Interviews with Comics… and two bands – NXNE2014

PengNXNE2

Toronto is literally bursting with talent. It sort of doesn’t make sense: only one act in Toronto seems to make it big per 15 years or so (Rush, Barenaked Ladies, Drake). Compare that with New York or Los Angeles, but only compare Toronto to those cities because that is what it truly means to be Torontonian: to live in and love a city you wish was a different city.

Toronto’s gifted bands and comedians made me think: why not make NXNE picks out of the hometown talent? And then I thought, why not send them pretty much all the same questions so you get to know them a little?

PATTI CAKE

…are an exceptional power pop band fronted by Kritty Uranowski. Let me tell you: she’s got PIPES. You don’t even know for singing. You really don’t.

1. When and where are you performing?

June 20th, The Silver Dollar @ 2 am. SO TECHNICALLY JUNE 21st AT TWO AM. The one where you leave the house on Friday night. That’s the one.

2. What are you hoping to get out of this?

We hope people will dance and sing and take advantage of the 4 am last call.

3. You have Jeremy Woodcock and Steph Guthrie in your band. What’s it like being a magnet for amazing talent?

Jeremy has played piano for me for about 15 years. You don’t let go of talent that good. Steph Guthrie is an amazing singer as well as support and helps me drive the band to new and amazing places. I guess I only surround myself with the best people just in case I mess up, they can cover for me.

4. What do you want Provocative Penguin readers to do at your show so that you know they came as a result of this interview?

If they dance like penguins in the audience, I’ll buy them shots.

STEPH KALINER

…is a comedian and one half of the Terrific Women duo. Google it! You won’t be sorry.

1. When and where are you performing?

At the Rivoli on June 22nd in the Laugh Sabbath showcase – it starts at 9pm.

2. What are you hoping to get out of your performance?

A lovely evening and (with any luck) a drink ticket.

3. You said something about hating some kind of science fiction once. It stuck with me, even though I am definitely misquoting it to myself. Do you remember saying it?

I don’t remember! I wish I did. It sounds like we had a really fun conversation that evening. Maybe I was talking about not liking really dark, gritty sci-fi? Because I will take a fun adventure sci-fi over a takes-itself-too-seriously sci-fi any day of the week! Like a Firefly? Sign me up.

4. What do you want Provocative Penguin readers to do at your show so that you know they came as a result of this interview?

I want them to keep coming to weekly Laugh Sabbath shows at the Rivoli! There are a ton of really awesome comedians who perform at those shows regularly, and it’s a fun night – well worth 5 bucks. Also, would it be possible to stay and hang out after the show too? I really need to socialize more. Help me.

SARA HENNESSEY

…is the other half of Terrific Women, and she has won awards, or at least I believe that she has won awards. It would follow that she has won awards. Maybe don’t google that.

1. When and where are you performing?

I’m in a few shorts that will be screening at the Laugh Sabbath Film Fest (Sun. June 22. 3:30pm. Bloor Cinema), and I will be doing stand up at the Laugh Sabbath stand up showcase (Sun. June 22. 9pm. Rivoli)

2. What are you hoping to get out of this? Are you going to go see Future Islands? People love that band.

I’m hoping for full shows and sweet vibes, bro. I won’t be at Future Islands, but I’m very supportive of that man’s dancing.

3. Let’s get positive. What do you like about NXNE this year?

I like when I think about how many people might fall in love at some NXNE’s inspirational live performances. I mean, what a story to tell the grand kids! “I was just watching Future Islands, and before I knew it, we were touching butts”. So romantic.

4. What do you want Provocative Penguin readers to do at your show so that you know they came as a result of this interview?

Hook me up with a fro-yo, yo.

NICK FLANAGAN

…is an old buddy of mine. He has been in several legendary bands (Teen Crud Combo, The Killer Elite, Brutal Knights) and now he is in the band Wrong Hole, who just released an album called 2012. He co-hosts the Danko Jones podcast sometimes. He has a comedy LP called I’m Here All Weak. He is the reason I started to do comedy!

1. When and where are you performing?

I’ll be hosting June 21 at 2 pm, hosting a Chartattack presented show at Sonic Boom records, featuring Creep Highway, Beta Frontier, Cities Aviv, and Dusted. It’s free. All paupers welcome, just be polite. The next day at 10 pm I will be on the NXNE Laugh Sabbath show at the Rivoli – come earlier than that though, because it is a great lineup.

