This Thursday through Saturday (April 22 to April 24) will be a special kind of homecoming for Toby Hargrave.
A comedian, Hargrave will play Yuk Yuk's on Kenmount Road - performing in Newfoundland for the first time.
"It's like being a Jew and never having been back to Israel," Hargrave told The Telegram. "It's one of those places, especially being on the West coast, it's just never really happened."
Hargrave started his run in the showbiz through theatre as a kid in Edmonton.
By 1992, a little older and wiser, he turned to comedy.
His preferred styles are improv and sketch as opposed to standup. Working with the Rapid Fire Theatre company for more than 10 years, he has shared the stage with Canadian comedy names like SCTV's Joe Flaherty.
In finally making his way to the mike solo, he has received all the laughs for once, but has also been forced to face the irritation of hecklers on his own.
A few of those encounters have stuck with him.
"I think every comic has those memories," he said.
"Sometimes people are just drunk and just want to mess with things."
Big, big mouths
Hargrave shared a particularly clear memory of a show in Fairview, Alta., where he was hit with interjectors.
"This is a place," he said, "you're not even on the stage, you're walking to the stage and people start shouting: 'You suck! Kill yourself!'"
There were a few of those such beautifully-souled individuals on hand for Hargrave.
One table of "six big rig pigs," he said, were particularly kind.
And, did we mention they were big?
"It was the most uncomfortable thing," the comedian said, describing how he did not let loose any verbal retorts on the hecklers as he was afraid of what they might do.
Despite the discomfort, Hargrave said he has had more successful nights than not.
"Successful" is seemingly more synonymous with "relaxed" than "profitable."
"When you first start out, you're not looking to make a brand. You're looking to tell some jokes and drink some beer," he said.
Whatever the motivations, the comedian has built a strong resumÉ, having played the Vancouver Comedy Festival, Halifax Comedy Festival and Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal.
He has also had his own one-hour CTV/Comedy Network special.
"It's always nice when someone comes up and says 'hey, you didn't suck,'" he said, with a short laugh.
As for material?
"I just report the news. I'm more of a storyteller than a joke teller," he said.
"I have no imagination. If I didn't have weird stuff happen, I'd have nothing to say whatsoever."
And when asked why people should go to see his show, Hargrave didn't miss a beat.
"A lack of options," he said. He later added a quick addition.
"That very same answer I gave you could be for 'why am I doing this for a living?'"
For more humour from Hargrave, go to:
or Yuk Yuk's this weekend.