Toronto comic ready to bring laughs back to mu­sic fes­ti­vals

Field Trip has booked a num­ber of lo­cal comics, in­clud­ing K. Trevor Wil­son, to per­form this month

Thornhill Post - - Arts - MARK BRES­LIN Post City Mag­a­zines’ hu­mour colum­nist, Mark Bres­lin, is the founder of Yuk Yuk’s com­edy clubs and the au­thor of sev­eral books, in­clud­ing Con­trol Freaked.

Com­edy and mu­sic — they go to­gether like peaches and cream. Don’t they? This month’s Field Trip mu­sic fes­ti­val in Toronto, June 3 to 4, is bring­ing com­edy back to the mu­sic en­vi­ron­ment, in­clud­ing the “man moun­tain of com­edy,” K. Trevor Wil­son.

It’s been a while since com­edy was paired with mu­sic in a fes­ti­val set­ting. And al­though his Field Trip per­for­mance may be a tough one, if any­one can pull it off, it’s Wil­son.

The Toronto comic is hav­ing a hot mo­ment right now costar­ring in the break­out hit Let­terkenny. Wil­son is one funny dude who is blessed with a beau­ti­fully mel­liflu­ous voice that aug­ments his solid stage pres­ence.

I asked him how per­form­ing at Field Trip might dif­fer from a reg­u­lar club gig.

“I think with mu­sic you don’t have to be as in­vested in what you’re lis­ten­ing to in or­der to en­joy it, whereas com­edy, to be ef­fec­tive, needs your full at­ten­tion,” he says.

“I haven’t for­mally been asked to clean up my act or cen­sor my­self in any way, but know­ing it is an event open to fam­i­lies, I’m go­ing to choose my ma­te­rial ac­cord­ingly.”

Wil­son’s ca­reer as­cen­dancy has been ev­i­denced by his many awards, in­clud­ing win­ning Best Male Stand-Up at the Cana­dian Com­edy Awards in 2015.

He is cur­rently the spokesper­son for the Moose Knuck­les cloth­ing line, and in spite of the name of his com­edy al­bum, SexCop FirePe­nis, he re­mains a rel­a­tively clean act.

He’ll be at Just For Laughs this year in Mon­treal (and I sus­pect in Toronto, too), and you can still catch him at var­i­ous road gigs.

There was an era when comics were more likely to be seen in mu­sic venues, es­pe­cially jazz joints in the West Vil­lage of N.Y.C. or the blues clubs of Chicago.

A lot of co­me­di­ans made their name by open­ing for mu­si­cal greats, but the ex­per­i­ment went awry just as of­ten. How about the le­gendary pair­ing of Mil­ton Berle and Neil Sedaka? Howie Man­del was booed off the stage in 1978 open­ing for Earth Wind and Fire at Maple Leaf Gar­dens.

Some years later, rock fes­ti­vals started giv­ing comics a space to per­form, which co­in­cided with the rise of “al­ter­na­tive” com­edy. Nowhere did this work bet­ter than at South by South­west, in Austin, Texas.

Comics such as Pat­ton Oswalt, Sarah Sil­ver­man, Andy Kindler, and An­thony Je­sel­nik gained huge cult fol­low­ings from their ap­pear­ances SXSW, and comics fought hard to get booked into the fes­ti­val.

Here in Toronto, Cana­dian Mu­sic Week tried to in­clude com­edy in its pro­gram­ming, in­clud­ing a con­cert with Tracy Mor­gan, but the mar­riage never re­ally worked. North by North­east, our lo­cal ver­sion of SXSW, had comics per­form­ing all over the city, with rea­son­able pro­mo­tion, but the con­cept stalled and the idea was aban­doned.

Field Trip is at­tempt­ing to buck the trend. Lo­cal comics such as Nick Reynold­son, Deanne Smith, Arthur Simeon and Wil­son have been booked to per­form in the Laugh Bar­racks, an in­door venue at an out­door fes­ti­val.

This may give the comics a fight­ing chance.

Toronto’s K. Trevor Wil­son in com­edy hit ‘Let­terkenny’

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