I think that the people in Laugh Sabbath are easily some of the most talented comics in the country, and it’s cool seeing more and more ‘collectives’ in comedy, whether it’s in the US or throughout Canada. It’s one of the best ways to pool resources and keep a weekly show going without bearing to much of the heavy, heavy load that a weekly show entails. I’m also a jury member for the Laugh Sabbath Short Film Fest.

2. When you think of your role on the Danko Jones Podcast, do you see yourself as an Ed McMahon or an Andy Richter or as a Paul Shaeffer? Scratch that, don’t answer this one, you’re for sure a Paul.

So you don’t want me to answer that? You just want me to ruminate on that statement? OK I will. I guess I have a ‘heh heh heh’ type laugh. And my favourite thing about the podcast is during interviews when I slip some weird statement in and Danko doesn’t notice until he’s editing the episode. It’s like a surprise present for him. One which he sometimes loathes…

3. Is Wrong Hole also playing?

Wrong Hole is playing a non-NXNE party at Soybomb on June 21st at a showcase for Telephone Explosion Records & Pleasence, the latter being the label that released our debut “2012” here. We’re set to play at 8PM so please come early and enjoy the ridiculousness, then move on with your night.

4. What do you want Provocative Penguin readers to do at your show so that you know they came as a result of this interview?

Tell them to wear their finest shirt and laugh their finest laugh. A nicely laughing well-dressed person will signify a reader of this interview. And I will give them a fist bump for their effort.

TODD GRAHAM

…is one of Toronto’s best-loved comics. He is a comedian’s comedian, a national treasure, and one of the funniest human beings alive today.

1. When and where are you performing?

I will be on 3 shows this year! Comedy Records Show at The Free Times Cafe on Wednesday June 18th (I’m on at 8:30pm) then I scamper on over to the Comedy Bar Cabaret Space for The Chuckle Co. Show at 9:30pm (It doesn’t seem to be listed?) Then Thursday (at 10:30pm) is my favourite show back at the Comedy Bar Cabaret Space where I’m on Sandra Battaglini and Phil Luzi’s Family Slide Show where comics give a powerpoint presentation about their childhoods. People literally weep. I hope nobody gets electrocuted … again!

2. You performed last year. Was there any hesitation in applying again this year?

This is my 3rd year in a row. It’s always great to be part of a growing spectacle like this. As long as they ask I will answer. Unless I start my own competing festival which somehow gets booked for the same weeks as this one. The same goes for my marriage.

3. You’re carrying an Ice-T book around for me: what’s it about? Give us a sense of what you think the book is about.

I don’t know why you want to offer up for the reader’s scrutiny such an intimate aspect of our relationship, but if I must: I get the sense that it is a book about relationships and personal growth. Finding the power to become who you want to be only from the perspective of a mentally challenged person.

4. What do you want Provocative Penguin readers to do at your show so that you know they came as a result of this interview?

… come.

YOUNG MOTHER

…are an entrancing experimental band. Band leader Jesse Laderoute (also of local pop phenomenon Blonde Elvis) has been around for a while: he first popped on the scene in the pop band The Incidentals.

1. When and where are you performing?

Young Mother is performing on June 21st at midnight at the Smiling Buddha, and the 22nd at 4pm at Edward Day gallery in the courtyard.

2. What are you hoping to get out of this?

Young Mother haven’t played together in quite some time, and we were offered the show and figured it might be a nice way to bring Jason back from Vancouver for a visit and play with him again. It’s likely that these will be our last shows for another long while.

3. How is it you have 2 bands who play shows pretty frequently, meanwhile most of my friends don’t even realize I have been in the same band since 2009? Not in a how did you succeed way: I mean this in a where do you get the energy and inspiration for 2 bands from?

The 2 bands thing was born out of necessity. Young Mother is a more noisy and chaotic affair, and when I started writing 2 minute pop songs again, it quickly became clear that they weren’t going to work with what we had already established with Young Mother. Now it’s simply a matter of writing something and deciding which project it’s more appropriate for. I have other, less active projects as well, but because I’m not really a multi-disciplinary artist like yourself I have more than enough time for everything.

4. What do you want Provocative Penguin readers to do at your show so that you know they came as a result of this interview?

I would like them to give me their money in exchange for goods and services.

KATHLEEN PHILLIPS

…is pretty much a local legend by now: her character based stand up is one-of-a-kind.

