On the heels of his wildly successful 2010 tour of the Great White North, Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy is returning to Canada for a victory lap of sorts.
Although he admits that he is approaching his 21-date coast-to-coast Canadian tour with as much zest as any of his other tours, he jokingly expresses some concern about his second solo outing across the country as being the “classic tricky follow-up” tour.
In all honesty, however, Danny’s concerns are definitely unfounded. His Wanderlust tour, which started on Thursday with a performance in Saint John, is certain to be a crowd-pleaser with Danny’s quick-fire wit, charm and charisma being big reasons why he has endeared himself to audiences worldwide.
Danny is a regular performer at comedy festivals throughout the world including the prestigious Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. Danny’s 2011 performance was a memorable one for the fact that the comedian sold-out 10 nights at Montreal’s Gesù Theatre. His hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland has helped make him the top-selling box office comedian while Danny also has the unique distinction of having broken ticket records at comedy festivals in Australia and New Zealand.
It’s fairly safe to say that Danny need not be concerned about how his upcoming Canadian tour, the most extensive tour of this country in his career to date, will be received by audiences.
“(It’s) going to be the second solo tour that I have done,” Danny says from his Toronto-area hotel earlier this week. “I have done a total of four Canadian tours, two of which were with other comedians and were incidentally two of the most enjoyable tours I have ever done.
“Being able to tour solo has always been an ambition though. Like any career, mine has gone in different stages and places, and building your audience is a process no matter where you perform. From a career point of view, it is important to feel as though you are moving forward.”
Unlike some people who know from a very young age what they want to pursue as a career when they grow up, Danny says that he stumbled rather than strutted confidently into a career in comedy.
“I graduated in 1999 with a degree in history which, let’s face it, is pretty much going to waste,” he laughs. “After that, I really didn’t know what I was going to do. I did various temp jobs for a little while and ended up getting fired from some of them for making people laugh too much. It was then that it dawned on me that I should find a job that allowed me to make people laugh.”
Deeming himself a risk-taker, the lack of security that often greets budding comedians didn’t bother Danny in the least. Saying that he had nothing else lined up in terms of employment at the time, there was really no better time to dive head-first into the world of comedy to see exactly what it had to offer him.
“Comedy was more like a hobby that I turned into a career,” he says. “I was working temp jobs during the day and doing five-minute stand-up spots in comedy clubs all through London. The turning point to making comedy a full-time thing happened at a club in Islington in North London. It would have been somewhere in the vicinity of my 20th or 30th show and the promoter approached me before I had gone on to say that his headline act had pulled out and wanted to know if I would do the headline slot. Initially, I balked, but then when he offered me 50 pounds, which was essentially half a month’s rent for me. I went for it. It was like I was thrown into the deep end and managed to paddle out of it.”
Danny is not one to complain about the fortunes that have greeted his career thus far. For the past 15 years, he has been fortunate enough to travel all over the world, all thanks to comedy. And while it seems almost anybody can be a star for five minutes these days thanks to the Internet, it is clear that Bhoy has the personality and chops to ensure a long, productive career ahead of him yet.
“Thanks to the Internet, I think it is easier to be a comedian in the sense that it is a quicker journey than ever thanks to YouTube and Twitter. Comedians can put something online and overnight can wrack up 100,000 hits and be touring a week later.
“So you can be known much faster than at any other point in history but the downside to that is that competition becomes a lot fiercer because more people want to be comedians,” Danny says. “But at the end of the day, if you are funny and you do what you do and stick with it, you will eventually rise to the top. There are an awful lot of comedians out there these days that play it safe and settle for a kind of middle of the road routine that offers little in the way of originality. I have always felt that it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”
Article published in the March 2, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript