Derek Seguin, one of Canada’s most beloved comedians, flies solo in English at Just for Laughs Off-JFL, in “Derek Seguin 43.0.” As the hilariously exasperated single dad of three kids, ages 16, 15 and 10, Seguin has no shortage of material.
While much of Seguin’s show is for ‘mature audiences’, it always comes from a good-natured perspective, charming audiences wherever he goes. Seguin’s rough language is never simply for shock value. “If you’re not making a valid point, then the joke will lose its impact.”
When asked the differences between French and English stand-up, Seguin explains, “In English, if you sound too rehearsed, the audience disconnects. French audiences expect you to flow, by heart. In French, if you pause and stop talking, they’re conditioned to clap. They view stand-up more like a play.”
“Being a bilingual comic, there’s a lot of translation involved. Sometimes I think of something in French and adapt it to English. Or else, it’s the opposite. Since I’m storytelling in both languages, I can do the same joke, with a slightly different emphasis, a different sensibility for each.” Though French is his native tongue, Seguin feels liberated when performing in English. “I’m free up there. It’s the best feeling in my life, to be standing on stage!”
“I don’t really sit down to write as much as I used to. I’m improvising a lot on stage, working it out. Hopefully, I’ve pressed ‘record’. If not, my girlfriend is there to jot it down.” Being a story-teller, Seguin does not rely on precise wording for his jokes. “It’s more of a rhythm.” When filming for television, he’s required to provide transcripts. “It’s really laborious, trying to write down every little thing. By the end, I hate the joke,” he laughs.
After years of success in French comedy, Seguin’s English career is soaring. First, a standing ovation at a 2013 HBO/Just For Laughs Montreal Gala, then rave reviews for his 2014 Just for Laughs “The Nasty Show” appearance, and finally winning “SiriusXM’s Top Comic” in 2015. The momentum of Seguin’s “three in a row” has opened doors for him, across North America. Has he considered relocating? “It’s crossed my mind—to move to Toronto, or to get a Green Card and go to the U.S. But I love my city, my little house. And, my kids don’t want to leave!” Seguin’s children are the center of his world, along with his devoted girlfriend. “I am considering moving further outside of the city, contemplating maybe a chalet.”
Wherever he resides, Seguin will always remain down to earth and grounded. “Comedy is so personal, sometimes it’s hard to separate ourselves. A lot of our identity is our job. Family reminds us of what is most important.”
July 21-23, 9 p.m.
July 26 & 29, 9 p.m.