Boris

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

They were. Boris’s man­ager even­tu­ally sub­mit­ted three Tv-ready sets on tape — two of which were recorded when the comic was open­ing for Louie An­der­son last sum­mer at Ru­mor’s Com­edy Club — and notes, emails and phone calls were ex­changed for sev­eral more weeks. Even­tu­ally, an­other set was recorded at Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto, and that ma­te­rial formed the frame­work for what Boris will per­form on Co­nan this week.

“It never felt real at all, but ob­vi­ously, he must have been in­ter­ested,” said Boris, 33. “He was tim­ing the jokes, and send­ing notes — he was putting a lot more ef­fort into it than I was — and I did the show at Yuk’s and sent that, and a week later we got the of­fer.”

Asked if he was feel­ing the pres­sure of this very big late-night ap­pear­ance, Boris ad­mit­ted that he hadn’t re­ally had time to think about the Co­nan gig, let alone worry. For the past sev­eral months, he has been work­ing as a pro­ducer/writer on Canada’s Got Tal­ent, and that be­hind-the-cam­era job was an all-con­sum­ing task.

“I love standup, but I’ve al­ways looked at my ca­reer as equal parts standup, on-air (in shows like MuchMu­sic’s Video on Trial), writer and pro­ducer,” he said. “And I love all those parts, but it’s been fun to take the pro­duc­ing part a bit fur­ther.”

Now that the Ci­tytv re­al­ity/ com­pe­ti­tion show has com­pleted its first sea­son (with the Man­i­to­ban trio Sag­keeng’s Finest tak­ing home the ti­tle and grand-prize haul), Boris will have a lit­tle more time to con­sider the sig­nif­i­cance of land­ing a spot on Co­nan.

“When I started out in Win­nipeg, I didn’t re­ally know much about standup, other than what I saw on TV and the comics who came through Ru­mor’s,” he ex­plained. “For me, the lofty goals at the time were get­ting a Com­edy Now! (on CTV), a Just For Laughs, and a Let­ter­man or some­thing. Those were the three things I thought would let me feel like I was a comic. So I’ve done the other two, and now do­ing this is a pretty big deal.

“I know this could be a gamechanger; it could re­ally open things up for me in the States. But the most ex­cit­ing part, for me, is know­ing that Co­nan is go­ing to be sit­ting at the desk, lis­ten­ing. It’s go­ing to be re­ally hard not to peek over if I hear him laugh­ing.”

Boris said he’s par­tic­u­larly grat­i­fied that he was able to earn an ap­pear­ance on a U.S. talk show with­out hav­ing made the all-too-fa­mil­iar up­root-and­move-to-l.a. decision.

“I’ve got friends who moved to the States years ago, and they kind of had to start over when they got there,” he said. “But I’ve al­ways been lucky — I’m very busy and very happy here, and I’ve never felt the need to go to L.A. I’ve al­ways hoped to get a foot in the door, but I didn’t want to go down there and start from scratch. Hope­fully, this is that op­por­tu­nity — I’ve got a bunch of other meet­ings set up when I’m down there, and there are a few things I would def­i­nitely love this to lead to.”

Af­ter Co­nan, Boris be­gins a standup­filled sum­mer that in­cludes a head­lin­ing gig at Ru­mor’s (July 17 to 21), fol­lowed by his fourth ap­pear­ance at Mon­treal’s Just For Laughs (in­clud­ing his sec­ond gala-show gig).

He said he’s par­tic­u­larly ex­cited about re­turn­ing to the room where he be­gan his com­edy ca­reer. “It’s still the home club for me,” he said. “And the more clubs I see, the more I re­al­ize that Ru­mor’s re­ally is a great club. (Late owner) Ross Rumberg al­ways used to tell me that I’d get spoiled by work­ing there, and then I re­mem­ber when I moved to Toronto and I got my first (club) set, on a Thurs­day, and there were, like, 18 peo­ple there. At Ru­mor’s, you can get 200 peo­ple on a Tues­day. For them to do that, seven shows a week, all year round, is pretty amaz­ing. It’s al­ways fun to come back.”

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