DANA ALEXANDER Stand-up comic, Yuk Yuk’s Downtown, April 10-14.
Dana Alexander is one of the Canadian stand-ups who've recently left the country for the UK. Her fierce, fearless act - which takes on dating, racism and being a tall black woman - is much missed here. But you can catch her headlining a week of sets at Yuk Yuk's Downtown, and look out for appearances on the Strombo show and at the Flying Beaver, all in preparation for her third Edinburgh Fringe appearance.
You've been living in the UK for the past few years. How are the comedy audiences different?
There are a lot more of them, for a start. A bit more sexist perhaps - lots of "lads." And there are strange racial sensitivities (from white people mostly) on behalf of others. I call them "the racism police."
How are the men different?
My gaydar is messed up there. I have a hard time differentiating "posh" from gay. I'm still confused as to how a straight man can have a lisp and a ruffle shirt.
What do you miss most about Toronto?
Korean BBQ on Yonge. And down-to-earth people who aren't afraid to say what they think.
What do you miss least about Toronto?
Expensive liquor and liquor stores that close early.
A few years ago I wrote that you had the potential to be one of the best stand-ups, period. Are you there yet?
Yes. (Ha! Jokes!) I always aspire to be better, and hope that continues forever.
You seem absolutely fearless onstage. Does anything scare you?
Onstage, not really. Maybe audition-type shows, I guess. In life, broken condoms.
Have you been following the Mayor Ford fiascos here?
Just googled. That guy was a gong show from the start. I had never voted until I saw his horrible red face... and he still won. Boooo! Ugh. Are we surprised?
Theoretical: you don't have a great set and I'm in the audience. What do you do afterwards?
I won't have a terrible set. But if I do I'll re-evaluate. It's the bad shows you learn the most from.
Who would you want to play you in the movie of your life?
Me. Just like Fantasia did. I am too young to be portrayed by someone else. My only celeb look-alike is Vanessa from The Cosby Show, and she's older than me so....
Advice to aspiring comics?
Be yourself. Take risks. Be original.