Shout Outs to DJ Demers
Today’s shout out is to Toronto comic and a good friend of mine, DJ Demers.
DJ and I started doing stand-up comedy around the same time, and we immediately hit it off. I really enjoyed his bits, and he was also a genuinely nice guy with lots of intelligent things to say about stand-up.
He is one of those guys I am always happy to see, whether to enjoy his newest jokes, or just share a pint and chat about comedy.
What does he have to say about comedy? Let’s find out.
12 Questions with DJ Demers
What made you decide to start performing stand-up comedy?
I’ve wanted to be a stand-up comedian since I was a little girl. I did public speaking all throughout elementary school and I tried to spice up my high school valedictorian speech with some comedy. But then it didn’t seem like a smart career choice so I went to university for business. In third year, I travelled from Waterloo to Toronto to do the Tuesday night open mic at Yuk Yuk’s. I actually had a great set, and when I got off stage, I decided then and there I would pursue comedy as soon as I graduated.
Can you name a couple of comics you look up to and why you admire them?
Louis CK and George Carlin, for their ability to mix social commentary with some solid fart jokes. I also love straight up joke-tellers like Jerry Seinfeld. He is a master craftsman. I love Toronto comic Dave Merheje, who is a legend in my book. When he is on a stage, he commands your attention.
Yes, Dave is stunning for sure. One word answer: What do you consider the hardest part of performing stand-up comedy?
One word answer: What do you consider the best part of performing stand-up comedy?
What is the worst/funniest experience you have had while performing at a comedy show?
One time I was performing at a show where former NHL tough guy Georges Laraque was in the audience. I called him a big bozo and threatened to fight him. I thought I would run with that joke for five minutes, but I looked at his 6’5 270 pound body and immediately retracted my statement.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
I would say to just do it. And do it as much as possible. When you first play guitar, it is hard to even play a single chord. But you have to keep doing it to play a beautiful song. So just get out there and say some jokes. Also, remember that nothing matters, in life or comedy, so there is absolutely no pressure.
Name three movies, TV shows, or books that you go to when you want to have a good hard laugh.
The Simpsons, Dumb and Dumber, and Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
I worked at a call centre for an insurance company. I fielded calls from people wondering if they were covered for certain benefits. Oftentimes, I had to tell them that their insurance claim was rejected after they had already spent their money, thinking they were covered. One elderly woman was so upset after my rejection that she told me she was walking to a bridge to kill herself. I said, “Alright, you have a great day ma’am.” I’m sure she was joking, and that her muffled sobs were fake. Right!?
What kind of humour bores you?
I can tell immediately when a comic is bored by his/her own material. That’s why I like comedians who constantly update their material. Don’t tell me a joke you wrote fifteen years ago. Give me something that means something to you. Otherwise, you might as well be reciting someone else’s material.
What 5 comics, dead or alive, would you book for your vision of a perfect stand-up show?
Mitch Hedberg, Bill Hicks, Jerry Seinfeld, George Carlin, Chris Farley (I know he isn’t stand-up, but he is the best.)
What is your favourite comedy album?
I love Louis CK’s ‘Chewed Up’.
Do you have any topics that you consider off-limits in your act?
No. As long as it’s funny, it’s money. I just made that expression up. Feel free to use it. You don’t want to use it? Very well then. Cheers.
Cheers to you, DJ, wherever you may be. (On Sunday July 24, 2011, he will be at Second City as part of the NBA Comics show Awesome Raddank – go here for details).