Comic confessions

As a stand-up, Christina Walkinshaw admits she's had some problems with motivation. She even uses the S-word: "slacker." The first.


As a stand-up, Christina Walkinshaw admits she’s had some problems with motivation. She even uses the S-word: “slacker.” The first time I saw her act, a seven-minute slot at Yuk Yuk’s in 2012, I pointed out in a review a few days later that she seemed “scattered and unfocused.”

She responded with a blog post – titled How I Dealt With A Bad Review – in which she admitted to not preparing much for that set, more concerned with buying a pair of Sorels on sale and going to the gym. She said she wasn’t taking her comedy seriously.

“And look – I’m wearing my Sorels!” she says now, modelling them in the NOW Lounge, and they do look amazing. Fashionable. And completely waterproof.

“I slacked at my comedy that day, but my shopping purchase was very smart,” she says. “You can only do one good thing a day.”

Since then I’ve seen her several times, and she’s always been on point. Her persona is approachable and frank, the woman who can drink the guys under the table. She seems more grounded and comfortable with her comedy than ever.

“When I first started, the goal was to be funny,” says the Vancouver-born Walkinshaw, who began stand-up in her late teens and tried out clubs in L.A. and Ottawa before settling in Toronto.

“But when you write about things that are honest or true, you end up being funnier.”

One unfunny thing that she made work for her was an experience last year at Casino Niagara. A group of drunk guys banged their table and asked her to, and I quote, “show us your tits, show us your bush!” – and the staff did nothing about it. She tried to go on with her set – she’d got a memo telling comics not to respond to hecklers – and then, when she asked management why they hadn’t dealt with the situation, found herself uninvited back, even though she was supposed to appear later.

A post she wrote about the experience went viral and earned her North American media coverage. Lawyers contacted her, asking to represent her.

“But it wasn’t my style to complain,” she says. “I don’t want people to associate me with controversy. I want to be known for being funny or being a good writer. I don’t want to be known as that person who sued a casino.”

These days she’s becoming as well known for her Tinder blogging (see main story) as she is for her stand-up. Chronicling her dates has given her writer’s block a kick in the butt.

“I’m finally treating my art like a job.”

Calling herself “a poor man’s Carrie Bradshaw living in a poor man’s New York City,” she’d love to turn her first 50 Tinder dates into a book. And she’d like to follow that up with another book about being a female Canadian stand-up. Despite cynical naysayers who tell her you can’t make a career here, she hopes to stay put in Toronto.

So far she’s kept her Tinder and comedy worlds separate. Until, that is, she met a male stand-up – and good friend – on the app. She tells me he’s Tinder date #32.

They’re both going to be playing a gig in Gravenhurst on Valentine’s Day. (A quick internet search reveals it’s either Dave Martin or Peter Anthony, both solid comics.)

Is it wise to date within the comedy community?

“Probably not,” she says, laughing. “I’ve been warned off many times. But you can’t scare comics. In the end, we’ll always sleep with each other. It just happens. We work together, we’re colleagues. We just get each other.”

Christina Walkinshaw hosts Sunday Night Live (February 16) and performs at the ALTdot Comedy Lounge on Monday (February 17). See Comedy Listings.

Interview Clips

Walkinshaw on being an optimist in a tough business (and joking about how to spell the word “weenie”):

Download associated audio clip.

On the camaraderie among Toronto female comics:

Download associated audio clip.

On the start of her Tinder blog:

Download associated audio clip.

glenns@nowtoronto.com | @glennsumi

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