Should you ever worry that it’s too late in life to pursue a passion, Quebecois comedian Derek Seguin has a word of advice: It’s never too late. At 31 years old, with two young kids at home and no prior experience otherwise, Seguin began earnestly performing stand-up comedy, juggling his long-time passion with a full-time job at an ad agency.
Within four years of taking that important first step, Seguin was able to drop his full-time job in order to pursue comedy full-time, which he has successfully done since 2008. Over the course of the last nine years, Seguin has become one of the most sought-after standup comedians in Canada, performing at the prestigious Just For Laughs festival, and on the CBC Radio program The Debaters.
In 2015, Seguin won Sirius XM’s Canada’s Top Comic competition; a contest that spanned the entire country and boasted finalists from every major city.
Is the comedian’s success story typical of the entertainment business? Of course not – Seguin would be the first to acknowledge that – but it also stands as definitive proof that nothing is ever out of reach.
Performing at Moncton’s Capitol Theatre on Friday night, Seguin’s initial foray into the world of comedy came about in an unconventional way. It was at a Christmas that he was introduced to Kevin Gasior, a then budding stand-up comedian that has since gone on to perform on the bulk of Canada’s major television networks.
“It was in that moment that I realized stand-up comedians need to start somewhere. Nobody becomes Jerry Seinfeld overnight. It was coming to that realization that ended up encouraging me to give stand-up comedy a try,” the comedian says.
Ironically, Seguin notes that he was never the kind of person that sought attention, making his journey into comedy an even more unlikely career choice. But after passing his first open mic performance with relative flying colours, Seguin felt nothing short of exhilarated.
“Had I failed miserably the first time I tried stand-up comedy, I probably wouldn’t have stuck with it. I don’t typically stick with things that I’m not good at,” the comedian says with a laugh. “Those five minutes I was on stage though, I actually knew so little about the craft that I think it inadvertently helped me find my way. Of course, that isn’t to say that I have been without my flaws when it comes to how my material goes over, but there are few things in life that I’ve experienced that is like the rush of being on stage.”
Of course, one ace up Seguin’s comedic sleeve is his ability to perform his shows in both English and French. Interestingly, the comedian has found a number of cultural differences between his English- and French-language shows, which took him a little getting used to.
“Being bilingual has absolutely given me a unique voice and perspective in comedy, and I think has made me a little more distinct – not better, per se – from others in the Canadian comedy business. To audiences all over the country, I’m largely known as being the French guy,” he says.
“I’m proud to be from Quebec, but stand-up there can be quite different from the other places I perform. There are some nuances among a select group of French stand-up comics that I don’t necessarily enjoy. Some of them can be somewhat robotic, almost as though it’s a one-person play than a stand-up comedy show, but then on the other hand, you’ve got guys like Mike Ward and Etienne Dano that just go out and give 110% with each and every performance. That’s how stand-up comedy should be; it shouldn’t be scripted.”
What: Derek Seguin
When: Friday March 17, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Capitol Theatre, 811 Main St., Moncton
Tickets are $40. Advance tickets are available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office, by phone (506) 856-4379 and online at capitol.nb.ca