Dauk dis­sects standup; Mcgee laughs till she cries COM­EDY

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ROSS DAUK

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

see page 29

Sen­si­tive Kath­leen Mcgee is a pow­er­house on-stage; Ross Dauk pretty much ob­sesses about com­edy. Emily Cooper photo.

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