Be it singlehood, cultural identity or gay marriage, Andrew Searles has it covered
Imagine getting on stage to deliver a few jokes and discovering your life vocation is to do stand-up comedy. This is what happened to Andrew Searles, a JMSB alumnus who has gone on to do shows all across the country, and will now be headlining his first show in his hometown of Montreal.
Searles, a comedian, actor and “self-proclaimed amazing lover” has been doing stand-up for nearly 10 years, and now he brings us a show that he has written and produced himself.
The show is titled C’est moi! C’est Papa Chocolat! in reference to Searles’ previous 2013 show C’est moi! C’est Chocolat! which is a recurring punchline of his.
The added “papa” is explained by the fact that fatherhood—or lack thereof—is a central theme in the new show. In fact, Searles is set to take a humorous look at the fact that he is still single while many of his friends are married with children.
His situation will be relatable to many—singlehood is a rising and much-covered phenomenon. “Most comics will do a show of ‘Oh, hey, I’m a father now.’ My show is about being a single guy while everyone around you is having kids,” said Searles.
Other themes are as diverse as cultural identity, vaccinations and gay marriage. Searles, who grew up on Russell Peters and Dave Chappelle, is willing to touch on hot topics straight out of today’s headlines. With that approach, he draws inspiration from our southern border neighbours, but he is also eager to distinguish himself from them.
On the question of cultural identity, he tackles the absurdity of applying African-American stereotypes to black Canadians.
In his own words, “When you think about black comedy, it’s always American black comedians talking about growing up in the hood. As a black Canadian, I grew up in Pierrefonds. There is no hood, I don’t know what these people are talking about!” So Searles’ intention is also to help promote a distinct black Canadian identity, an underrepresented culture in today’s media.
What makes the Montreal stand-up comedy scene so special, according to Searles, is multiculturalism, which is part of its DNA.
“So many cultures mix and interact with each other. Here, in Montreal, a black person would know when a Jewish holiday is, and what the Chinese calendar is, as opposed to, when you’re out west, in Calgary or Vancouver, the Asians hang out with the Asians, the Jews hang out with the Jews, the Italians hang out with the Italians,” he said.
This multicultural quality, along with it being bilingual, gives our city a big advantage, as far as Searles is concerned. He may well be right, and he certainly adds to the diversity in a way that both compliments the city and defuses tension around topics you should know how to laugh about.
C’est moi! C’est Papa Chocolat! will run at ComedyWorks on Sept. 24 at 8:30 p.m., and Sept. 25-26 at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. For more information, visit Andrew Searles’ website at andrewsearles.com