With less than two months to go before Americans will vote in a new President, Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy says the current electoral race is “the gift that keeps on giving.”
“Someone made the point not too long ago that with Donald Trump in the race to be President, it’s harder to come up with anything funnier than what he is saying these days. It is hard to be satirical about the situation in the U.S. when what is happening in real life is so much more ludicrous,” Bhoy says.
Although some might consider politics too easy of a comedic target, Bhoy acknowledges that political turmoil makes for great fodder. Whether discussing his native country’s failed attempt to secede from the U.K. in 2014 or, more recently, the U.K. decision to leave the European Union, everything is fair game on the stage, especially when it comes to giving his two cents on the current political drama in the U.S.
“I think you’d be hard pressed to find a lot of Americans aware of the political turmoil taking place in Europe these days, but for the rest of the world, all eyes are on the U.S. It’s such an extraordinary situation there, but of course, we’re dealing with our own issues in the U.K. these days,” Bhoy says.
“People were just gobsmacked that the U.K. actually voted to leave the EU. Even funnier though, the people that were in charge of the ‘Leave’ campaign – Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage – were just as blown away that they had scored this victory. The whole campaign leading up to the referendum vote, they were touting that the U.K. needed to get its independence back, and then when it happened they were just shell-shocked that they had pulled it off and essentially had begun throwing each other under the bus as quickly as they could.”
European political turmoil isn’t likely to be resolved overnight. While negotiations on the U.K.’s exit from the EU aren’t even expected to begin until next year, Bhoy predicts that he won’t be surprised if Scotland chooses to conduct another referendum on its place in the U.K. within the next two years.
“You do realize the rest of the world is looking towards Canada as the sanest place on earth, right?” he asks with a laugh.
Although there are some that may be inclined to disagree with Bhoy’s rose-coloured glasses outlook on our home and native land, there can be little disputing the man knows his comedy.
He began his stand-up career in 1998, winning The Daily Telegraph Open Mic Award, one of the U.K.’s biggest competitions for up-and-coming comedians the next year. A few short years later, Bhoy brought his show to Canada, Australia and New Zealand, territories where he has since maintained a dedicated following of fans.
A regular performer at Montreal’s legendary Just For Laughs Festival, the comedian couldn’t be more excited about his imminent return to our country. He continues performing upwards of 150 shows per year all over the globe.
Asked if touring holds the same appeal that it did in the early part of his career, Bhoy says he never gets tired of performing. The constant travel is another topic altogether, however.
“I find performing to be more enjoyable than ever. As I’m getting older, I find I’ve got so much more to say, and that it just comes out a whole lot easier. Generally speaking, Canadian audiences are wonderful. Your country has some of my most favourite venues in the whole world, beautiful old theatres that I look forward to returning to each time I visit.
“The only downside to being a successful comedian, if I may call it a downside, is that the travel element doesn’t get any easier. It’s just a constant barrage of planes, trains and hotel rooms. It held a certain mystique in the earlier part of my career, but that has long since worn off,” he says with a laugh.
With attention spans growing shorter by the day, many people are flocking to the internet for their comedy fixes, many of which are given in seven-second doses known as “Vines.” While most people can see that the bulk of the most popular videos lack any kind of spontaneity and are simply staged for comedic value, Bhoy isn’t worried he will be out of a job anytime soon.
That doesn’t mean he isn’t worried for the generation of young children who seemingly know little outside of YouTube, however.
“The thing I find troubling about Vines and what services like YouTube have done is that they have created a culture of instant gratification. A lot of people aren’t prepared to wait for anything, let alone a punch line in comedy. They don’t want to wait for that payoff and that’s really sad,” Bhoy offers.
“That being said, I’m not terribly worried about the live comedy show losing its appeal and audiences subsequently becoming smaller. Much like going to a music concert, the experience of seeing a comedy show in person is so much better than watching a clip of that same show online. We’ve got enough people that recognize that. Stand-up comedy isn’t going anywhere.”
What: Danny Bhoy
When: Saturday Oct. 1 & Sunday Oct. 2, 7 p.m.
Where: Capitol Theatre, 811 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $50 plus service charges. Advance tickets are available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office, by phone (506) 856-4379 and online at capitol.nb.ca