Get ready for fun

Com­edy fes­ti­val bring­ing the laughs to re­gion

Waterloo Region Record - - Front Page - VA­LERIE HILL Water­loo Re­gion Record vhill@there­

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.

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