“If Adopt This! was a child, then Montreal would be its loving, supportive, espresso-drinking, alcoholic parent,” declared comedian Dan Bingham.
This is not the kind of statement one casually throws around in daily conversation, but when it’s made by a man who won over Fringe crowds last May wearing just a baby bonnet and a diaper, it’s hard to not believe him.
This week, the former Concordia grad and vehemently proud Montrealer is taking the stage for a second run of his comedy show Adopt This!
For those expecting your run of the mill standup offering of race, sex and politicsâ€”don’t.
The hilarious show tells Bingham’s story about reuniting with his biological family, an event that defined his life.
“Reuniting with my biological family was easily the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Â HBO’s production of Game of Thrones is a close second,” he explained. “But seriously, when I step back and look at my life as a whole, everything leading up to the meeting of my biological mother and her family is an incredible story.
“As a comedian I get on stage every night and tell jokes, but over the last six years I’ve been dying to tell the whole story of what it’s like to grow up adopted, and how it felt to meet the people who gave me up.”
As is the case with autobiographical writing, Bingham had to decide how much of himself he was willing to reveal to the masses. In the end, audiences reacted well to the story.
“There were many moments along the way where I felt like I was telling too much, but in the end the more I opened up to people, exposing some vulnerable underbelly, the more people seemed to appreciate the story,” he said.
While his adoptive family hasn’t seen the show yet, his biological family was at this year’s Fringe festival, where Bingham performed for sold-out audiences. This latter fact might have had something to do with a little incident at Fringe-for-All (the festival’s preview event).
“I went on stage in front of 200 people, including all the Montreal media, wearing a baby bonnet and a diaper,” Bingham recalled. “A CTV video camera happened to be there. Two minutes in a diaper and next thing you know I was on the six o’clock news.”
The show’s run at Fringe left an apparent impression on the comedian.
“I met so many wonderful people working at the Fringe, who were all so helpful and supportive. Â I have to say it was one of the best weeks of my life,” he said. “To spend half a year working so hard, with so much doubt, anxiety, excitement, laughter and tears, to see it all pay off was the best experience anyone could ask for.”
While Bingham didn’t have a hard time writing the script for the show, there is still a trick he uses when the words don’t necessarily throw themselves at the page: cleaning.
“I hate it whenever movies or TV shows depict writers as these messy slobs, up to their eyeballs in books and dust and banana peels. Writing is hard, scrubbing the bathtub is easy,” he explained. “When I wrote Adopt This! I treated it like a job. For six months I would wake up, eat breakfast, make a gigantic coffee, and basically lock myself to the computer for the next four hours or so, standing up to practice saying some of the things I just wrote.”
After all the hard work and the show’s success, Bingham’s intentions for Adopt This! remain simple.
“With this show, I want to give people a small glimpse into what it’s like to grow up knowing there’s another family out there somewhere. Â I hope people can relate to some of the struggles I went through when I was young, and realize they’re not the only ones,” he said. “I just want people to hear this story, and laugh their asses off the whole way through.”
Adopt This! is running at Theatre Ste Catherine (264 Ste-Catherine E.) Sept. 29 to Oct. 1. Student (and adoptee) tickets are $12. Â For more details, visit www.danbinghamcomedy.com.