We had the pleasure in interviewing Montreal’s darkest and most disturbed comic Joel West.
He grew up in Montreal but moved to Toronto at the age of 14. So he is pretty familiar with both towns. He’s also lived in southern USA which we both agree is a scary place to live…
because they carry guns…
Jo: How did you get into stand-up, what was the path that lead you there?
Joel West: I was extremely ill when I was 15 years old. I spent a week in the hospital and another week at home convalescing. I would sneak off to watch TV and one of the things I would watch is the Johnny Carson show. All I remember is laughing my ass off. So much so that I’m dying. Here I am sick, laughing until I can’t no more and thought to myself: This is what I want to do in life. I tried comedy for a year and a half and left it. For 20 years I avoided stand-up comedy because it hurt. All I would do is analyze it and take it apart in my head so I might as well give it another try. And here I am.
Jo: I’ve often heard you say that you’re not “cool”.
What is “cool” to you?
JW: What I mean by cool is conventionally cool. So if you take GQ and look at the cover or someone in an Italian cut suit, that is not me. I don’t have an Italian cut body to start off with. When it comes to being smooth and polished, that’s not me. I’m the type of guy who’s pants splits at the last minute. What I am more is pissed off about is that I’m not any of these things and I see the superficiality about them.
Jo: What are your other interests besides comedy?
JW: I’m a computer geek. I love computers, program computers. I also love cooking, fine dining. I’m a big foodie. I also enjoy brilliant character driven comedy, something we can’t find anymore. I’m a big science fiction reader.
Jo: Do you have any guilty pleasure shows that you watch but won’t admit?
JW: The only shows that I dislike in all shape and form are reality TV shows because /I think they treat people like objects. I think it’s wrong to treat people like objects. That being said, the Food Network has some good reality TV shows like Iron Chef, Food challenge, Top Chef, all which I love but I won’t talk about them.
TuJo: Do you have an allergy for HARPO?
JW: Harpo Productions. Not so much an allergy but contempt for them, when it comes to Oprah I think she is evil scum. I think she is disgusting, she panders and I think that if Dr. Phil were my therapist, I would kill myself right now. Oprah gives quick solutions and she buys her friends. Every show, under your chair, there’s something there. I don’t have to buy my friends. Dr. Phil same thing. He has someone with a terrible, terrible problem and makes you believe that your problems can be solved in 40 minutes, 1 hour with commercials. So people come back with the hope that maybe Dr.Phil can solve our problem and I think that’s wrong. Dr. Oz on the other hand has a full blown essay about poop and how Oprah’s poop is the poop to have. According to medical professionals I’ve spoken with, his information is wrong. Dr.Oz is as dangerous as Rachel Ray. I’m kinda glad she has her own network now.
Jo: What do you do to relax? Do you have time?
JW: I don’t really. I travel a lot to Ottawa, to Kingston, Writing, blogging, pissing people off in general. That is my therapy. To get on stage and tell people this is wrong to make them laugh
Jo: Do you ever get stage fright?
JW: I always get stage fright and instead of finding it debilitating, I take the energy from that and use it.
Jo: For some its obvious that they are or they are drunk because they’re the last ones on…
JW: I don’t drink when I’m performing because I think the audience deserves me sober, they paid to see me try my best and do my best. I don’t think it’s right and I don’t do it. It’s like cheating
Jo: Do you think your funny?
JW: Depends on the day, on the hour. It depends. Some days I’m gold, others, absolutely not. I have a reoccurring nightmare where the crowd starts realizing that my jokes are not funny. And then a whisper goes through the room and a roar of pitch forks and an angry mob starts to form, and then I wake up.
I think if your honest a comic, you will go through that manic yes or no.
Jo: What are your aspirations, comedy future goals?
JW: I want to keep performing, keep adding time. I just got week-ends at Absolute Comedy in Ottawa. I would like to make this my main source of income. Just keep going in this direction.
Thank you Joel West for your time and laughter. You can find him and Barry Carter at their own produced show, Komedy at La Kachette, January 27th at 9pm.You can also find Joel West February 3rd at Rock Bottom Comedy. Hosted by George H. Braithwaite at BARFLY at 10pm.
I hope you enjoyed and if you want your interview to be done, drop me a line!