When Canadian comic Levi MacDougall began writing for the Comedy Central show Important Things With Demetri Martin, it was a marriage made in alt-comedy heaven. The two comics share a similar deadpan sensibility that's a refreshing change from most set-up-punch acts. The pair come to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for two shows January 13 as part of their Telling Jokes In Cold Places tour (see info and full schedule at demetrimartin.com).
Is it a coincidence that you're starting off the tour in your home province of Alberta?
Yeah, I think that was just fortuitous. I may have told Demetri, though, that Alberta is not only my home province but also the only province that legally requires all outsiders to speak French exclusively. So he may have felt I'd be needed to translate. Which means he may also think I speak French. I lie a lot.
Both you and Demetri have distinctive haircuts. Is there a fight for hair product backstage?
I don't think either of us had ever noticed that as a commonality - although now that I think of it, we do have nightly bloody bare-knuckle fights over this one jar of Paul Mitchell styling paste. But I assume that's totally unrelated to your question?
In the Rogers TV commercials, you play the guy with bad cellphone reception. How does that affect your self-confidence?
My self-confidence status has always hovered somewhere between shaky and non-existent, so I don't know that that's changed. But those commercials have helped me spot and meet Canadians in almost every international airport I've been in, which has helped me feel at home in faraway places.
How do you keep that character fresh?
I just try to do what all great actors have done before me: try to find a new way to bumblingly tell a handsome man that his phone's service has again bested mine.
What should Louis C.K. do with his Live At The Beacon profits?
Well, he's never going to take my advice, but my recommendation would be that he break up the million he's made into four pieces, using the first chunk to cover costs, the second to give bonuses to his staff, the third to charities and the fourth to keep for himself and his children. What did he actually ended up doing?
You're living in the U.S. now. Election predictions?
I just want them to get the prime minister they deserve and not the one they've earned. (Is that how that saying goes? I'm using this line as my Daily Show audition.)
What was Occupy Los Angeles like?
I actually did walk through it on my way to a show once, so I would accurately describe it as: Rainy-Peaceful-Pleasant-Briefly-Occupied-By-Me-Rehearsing-Jokes-In-My-Head.