For comedian and Concordia University graduate Andrew Searles it all started with a challenge. One night a friend dared him to open for comics Joey Elias and Ryan Wilner at a John Abbott College comedy show. At the time, he thought it would be a fun experience, nothing more.
Now it’s ten years later and he’s one of our city’s most dynamic comedians, entertaining crowds from coast to coast.
For Searles, comedy allows him to be himself, only more so. “I’m on stage, cracking jokes, hitting on girls in the front row, shooting down the jock who’s being a douchebag.”
And at the end of it all?
“After you do an amazing show, and you get off-stage, they say it’s better than any drug you could ever take in life. The rush you get…nothing beats it.”
Searles has worked hard to achieve the success he experiences today. For years he would analyze videotapes of his shows, studying everything from the way his audience reacted to his body language. All his hard work has made comedy a seamless extension of his personality.
“People say we make it easy. People say comedy’s a quick thing, but it takes years to become seasoned.” So what makes a professional comedian? Many things: improvisation, knowledge of crowd psychology and brazen confidence.
“You have to be 110% confident you’re ready for what they’re going to say next. I have to show that I’m ready to handle anything that’s being thrown at me.”
Despite steadily touring across the country he still maintains strong ties to Montreal’s comedy scene.
“I still go back to open mics to work on new material. Montreal definitely has camaraderie. We all help each other.”
Recently back from his latest tour, Andrew isn’t as narrowly defined by his comedy as one would think. He’s also making steady forays into the acting world. In the year and a half since graduating from the John Molson School of Business with a degree in marketing, he has quit his part-time job and is now pursuing acting alongside his comedy.
“Acting has always been my main goal, the end result. Comedy was something I fell in to. Between juggling school and comedy and acting, I could only do two out of three.” As his marketing degree was more of a fallback plan, comedy was the option that made the cut. “Now I’m at the point where I can focus on my comedy and my acting. Now I’m ready to push both of them to the next level.”
His upcoming projects are as numerous as they are different. In February, as part of Black History Month, he will participating in the second annual run of The Underground Comedy Railroad, a showcase of black Canadian comedic talent.
“A lot of black comedy we see is from the U.S. We’re often overshadowed by the American black comedy scene so I think this show is a way of showing off black Canadian comics,” he said.
Screen wise, he’ll be featured in a soon-to-be-released web series as well as having some face time in a new Roland Emmerich (director, Independence Day) film alongside some big Hollywood names.
With such ambitions, where does he see himself in the future?
“I’d like to live in Los Angeles, juggling the comedy and acting careers. And Jessica Alba. Maybe live in a jet at some point and fly around.”