Dauk dissects standup; Mcgee laughs till she cries COMEDY
Ross Dauk loves to talk shop. 2
The 34-year-old standup thinks about comedy day and night. He’s into all aspects of the art, not just the glamorous part of getting up onstage and making people laugh.
“I love performing comedy but I love the writing and the coming-up of ideas and the prep for the shows,” he says while munching a cookie at a Main Street café.
The Saskatchewan native has been a standup in his mind longer than the eight years he’s been actually doing it. Even while he was working in B.C. forests as a park ranger, his thoughts were with comedy. He wasn’t afraid of bears or cougars, but was too scared to perform.
“Being a park ranger was trying to find meaning without doing comedy, the thing I knew I should do,” he says. “I also care about the environment very much, but it wasn’t for me. I knew I had to do comedy. Even though I had the greatest jobs in the most beautiful places, I was writing jokes and couldn’t help but just be compelled to the city.”
Dauk did a total of one show in Saskatoon and then one in each of the major cities on his way here before embarking on a career in comedy in Vancouver.
“Quite quickly I got a job where I was only working a couple hours a day,” he says. “I didn’t know anyone in the city. I saw comedy as my full-time job but it was leading to five-minute sets.” This convinced the former shy kid to become a fast talker. “I had so much that I wanted to say in too little time.”
Dauk has run the popular weekly show Jokes Please! every Thursday at Little Mountain Gallery for the past five years. This summer, he made his first appearance at the prestigious Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, where he was chosen to compete in the Homegrown competition. He didn’t win, but that was beside the point.
“I don’t love competitions, but I love doing comedy,” he says. “I always want to win, I guess, but that is not the focus. The focus is to have the best set you can.”
The way to achieve that, one would think, is to be funny. But it’s not the only way, says Dauk.
“What I think is funny and what I think is effective aren’t always the same thing, unfortunately,” he says. “I think about this constantly…but I much prefer funny over effective.”
What’s the difference, you ask? Effective is “doing the job professionally, where the audience is entertained and enjoys the show. I can have a set where the audience really enjoys it, but if I didn’t do what I wanted or if I didn’t feel very funny, I’m not that happy about it. And if I have a set where I’m very funny and the audience likes or doesn’t like it, I will much prefer that. What a weird thing that is. I think that’s the craft and art of it, putting it all together.”
It’s a steady learning curve for most standups. But you know Dauk will put in the time.
“The goal is to work on it and do it for life,” he says. “I know how to get better: write, perform, do that on Repeat.”
> GUY MACPHERSON KATHLEEN MCGEE
It doesn’t take much to get Kathleen 2 Mcgee to cry. Even the name of her very popular podcast is a tip-off: Kathleen Mcgee Is a Hot Mess. Talk to her for five minutes and chances are she will shed a tear or two.
“I’m an emotional person!” she says over a fancy drink at a Fraser Street coffee shop. “I’m a crier.”
You’d never know it watching her on-stage doing standup. She’s a powerhouse.
“When I’m performing, it’s easy,” she says. “I could be bawling and then go up and be fine. It’s weird. I can get up there and just be me.”
Mcgee recently advanced to the finals of the Siriusxm Top Comic competition and will go up against seven of the best comedians from across the land on September 28 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto as part of the JFL42 Festival. The winner collects a cool 25 grand.
Just getting that far gives Mcgee “the Just For Laughs trifecta”—she’s already performed at both JFL Northwest and Just For Laughs in Montreal.
When she advanced in the regionals at the Comedy MIX, she cried tears of joy and relief. Since then, she’s been visualizing holding the giant cheque, but no matter what the outcome is, Mcgee knows what her reaction will be. “I will cry when I win and I’ll cry
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