Derek Edwards boasts of being the second most famous person from Timmins, Ontario. The upside? The most famous person is Shania Twain, and who can complain about that?
The downside? He has been an entertainer longer, but has yet to gain the same stratospheric attention as the world-famous country singer.
Edwards’ comedy has been described as “like taking a ride in an open golf cart with a good friend and a six-pack.” He brings his new 90-minute show, Alls I’m Saying, to Port Alberni on Friday, May 31 at ADSS Theatre.
Edwards is self-effacing when he talks about his comedy career via telephone from Ontario’s cottage country. He says he likes to “giggle it up and forget the world for a while. It’s an escape hatch—get away from it all,” he says.
“I’m not trying to change people’s lives, I’m not on a soapbox. Don’t worry about it getting gritty and serious.”
His show varies from gig to gig. “I try and localize it wherever I’m going,” he explains. “You can never go wrong if you can get a few comments of local goings on. Right away, I’m hoping people can relate.”
One place he always finds inspiration is the reception desk of whatever hotel he happens to be staying at. “They know what’s going on, right?”
Edwards has gathered material from his own life experiences as well. Growing up in a resource town in northeastern Ontario, he worked in trades, on the railway, as a waiter, a painter, he planted trees, worked in two mines, he was in a band (“Not a good band; I had a drum set and I was willing to pack it in someone’s van to go play.”).
“I was carrying a lunch box, doing the 9 to 5 and appreciating the wide possibilities of doing comedy for a job,” he says.
He has been doing standup comedy for three decades, but admits his career nearly didn’t get off the ground. “The first time I got scared.”
It took him a year to get up the nerve to pick up a microphone on stage again. Now, he loves it.
“There’s a glory to it when it goes well. And like any job there’s days it doesn’t do so well either. The nicest thing someone can say to me after a show is that some part hurts…because they’ve been laughing so hard.”
Edwards will appear at the ADSS Theatre in Port Alberni this Friday, May 31. Reserved-seating tickets are $47.50 and available at the Rollin Art Centre, 3061 Eighth Ave. (at Argyle Street) or phone 250-724-3412. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.