Volume 93, Issue 64

Tuesday, January 25, 2000


Affair a savoury dish for film connoisseurs

Film plays Down To audiences

Bronson dons Full Metal stylings

Choclair a sweet live experience

Artists find (S)elves

Bronson dons Full Metal stylings

Gazette file photo

By Luke Rundle
Gazette Staff

Those unfamiliar with the work of Montréal comic Rick Bronson have good reason to venture to The Spoke tonight. "There's a good chance I could knock out a 65 year-old grandmother," he deadpans.

"I had a mic stand tip over on a stage one time and it landed on the head of an old lady. To this day, I never put the mic stand at the foot of the stage. It wasn't my fault – it was the club's because they had one of those stages built on milk cartons – but I was the one who took the guilt and pain on that one."

Such a war story can be expected from a comic who labels his Full Metal Comic North American college tour as "no-holds-barred" and "in-your-face." "If you're sitting up front, chances are you're going to be directly in the line of fire," he says.

This full-bore approach to comedy has not hurt Bronson one iota. In fact, it has garnered him two Canadian Campus Comedian of the Year Awards in 1997 and 1998, a starring role on the Life Network's The Tourist and countless appearances at venues such as Montréal's Just For Laughs comedy festival – all by the age of 30.

However, Bronson is a career man to the comedy cause, having enlisted his services at the tender age of 15. "I got started more or less on a dare from friends. I was the quintessential class clown and a buddy of mine was doing stand-up at the local comedy club," he recalls. "A group of us went down to watch him and in my sheer modesty, I thought I was a lot funnier than him. So I decided to try it out the week after that and I was lucky that the club owner really enjoyed what I did and gave me the opportunity to keep coming back. The snowball effect had begun."

Perhaps it was Bronson's fearless style which endeared him to early audiences. Spontaneous and off-the-cuff, he is confident and versatile enough to either stick to a planned set or craft a completely new act based on feedback from the audience. "I really try to give people the live feeling," he explains. "I never want people to come to a live show and feel like they could have stayed home and watched the show on TV and got the same effect from it."

Although many of his peers may fear abandoning their material, Bronson explains the need for stability is not part of his personal comedic battle plan. "I'm not afraid of deviating [from a set] at all," he states. "In fact, my favourite shows are when I deviate completely from material and just end up improvising off the audience. Anything that can happen, will happen and anything that can go wrong, might go wrong. When you fly by the seat of your pants like that, the audience is behind you 100 per cent."

Truly, the spoils of war have been fruitful for Bronson. In addition to his work on The Tourist, which is aired both in the United States and Canada, Bronson has had numerous Canadian television appearances air in the last few months.

Though his missions are strictly top secret, Bronson feels this arena is one on which he will focus his energies in the new year. "I'm working on two other series that I'm trying to sell to the U.S., but I'm not at liberty to discuss what they're about. I'm in the middle of writing a feature film, but at this point it's more out of a love for the art.

"The trick to this industry is to try and get your hands into as many pockets as possible. You can be successful on TV one day and the next day, everything just disappears."

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