Want to know something that bugs Brian Aylward? Recliners for children. “It’s ridiculous. You’ve got to earn your right to recline,” the Mount Pearl comedian says of the chairs for kids, which he recently saw for the first time at Costco.
“What really pissed me off is what it says on the box. Its says, ‘Your kid is always sitting in your recliner, why not give them their own?’ What kind of logic is that? You get everything you sit on?”
If you’re not familiar with Aylward’s comedy, it doesn’t matter — you can almost definitely relate to it. Talking about everything from weight gain to weird baby names, Aylward has made a name for himself in the Canadian comedy circuit with his observational humour and confessional, often self-deprecating jokes.
You’ve perhaps seen his recent video on the pothole situation in St. John’s, which went viral online when it was posted in April. Aylward is standing up to his neck in a pothole on the corner of Topsail Road and Columbus Drive, which has since been filled in.
“I’m in a pothole! A POTHOLE! Do we live on the moon? Is this a crater?” Aylward asks, while cars and a transport truck pass behind him.
He doesn’t go looking for things to joke or rant about, he explains. It has to come to him naturally.
“If something strikes me and I feel it gives me the energy to want to write about it, I know there’s something there,” he says. “It’s that initial creative burst. It’s almost like a light goes off. If I went around looking for it, it would be forced and that would definitely come across onstage as forced, as well.”
Aylward could arguably be one of the most interesting people in the city. He got his start in comedy in 2005, when, while working as an English-as-a-second-language teacher in South Korea, he made a bet with his girlfriend (future wife). If she quit smoking for a month, he’d get onstage at an open-mike night for foreigners. She did, he did, and he never looked back.
Then there was the time he, as a high school student, read a Sports Illustrated story about a basketball coach in Michigan. Aylward called directory assistance, got the number to the high school and called the coach up, resulting in a year-long stint playing ball in inner-city Detroit.
Another time, Aylward jumped on a bus in Sackville, N.B., on a whim, and ended up in San Diego four days later. He got a job selling T-shirts on the beach, and spent a year in California, hanging out with friends.
“I’ve had a lot of idiotic adventures,” Aylward says, adding he’s working on compiling them into a book.
He’s had a lot of adventures in comedy as well. He was a runner-up at the 2008 Hong Kong International Comedy Festival; created Stand Up Seoul, Kora’s first English-language comedy room; was the local winner of Yuk Yuk’s Laugh-Off competition in 2011; was a Top 8 finalist on Sirius XM’s Canada’s Next Top Comic and has appeared at the St. John’s Comedy Festival and on CBC’s “The Debaters.”
Last year, Aylward toured the island with “Video on Trial” comedy show with Nikki Payne, but he’ll soon cross the island with his own show.
The Brian Aylward Comedy Tour will start at Clarenville’s Twin Cinemas May 7 and stop at the Classic Theatre in Grand Falls-Windsor May 8, Pub Beau Bois in Marystown May 9 and Brownings Pub in the Hotel Mount Pearl May 10, before ending up at The Republic in St. John’s May 11.
“I’ve done shows in Saigon, Vietnam, South Korea, but I’ve never done a show in Clarenville. It’s about time,” Aylward says.
Aylward is bringing two up-and-coming comics on the road with him. Shaun Burton will act as MC, while Luke Lawrence will be the opening performer.
After that, Aylward will bring the tour to Yuk Yuks in the Uptown Gourmet Grill and Bar on Kenmount Road May 22-24, before heading to Ontario and Alberta this summer. At the end of the year, he’s going back to Asia to tour, and is hoping to record a comedy DVD while there.
“I was probably ready for a tour a year or two ago, but I wanted to really feel that I’m ready to go out and be responsible for giving people a good time,” Aylward says. “Now I’m ready to go.”
Tickets for the Brian Aylward Comedy Tour are $20 and are available by calling the respective venues.