LAURIE ELLIOTT headlining at Yuk Yuk's Downtown (224 Richmond West), through Sunday (October 15), Thursday and Sunday 8 pm, Friday-Saturday 7:30 and 10:30 pm. $10-$17. 416-967-6425. Rating: NNNNN
With stand-up laurie elliott around , Nancy Cartwright - the woman who voices Bart Simpson - better watch her back.
Elliott's equally adept at giving life to scrappy animated boy characters like Noah on Atomic Betty and Fritz the Skunk on Timothy Goes To School.
"You should see the auditions," laughs Elliott. "Me, a couple of other women my age, and then a group of boys. It's really confusing to my friends' kids.
""Why does Auntie Laurie sound like Fritz?'"
Something about Elliott must be appealing to guys. She's the frequent token woman on John Oakley's testosterone-fest of a talk show, Out Of Bounds. And she was one of the few women ever to set her Kodiak-clad feet in the lodge of The Red Green Show, where her tough-talkin' trucker character, Bonnie, dated and ended up marrying Red's nephew Harold.
"I guess my sense of humour is guy-like, if you can say that," says Elliott in her sly, sandpaper voice. "I tell jokes that men seem to enjoy. Yes, I have a few shit jokes in my act. I like goofing around with guys."
Since winning the Tim Sims Encouragement Fund Award in 2000, Elliott's emerged as one of the most likeable, accessible acts on the stand-up circuit. But this weekend marks her first headlining set at Yuk Yuk's Downtown.
"Mark (Breslin) told me to let him know when I wanted to feature, and I'm glad I'm doing it now as opposed to a year ago," she says. "I feel way better about myself. I'm more confident. I think I'm ready," she says.
She checks herself. "Don't get me wrong," she says. "I'm still extremely neurotic and insecure!"
Elliott admits that her first few years in comedy, even after the Tim Sims win, weren't focused. But she's spent the last year concentrating on stand-up, playing pretty much every room in the city, including alternative nights like Laugh Sabbath.
In 2004, she and her stand-up pal Kristeen von Hagen sold out Fringe shows with their jokey take on women and their exes, Dickwhipped. She frequently tours with von Hagen, Kate Davis and Jo-Anna Downey in all-female shows.
Later this month she's on the all-star all-woman bill for Girls School, with Dawn Whitwell, Diane Flacks and her former Popcultured host, Elvira Kurt.
Women headliners, she says, aren't as rare as they were a few years ago.
"We used to get a lot of people, mostly men, saying, "You guys are good and I don't usually find women very funny,'" she says, letting the stupidity of that statement sink in.
"Now they don't say the second part."