come to Vancouver?
A: I really don’t know. I’m excited about it but I’m also a little nervous about it in a way. Definitely I’ll probably touch on a little bit of Trump, but I wouldn’t say that would be the focus at all.
I had an accident in December, and I’m still kind of recovering from it. I’ll probably talk about my visit to the hospital in America, insisting that I’m supplied the proper amount of opioids for my pain. It was a bizarre experience. I was playing poker and I fainted and I cracked a bone in my neck. The best way to describe it as probably Jimmy Stewart from Rear Window, trapped in my house nursing an injury and looking at the outside world, and coming to conclusions about life. I’m certain about a lot of things now. I’m certain that the Stone Roses are the greatest band ever. I feel like I was a mystic who went into a cave and observed the world and came to conclusions about subjective truths.
Q: That must’ve been one helluva poker game.
A: Yeah. My nickname’s “The Big Flop” now, so that’s not good.
Q: Was it you and a bunch of comedians?
A: It was me and a bunch of writers from Hollywood that I’m friends with. I can’t really say anymore than I was at a guy’s house. Just a bunch of friends playing poker, and I kind of went down. They had to call an ambulance and everything. I’d just come off the road from a bunch of touring. I probably just stretched myself to my limits. I have no memory of it. I passed out and woke up in a hospital.
Q: You mentioned your first Google search of the day is Canadian news. What would the second be?
A: I don’t know if there is a second thing. I think I go down the rabbit hole. Whatever Canadian news links me to. My second search is “news.” It used to be “Gord Downie” (lead singer of Canadian band the Tragically Hip; Downie has been diagnosed with incurable brain cancer) to see if there are any more solo shows coming up.
Q: Did you catch any of the Tragically Hip shows on their last tour?
A: I caught three of them. One in Victoria, one in Toronto, one in Kingston. I got to see friends in every city. I thought it was beautiful, just magical. I loved it.
Q: Do you have a favourite of the three?
A: The one in Toronto, on a Friday, was just so great. The band was not only tight but Gord was really with it. The show in Victoria was almost too emotional and overwhelming, almost too heavy. Then, with that Toronto show, I felt like, This guy’s on it. He can do a thousand more shows. That was the show where I really romanticized the idea of the Hip and what they mean to me. They’ve been my favourite band since I was in the ninth grade.
For tickets to Jon Dore and a full JFL Northwest schedule, visit jflnorthwest.com.