Volume 93, Issue 89
Friday, March 17, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Comedian a global success
Gazette file photo
LIVING THE ROCK 'N' ROLL LIFESTYLE TOOK IT'S TOLL ON PEARL JAM'S EDDIE VEDDER. Comedian Stewart Francis takes the stage tonight and tomorrow at Yuk Yuk's
By Aaron St. John
Remarkably young-looking, stand-up comedian Stewart Francis describes his show as having "a little something for everybody."
"My demographics are apparently eight to 80 and I take a great deal of pride in that," he states. "I'd hate to be exclusive to one type of audience. My show has some silliness, some impressions and some cerebral stuff."
This last element has garnered Francis the description of "the new, improved Steven Wright," although he stresses he has more energy than Wright.
"I can get cheeky and it's more shocking because it comes out of the blue," Francis says of his routine. "I'll do a bird impression, then go into something sexually graphic and the crowd will go, 'What the? Did he just say that?' I like that," he laughs. "The element of surprise is always good. That's what comedy is all about."
Francis, who grew up in Etobicoke, is a self-described late bloomer in the world of comedy. He didn't get into the business until the age of 30. He modestly claims he ended up in comedy because he's funny. "I used to go to clubs and see comedians on TV and I would think to myself, 'I'm better than that'. And I was right."
Francis says he is most proud of hearing Jay Leno perform one of his jokes on The Tonight Show. He explains he had submitted numerous jokes to the program without success, but on his eighth attempt, struck gold with something mysteriously called "the turkey baster joke."
"It was marvelous," Francis says of the event. "Especially since it was the last joke of the monologue. It was a surreal experience and the highlight of my career."
Francis has performed in comedy clubs throughout Canada, the U.S. and Britain. He has appeared on HBO's The Dennis Miller Show, CBC's Comics and also hosts a weekly radio show called "Laughing Matters" in Scotland.
Francis still performs constantly, touring North America on a regular basis, as well as doing shows in the UK. When asked how he ended up performing there, the comedian deadpans, "I took a plane," before elaborating that both of his parents are English, thus allowing him to easily get permission to work.
"The pay is a lot better over there, so I don't really have to work here. That's a really nice feeling. I love the work, but it's nice not to have to," he says.
As for his future plans, Francis says he is currently attempting to set up a production company to develop his own program ideas. The funny man says he is looking forward to this as it will grant him more freedom. "And that's where the real money is," he says.
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