Get ready for fun
Comedy festival bringing the laughs to region
Nathan Macintosh has enjoyed the sweet roar of laughter on the television stages of Conan O’Brien and Late Night With Stephen Colbert, and he likes it.
“My mom wanted me to go into pharmacy,” said the Halifax-born comedian in a phone interview from his home in New York City where he has lived for six years.
Well, turns out Mom was wrong. Macintosh’s true calling was as a standup comedian and yes, Mom is sometimes the object of his humour.
In fact, his whole Nova Scotia family is with their general quirkiness and loudness.
Macintosh is one of the headliners at the Kitchener-Waterloo Comedy Festival, Feb. 22 to 24 with 16 comics performing in several locations in Kitchener and Waterloo. The three-day festival also includes a family series with street circus performers and a magician.
Macintosh will perform Thursday, Feb. 22 as part of the festival’s opening night gala at Centre in the Square.
The comic said he was raised by his mother and once he decided not to follow other family members into the field of pharmacy, he took a year off after high school to work in a plumbing supply shop.
It was an easy gig, one that gave him plenty of time to think and create.
“I started doing standup,” he said. “Then I went to Toronto.
“I just started to write down things, a couple of funny things.”
He didn’t have any problem finding stages that were friendly to up and coming comics, though Macintosh did find the competition was tough within the group who travel from stage to stage, doling out their humour on receptive audiences.
“It’s a very weird group, a weird fraternity,” he said. “We’re the only ones who know what it’s like.”
After about a year of working for free, he finally started landing paying gigs at places such as bars and pizza joints.
He still remembers the first time anyone gave him money for his comedy routine.
“A guy gave me $10, I was so excited,” he said. “I thought ‘I’m doing it (now).’”
Macintosh is now a regular on CBC
radio’s “The Debaters” he’s done halfhour specials for the Comedy Network and performed in “Just For Laughs All Access” and “Talk Of The Fest.”
He is a success and with that comes a lot of strangeness.
“I don’t want to be rude but people come up to me and say ‘I like what you did. I don’t like swearing,’” he said.
“I say God d***it all the time, so don’t listen when I say God d***it.”
He doesn’t want to offend anybody “but I have to be myself.”
Macintosh also has people coming up asking if he knows his nose is crooked or they challenge him when he starts talking about his Chihuahua.
“They come and say ‘You don’t have a Chihuahua,’” he said. Yes, in fact he does.
Audience members also make comedy suggestions, telling him about their own mother’s crazy antics and say he should feel free to use the material.
No, he won’t.
Comedy, he said, has to be from his own experiences, his own observations of human nature which is quirky enough to have created a successful career for this young Canadian.
“I was a funny kid, a bit quiet,” he said. “I talk loud now.”
Must be in the genes.
The comedy festival will feature 16 American and Canadian comics, including Scott Thompson, from “Kids in the Hall” fame, Sandra Battaglini, the 2013 Canadian Comedy Award winner for her solo show “Classy Lady” and Landry, a self described interracial love child whose hybrid existence provides a lot of fodder for this comic from Kitchener who now makes his home in Atlanta.
Nathan Macintosh opens three-day comedy festival in Kitchener and Waterloo on Thursday, Feb. 22 at Centre in the Square.