By Jason Rhyno
Aside from his wonderfully wicked humour, what we love about Jon Dore is that he has fully staffed The Jon Dore Television Show with his friends and fellow comedians. The award-winning, Gemini-nominated show is equal parts satirical shock and sheer honesty, and the fact that he makes a point of hiring and working with his friends is, to steal a line from Jon, “rad to the boner.”
Did you study comedy?
I took a kindergarten stand-up comedy class when I was five. I did a TV Broadcasting course at Algonquin College in Ottawa. That’s around the same time I started doing stand-up.
How old are you now?
So you just learned from watching other comics?
Yeah, a lot of trial and error. It was a lot of getting over nerves and learning how to write a joke […] until I was finally happy with what I was doing and how I was telling jokes. And that’s still changing to this day. It was a lot of watching as much comedy as you can and doing as much comedy as you can.
Who did you watch?
My favorite would probably be Steve Martin even though I didn’t get into his stuff until later on. The girls on The View are hilarious. There are so many comics — Louis CK, the South Park guys, Mr. Show — those would be huge influences.
The playful, exploratory format of the show is interesting. Can you talk a bit about the writing process?
When the writers and I get together, we start with an accessible story so that’s the most important. I had a fear of bats growing up, so we’ll explore the topic of fear and sometimes we’ll have to narrow the topic or broaden the topic. We try to find a story that my character can either relate to — or not relate to — but it might be a bigger topic in the world or a personal problem.
How do you handle some of the harsher critical reviews of your show?
I get a bottle of scotch and a revolver and take a long look at myself in the mirror.
The beard is in. How has the beard changed your life? From grooming to eating to lovemaking?
I actually just shaved my beard. I made sure to make love to it before I flushed it down the toilet. I made love to it before I shaved it off…I was impressed too.
What Canadian comics do you like?
Mark Forward, who also writes on our show. Steve Patterson, who also writes on our show and is also my roommate. SeÃ¡n Cullen, to me, is probably the funniest person alive.
How important is it to work with your friends?
Very, very important — it’s the most important thing. They know me very well. They are the funniest people in my life so I trust them, and I think they trust me. Beyond the writers and the actors, the directors we have on the show are close friends of mine that share similar sensibilities, and are brilliant. Ed MacDonald is a brilliant writer. Our art director is a friend of mine from way back, and she’s brilliant. Making the show is the most fun because we are all friends and we all laugh. For me, I would hate to go into work and not feel comfortable and not enjoy it.
Reading anything lately? Favourite book?
I am currently reading Hooking Up with Tila Tequila: A Guide to Love, Fame, Happiness, Success, and Being the Life of the Party. My favourite book is the bible. It’s hilarious.
What music are you listening to?
Bill Haley and the Comets. Mostly the Comets.
Best comedy club in Toronto?
There are so many. I perform a lot at Yuk Yuk’s downtown; the Rivoli is a great stage. The Comedy Bar is a lot of fun. I can’t pick one, they’re all different.
The Old Nick, man!
Best local beer?
The best local beer is Heineken if you are in Amsterdam.