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Harris has working-class appeal
By Luke Rundle
Comedian Scott Harris has spent most of his adult life in front of a microphone a location which suits him just fine.
In addition to performing on stage for the past 15 years, he also spent a decade holding down a nighttime drive slot on the Hamilton-based top 40 rock station CKOC. Some might think Harris would have run out of words by now, but if the people keep coming to hear him speak, he says he'll keep on showing up.
Born in Toronto and raised in Hamilton, Harris says his childhood life had little to do with his ultimate career choice of a stand-up comic. "I don't remember the birth part myself," he deadpans.
It was through networking that Harris decided to throw his hat into the comedy ring, having met and befriended the owner of the local Yuk Yuk's comedy club at a party.
"I found out he played golf, so we went out on the course one day. All day, he kept suggesting that I come out to the club," Harris recalls. "I wasn't really into doing something like that, because there had been five or six disc jockeys that had gone down to do a set before me and every one had just bombed. He pestered me all day about writing an act and finally convinced me to take a shot. I went out there and it was just electric got a standing ovation my first night. I've never looked back."
With a distinctly clean but engaging style, Harris' approach is one that appeals to comedy fans of all ages. "You could bring your mom to my show. If I see a lot of older people out in the audience, I tailor my show to that because I want to do well. I'm not going to do well with your grandmother in the audience telling jokes about vaginas and going to the bathroom," Harris explains.
"I'm also older now, so that whole toilet thing is too easy. That kind of humour bails you out at a really bad one-nighter in Kapuskasing, [Ontario]. I try to write harder things now, take on new challenges."
Having bested such recent challenges as opening the Kitchener Planet Hollywood with Bruce Willis and becoming the first comedian ever to perform in Ottawa's Parliament building, one might wonder what dragon Harris plans to slay next.
"I just shot three pilot episodes for a television show that I think is the most amazing concept for a show in the history of comedy. It's a bowling game show that takes place during a sitcom and it's a real game show," Harris says excitedly. "It's called Gutterball Alley and it'll be on the Comedy Network sometime soon, maybe March. Johnny Gardhouse and Wade McIlwain are the hosts and I play an overraging Lothario who's the head pro at the bowling alley. If you can imagine a behind-the-scenes show like The Larry Sanders Show, it's kind of like that."
As offbeat as his latest project sounds, however, one must remember that Harris' biggest attraction is his working man's approach to the work. "I like to be the voice of the common man, because I am the common man. I'm from the community, I live in the community, but I have more time on my hands to observe," he intimates.
"After you've worked all week and put up with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that have been thrown at you, I want you to come to Yuk Yuk's so I can say, 'Here's what happened to us this week,' tear it apart and make fun of it," he continues. Yuk Yuk's is the place to see hard-core, uninhibited comedy that truly is indicative of what it is an art form."