When you’ve been in the comedy arena for more than three decades, you develop a feel for storytelling, timing, pace, and how to deliver a punch line.
That’s the easiest way to describe the comedic repartee of Derek Edwards and his “Alls I’m Saying” Comedy Tour that took place at Kelowna Community Theatre on the final Friday of October. During his 90-minute stand-up act, just him and a microphone on stage, Edwards was deliberately tentative and never force fed any of his best lines to the audience. He had the patience of a surgeon and did a bang-up job of keeping the half-filled room in stitches.
The 58-year-old Ontario native lived up to his reputation of taking aim at life’s galling moments and turning these nuggets into homegrown material. Even his peers recognize that he is one of Canada’s comic elite with his textured presentation. He’s a four-time nominee, and winner, of Best Standup Comic – Canadian Comedy Awards, as well as a multiple Gemini (now known as the Canadian Screen Awards) nominee for Best Performance in a Comedy.
Seeing Edwards for the first time, I’d say his material was a hodgepodge of everyday life. There was no consistent theme or method to his comic genius, it was like he was pulling stories and topics out of his own personal cloud and humorously relating them to his lieges. This was a self-effacing jokester who said, when talking about life at home with his wife, “I look guilty waking up in the morning.”
The husband-wife scrum was a common thread throughout the routine. He went into stories of how “the happy husband is moot,” how he “won an argument nine years ago,” and how the happy couple celebrated a recent anniversary with “him upstairs and her downstairs.” These Rodney-Dangerfield-like salvos brought hardy laughs from both genders in attendance.
Other musings that brought similar roars were his take on vegetarians (“mythical creatures”), the fine line between embarrassment and hospitalization when falling on an icy winter sidewalk, shopping at a massive Loblaws store, and sampling mango chutney at the farmer’s market. He got slightly bluer when cracking wise on a do-it-yourself vasectomy, visiting a Calgary strip club with his buddies, and how Viagra and hearing loss go together.
Big finish – this was mostly a PG-rated show where Edwards never got blatantly offensive. There might have been a few groans scattered throughout, but for the most part his material was road-tested and the bad apples weeded out. Early in the show one audience member shouted out that he was coming back for the second year in a row to see Edwards. Edwards retorted that he hadn’t appeared in Kelowna last year and that well-received zinger set the laughter bar delightfully high for the rest of the show.