Derek Edwards is a real stand-up guy

Karla Hayward
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Comedy

When interviewing a comic, you're pretty much guaranteed a few chuckles. Chatting with Derek Edwards is a particularly enjoyable experience, however. For a man who's won a handful of awards in recent years and is constantly lauded with reviews like "5 Stars - the funniest man on Earth" by the Winnipeg Free Press, Edwards remains humble and infinitely engaging.

"It's so easy to maintain a healthy modesty about yourself in comedy. The feedback, when it's negative, can be crushing. There's no one who calls themselves elite in this business," he says.

Comedian Derek Edwards brings his new show to St. John's June 10. Submitted photo

When interviewing a comic, you're pretty much guaranteed a few chuckles. Chatting with Derek Edwards is a particularly enjoyable experience, however. For a man who's won a handful of awards in recent years and is constantly lauded with reviews like "5 Stars - the funniest man on Earth" by the Winnipeg Free Press, Edwards remains humble and infinitely engaging.

"It's so easy to maintain a healthy modesty about yourself in comedy. The feedback, when it's negative, can be crushing. There's no one who calls themselves elite in this business," he says.

And that's even truer when visiting the East Coast, he adds.

"If you're going out East, don't put any airs on. Drop the pretence immediately or suffer the consequences. I'm going to be quite an accessible unit up there."

That down-home accessibility seems to be a big part of what makes Edwards successful. He doesn't try for shock value with his jokes. He stays gentle and simple, talking about things we can all understand, reflecting back to the audience their own lives.

Edwards will visit St. John's June 10, as part of his new one-man show, "The Other Shoe Drops."

"I'll cut to the chase. I've got a bunch of new stuff and I'm hitting the road. That's how it boils down," he says of his reason for touring.

Quizzed on the inspiration for a show his press materials describe as "peeling back the carpet/faÇade of adult behaviour to reveal the perfectly good hardwood floor of truth and belly laughs," Edwards says, "I hit 50, and that's kind of a big thing. Upon reflection I realized that I haven't matured any since I was 17, nor am I any wiser. Which has kind of been of benefit to me in this profession."

Mind you, the show's not all about aging.

"A lot of it is things that have happened to me in the last little while ... I'll get a good deal of fun talking about how I just got a dog. This whole thing of being a pet owner for the first time since I was 16 or so ... about how incredibly expensive that's become since the last time. Something like that can spur a great deal of fun."

He may touch on some more location-specific news, too, he continues.

"Sometimes I'll target a place; it's always fun to make fun of Toronto and the things that go on here ... Actually, I think your premier had a few good lines at the expense of Ontario. Something about equalization and how you're happy to help out Ontario in their time of need?"

Yes, Edwards is quite familiar with Newfoundland, having performed here not so long ago.

"The last time I was there, I met Mark Critch. Well, he took me out, I met his wife, we were on George Street, we just had a rip up. God, he's a funny man. He started doing impersonations of comics we both know, and he's just brilliant at it. He's such a natural."

And yes, Edwards agrees that most Newfoundlanders are, indeed, as funny as we think we are.

"My first time (performing in St. John's), we were at the Holiday Inn and it's the only time ever that the heckles were funnier than the act. One girl got heckled three times and the heckles brought the house down. They weren't mean spirited, they were just insanely funny. So she kept them in. I give a great deal of respect to the Newfoundland sense of humour."

Seems like that respect is something Newfoundland should return, as Derek Edwards is one comic that's not to be missed.

"Derek Edwards - The Other Shoe Drops" can be seen June 10 at the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre. Tickets are available by calling the box office at 729-3900 or 800-663-9449. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more, go to www.derekedwards.ca.

Organizations: Winnipeg Free Press, Holiday Inn

Geographic location: St. John's, East Coast, Newfoundland Ontario Toronto George Street

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