Volume 92, Issue 91
Friday, March 19, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Quick wit has Eisen risin'
By Luke Rundle
A Lou Eisen comedy show is a truly rewarding experience for no matter how badly a person feels about their life, chances are Eisen feels even worse.
Jokes like, "My head is so big, my grandmother died trying to knit me a toque" punctuate Eisen's shows, which he describes as "self-deprecating, with quirky, odd observations thrown in." He is a samurai of comedy, humble in the face of admiration, but well-schooled in the ways of rapier wit.
After graduating from the English program at York University, Eisen made a first effort at stand-up which he describes as funny as a Mike Harris budget. Following this, he dropped out of the comedy scene, then joined the Second City repertory company and returned to stand-up in 1985.
Eisen attributes his first failures to a simple case of misguided emulation. "I was heavily influenced by George Carlin and I would go out and talk about abortion, racism and prostitution. It occurred to me that nobody really cared to come to a comedy club and hear somebody talk about it. So when I went out and talked about the fact that I'm fat, or that I have a big head and bow legs, or the fact that I'm married people can relate to that."
His approach to his work has certainly paid off. Quite prominent on The Comedy Network, he has made frequent national television appearances on Open Mike With Mike Bullard, as well as a one-hour stand-up concert titled "Rhapsody In Lou." As well, he has created a series of Heritage Moments parodies entitled Dead Canadians, set to premiere this April.
Eisen has nothing but high praise for Canada's first strictly comedy network. "The great thing is that it's allowed me to stretch. I can do my stand-up comedy now and I can do my sketches like my Dead Canadian shorts."
However, Eisen feels his real comedic strength is his writing, rather than his performing. "I consider myself a writer that does stand-up. I actually wrote a movie called Eyewitless with my writing partner in L.A. that Will Smith's production company is looking at. I'm getting more acting parts in shows and movies, but I never really planned on that."
Eisen has garnered acclaim for this side of his work, as he was recently nominated for a Gemini award for Best Writing For a Comedy Program recognizing his work on the CBC show Thick and Thin. Writing engagements with Fox, TBS and NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno also serve to showcase his literary expertise.
However enjoyable his work is when viewed from afar, Eisen feels the comedic dishes he creates are best when served hot. "Come on out to my show, 'cause then you get off the couch. Actually, it's better that you come to my show 'cause it makes me get off the couch. If you don't come to my show, I just lie around and eat and that's really not that good for me."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999