Some comics never stop cracking jokes, even during interviews with the media.
But Quebec-based comedian Lorne Elliott doesn’t fit that stereotype. Instead, Elliott is a pleasant conversationalist, a thinker, and an adventurer.
“I get up every morning and I write something,” he said in a phone interview earlier this week. He was just packing up his hotel room in Kimberley, as he travels across B.C. delivering his show to the far corners of the province. In cases like that, he admits, it’s difficult to sit down and write. But he always tries.
It’s a trait he comes by honestly, having witnessed his father’s love of books and writing. It’s a good thing, since his well-known comedic delivery comes from that daily writing.
“That’s where it starts,” he says. Over the years, Elliott has worked at his craft writing his own standup material, an award-winning play, and three novels.
Many have come to know Elliott’s work on CBC’s Madly Off in All Directions, and others as fans of his standup work where he sports his wild hair and carries his guitar. And while his work hinges greatly on Canadian sensibilities, his writing strays away from current affairs and politics.
“I prefer the kind of jokes that will still be relevant,” he said, and political jokes have way of becoming old very fast.
While his determined nature probably accounts for most of his success, Elliott attributes at least part of it to remaining in Canada.
“It’s an excellent place to be if you’re an artist,” he said. “If you want to make a living exploring expressions. You can do that in Canada, much more so (than the United States.)”
“I’ve been to the States and I’ve done that thing, and I know some people who went to Hollywood,” he said. “If you go to Hollywood, you’re up against people whose grandfathers built Hollywood. But if you go to Harrison, you have an opportunity to practice your craft in front of a group of people who appreciate you.”
And that’s where he’ll be Saturday, April 26, on stage at the Harrison Memorial Hall. It’s not his first time performing here, and he’s keen on returning. Last time he visited here, he quipped, he bought a year’s supply of hazelnuts. Being close to nature is something he appreciates, as a “Quebec boy out west.” And every time he travels through B.C., he finds something new to love about it.
“The countryside here just smacks you in the eye,” he said. “There are these hugely diverse types of beauty.”
Montreal born, Elliott first began performing in 1974, as a folk musician, under his full name of Chris Lorne Elliott. He soon teamed up with Kevin Blackmore (aka ‘Buddy Wasisname’) to establish the comedic musical duo Free Beer. Since then Elliott has performed from Newfoundland to New York City, from Los Angeles to Australia and points in between. He has made regular appearances at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival since it started in 1986 and has opened for the likes of Rodney Dangerfield and Jay Leno.
As well as being a humourist, storyteller and musician, Elliott is also an award-winning playwright. His play The Night the Racoons Went Berserk won ‘Best New Play Award’ at the Quebec Drama Festival in 1983. It was later produced by the Charlottetown Theatre Festival in 1986 along with Culture Shock, another of his comedies which has been produced all across Canada and in 1989 was filmed by CBC-TV for a special drama telecast.
Tickets are $22 and can be purchased online at www.harrisonfestival.com, by phone at 604-796-3664 or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison and Agassiz Shoppers Drug Mart.