Lorne Elliott brings music and comedy to City

You’re not going to find a nicer, more easy-going comedian than Canada’s own Lorne Elliott, who is including Red Deer on his current tour with a show at the Welikoklad Centre on Oct. 24th.

Performance time is 8 p.m.

Elliott has been perfecting his comedic performances for about 40 years, so there is no question he’s a pro. But he’s also a charming, warm and extremely affable man – whether it’s during an interview or in front of hundreds. And those are the qualities that have fueled his popularity across the nation and abroad these many years now.

“A sense of humour is common sense,” he said during a recent chat, pointing out how important it is to laugh – a key to keeping a healthy perspective in life. Enjoying a laugh within an audience is that much more fun. “There’s a place in our culture for that.”

His concert performance is a selection of monologues and songs dealing with life experience, so there’s an immediate universality. “It’s about those little things that happen – the stories that come out of those situations.

“Also, with a stand-up show, you can throw things in and take stuff out on the fly – that’s kind of the excitement of it. But it does take 40 years before you get comfortable with doing that,” he added with a laugh.

And along with his wacky style, it is the timelessness of his material melded with observations of trends that propel his shows to the forefront.

“I started going on stage at a time when hair like mine was fashionable, and I hung a guitar hung around my neck to complete the look. Somewhere around that time people started laughing at me, and I saw no reason why I shouldn’t join them.”

That’s pretty much how it all started, and it’s been a journey of writing, performing, sharing and keeping close tabs on the culture’s pulse that has provided reams of inspiration for his shows ever since. But he’s not restricted to his one-man shows – Elliott is also a prolific playwright as well.

One of his plays, The Night The Racoons Went Berserk, won the Best New Play Award at the Quebec Drama Festival 1983 and it was produced at the Charlottetown Theatre Festival in 1986 along with Culture Shock, another comedy of his which has been produced across Canada since 1981: it was filmed by CBC TV in 1989. It was also produced in Red Deer just a few years ago with tremendous results. Other highlights include Tourist Trap which premiered in August 2000 at Theatre On The Grand in Fergus (Ontario) and it has had several productions across Canada since then, the latest in Newfoundland in 2012.

His play How I Broke Into Showbiz was produced in Charlottetown in 2005 and Culture Shock – The Musical premiered in July 2009 at the Stephenville Theatre festival.

He has also written screenplays and TV comedies, skits and revues. For CBC he did TV Comedy Variety shows, among others What Else is On and Lorne Elliott’s Really Rather Quite Half-Decent TV Special.

But back to his one-man shows – his presentation, much loved by audiences around the world, is delightfully foolish, witty and thought-provoking.

He always injects a bit of local humour into his shows as well, and audiences are appreciative of the effort, he adds. Being in Red Deer just after the federal election will mean altering things just a touch – he’s had a bunch of material ideal pre-election, but will of course offer fresh new views on whatever Canada’s political landscape looks like post Oct. 19th.

Meanwhile, through the course of his career, Elliott has toured and performed in theatres across Canada, the U.S. and Australia.

As indicated earlier, Elliott started his creative journey early on, performing in 1974 as a folk musician on the east coast.

At the same time he kept writing fiction as well as songs, monologues and one-liners. He also tried his hand at radio, with extremely successful results – Madly Off In All Directions was his own CBC Radio Comedy Series taped in concerts across Canada. It was greeted with such enthusiastic audience response that the Series went on for 11 seasons till fall 2006.

Clearly, Elliott is multi-talented. He enjoys applying his raw creativity to a number of genres, adding that each in turn fuels the others. “One thing nourishes the other,” he said. “It’s all about keeping that creative side of you alive.”

Being funny just comes naturally to Elliott. And he gets lots of ideas and inspiration from regular funny folks wherever he runs into them – it hasn’t been necessarily the big shot celebrities that have provided the most influence.

“People who I just run into and have a good time with – and they make me laugh.”

And although he comments on serious situations, the bright side always shines through. Coming up with material used to come in sudden creative jolts. And sure, there may be those nights where he feels a bit tired, or maybe even isn’t feeling well at all. But once he hears that first laugh, something magical tends to happen.

“Where you get the energy from is the audience – people laugh – they feel good and then you feel good. That’s what it’s all about – making a roomful of strangers happier then when they first came in. You really feel honoured.”

For tickets, call 403-755-6626 or 1-800-661-8793 or visit www.blackknightinn.ca.

editor@reddeerexpress.com