1. When and where are you performing?

I’m performing at the Laugh Sabbath Comedy Showcase Sunday, June22 @9pm – The Rivoli

2. What are you hoping to get out of this?

I’ll be arriving to the show directly off a flight from Edmonton, where my sketch partner Katie Crown and I will be performing at Improvaganza. So I hope to feel the radiant love of Toronto shining on my face as I perform. I also hope for a veggie tray.

3. How many characters would you say you have invented?

9+.

4. What do you want Provocative Penguin readers to do at your show so that you know they came as a result of this interview?

Blow me a kiss.

PRECIOUS CHONG

…(yes, THAT Chong. Can’t you wait and read before you start asking questions? This isn’t even long, or difficult to read) has a whip-smart delivery and erstwhile underground point of view. Plus, she makes films!

1. When and where are you performing?

I’m performing at Family Slides on Thursday at 9pm at the Comedy Bar. Also, a short film of mine called They is playing at the Laugh Sabbath Short Film Festival (also part of NXNE) on Sunday 3:30 at the Bloor Cinema.

2. What are you hoping to get out of this?

A good time, a wristband, and a chance to feel like I’m too old for this shit.

3. Do you want to address the elephant in the room?

By elephant, do you mean my dad the famous drug icon Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong or my name Precious or the fact I moved from Los Angeles to Toronto to do comedy?

3a. I meant moving from Los Angeles. Our readers are too young to know who Cheech and Chong are! Why would you move to this class glass ceilinged burg?

I moved to toronto for love and stayed for the health care.

4. What do you want Provocative Penguin readers to do at your show so that you know they came as a result of this interview?

Are you asking me to write for my hecklers?

4a. I am telling you to write for your hecklers.

They can yell “Woot woot you’re funny for a chick” and then I’ll punch them.

D.J. DEMERS

…is a part of Comedy Bar’s Chuckle Co. collective (Wednesday nights!) and he’s literally the most approachable guy.

1. When and where are you performing?

I’m performing at Free Times Cafe on Friday, June 20 at 8 pm.

2. What are you hoping to get out of this?

I’m just hoping to make people laugh and feel good. And then in turn, I will feel good. Equal parts selfless and selfish.

3. I see you as likely to “make it,” am I out of my mind or do you also think you’re going to “make it”?

Thanks Matt. Appreciate you saying that. I hope I ‘make it,’ whatever that looks like. I hope people associate my name with mirth and merriment, at the very least. And I want to own a yacht, at the very most.

4. What do you want Provocative Penguin readers to do at your show so that you know they came as a result of this interview?

A nice pat on the bum would be much appreciated.

DAVID HETI

…just released the punishing and unrelenting stand-up comedy album It Was OK. His dry delivery and surly intellectual outlook has made him a personal favourite of mine.

1. When and where are you performing?

The Comedy Bar, Cabaret Room; June 20th (Friday); 2:30 am!

2. What are you hoping to get out of this?

Maybe a drink? Last year the show was cancelled and I’ve still no idea why. Bet it’ll be a no go again this year.

3. Are you pretending to be a normal comic or are people just fooling themselves into thinking what you’re doing is regular comedy? I mean, some real goons are digging you. What’s that like?

Is that the vibe I’ve been putting off? In fact, maybe, yes, it’s true, though it’s not at all comedy, but performance art truly. And, no one’s been pretending anything, recently, actually. I mean, have you seen the gigs that I get: The Comedy Bar, Cabaret Room, etc.

I don’t know, is it the not-goons who’re good? Show me. Show them to me. And, what’s regular comedy anyway? And who wants that? Isn’t that what comedy isn’t? What comedy is supposed to be? What it isn’t supposed to be? You know, that stuff, right and wrong n’ stuff. Eating and stuff.

4. What do you want Provocative Penguin readers to do at your show so that you know they came as a result of this interview?

They can blow me. (Really.) A nice, big blow job.

Post-script: I have no idea whom I meant by goons, but I wrote most of these questions using my phone, so the larger question is: what did my phone auto-correct into “goons”?

About pengoo

Pengoo is the mascot and admin of this site. Although his/her/its views do not necessarily reflect those of Provocative Penguin or its affiliates, they probably do.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/gracingthestage Steve Fisher

    Regarding Steph Kaliner’s interview, Laugh Sabbath shows happen weekly at Comedy Bar, not the Rivoli (that info’s a few years out of date.)

    Good mix of talented Torontonians, here.