brent butt headlining at Tom Foolery's (194 Bloor West), March 28-30, Thursday 8 pm, Friday-Saturday 8 and 10:30 pm. $10-$15. 416-967-5005; also hosting the canadian comedy awards at the Docks (11 Polson), April 4. $25-$50. 416-925-5923.
with a name like brent butt, you can imagine the dumb puns. "My favourite is "Butt of all jokes,'" says the popular stand-up.
"I have a collection of articles written about me," says Butt, who headlines this weekend at new comedy club Tom Foolery's.
"Thirteen of them have used Butt Of All Jokes as a headline. The last one came out this week in a Winnipeg paper. Imagine the light bulb going on over the editor's head, like he's the first one to come up with it."
Clichéd or not, the Butt-kissing and -kicking isn't about to stop. This is a guy some call one of the best comics in the country, mere seconds away from superstardom.
You wouldn't know it, though, talking to the modest and thoughtful native of Tisdale, Saskatchewan (population 3000), where he's visiting before his Tom Foolery's gig and host duties at the Canadian Comedy Awards gala April 4.
"I've only performed here in Tisdale once, and it was weird doing comedy where everyone knows you," he says. "I'm used to a cloak of anonymity. Here, everyone knows my secrets. It's creepy."
Butt, who's lived in Vancouver for the past eight years, admits his small-town corn-pone background influenced his particular brand of comedy.
"I grew up in a family that sat around the table and yakked," he says. "We talked and went for coffee. That's all anybody did."
Butt also grew up glued to the TV set, a fan of golden-age TV personalities like the Jacks -- Parr, Benny and Gleason -- and Dean Martin.
When he was 12, he saw a stand-up comic on the Alan Hamel Show and announced to his friends and family that he wanted to do that.
A couple of MCed weddings and grandstand shows later, he took part in his first comedy-club amateur night and was hooked.
"It's probably the best set I've ever done," he jokes. "It's all been downhill since then."
Hardly. With a style that's accessible and across-the-board funny, Butt can kick you-know-what at a corporate gig or alternative club. He won last year's Canadian Comedy Award for best male stand-up. Some industry insiders estimate he's got as much as four hours of solid material to draw from.
"I talk about what I know," he says about his shtick. "I don't do jokes, I just talk and try to phrase things in a funny way, wedged into the conversation."
As for the pressure of being the "next big thing," he's ignoring it, though he does admit he sometimes feels a vibe in Toronto.
"All the tall dogs are in Toronto," he says, "the funniest people in the country. They tend to come out and watch me when I'm in town. With 40 comics in the back of the room, you'd better have something they haven't heard before.