Life is good and life is funny so by that logic Whistler life, which is undoubtedly better than regular life, must also be funnier.
“I think Whistler is the perfect place for comedy,” says stand-up comedian Jonathan Baum, who’s been living here since 2002 and has mined some of his own comedic Whistler situations for his new book of creative nonfiction, My Impaired Moral Compass.
The opening story recounts Jon’s attempt to get a job in a local restaurant kitchen with a padded (okay, totally fabricated) resume. “Some of the stories I take a bit of creative liberty,” Jon says, “but that kitchen story, it was just like that. I had friends tell me, ‘you don’t want to be a dishwasher’ but when I was in there on the line (with no experience) I was jealous of the dishwasher.”
Jon moved to Whistler from Ontario to snowboard started and writing while attending university in Vancouver. “I’d cram all my school into two days then come back to Whistler,” he says, adding that while he did glean some good stories from his time in the city he felt much more at ease amongst towering mountains and snowboarders than skyscrapers and business suits.
Jonathan Baum moved to Whistler to shred, same as everyone else.
“Up here, I just clicked with people. In the city I would tell someone I felt like going to hit a rope swing and they’d ask ‘What patio is that on?’”
Somewhere along the line he also established himself as a stand-up comic and Jon is currently a professional comedian on the Yuk Yuks roster and he’s launching his book tour this week at a stand-up comedy show Thursday, January 29, 2015 at the Whistler Brewing Company in Function Junction.
“With a book you have the undivided attention of your audience,” Jon says, explaining the the differences in his writing style. “On stage you need to get a laugh every 15 seconds.” But there is a bit of crossover too, Baum weaves his written tales together with an everyman’s simplicity and a stand-up comic’s sense of timing. His inherent optimism ties the stories together and the effect is charming, and definitely funny.
Jon hits the stage on February 2, 2015 at the regular Crystal Lounge Open Mic Comedy Night, then he hits the road on a cross-country tour. “It seems like Whistler’s comedy scene is building,” Jon says. “It’s not super organized but there are a bunch of people running shows here.”
Squamish comic Kelly Dyer is one of those people. “I think stand-up comedy is on a resurgence everywhere,” he says. “Netflix and Youtube have made it more accessible and it’s a live performance, you go to a show and you are on a ride with 120 other people. It’s like watching a sports game at home versus at the bar where you have all that camaraderie.”
Local Pros. LEFT: Kelly Dyer. RIGHT:Jonathan Baum
Dyer hosts comedy shows in Whistler, usually in the spring and fall, but notes that the Whistler Arts Council has been bringing in acts, the Crystal Lodge Open Mic Night is a regular thing, Whistler Pride & Ski Festival has a comedy component and so did the last Pemberton Music Festival.
Life is good when you’re laughing (and skiing and snowboarding) and Whistler comedy is looking up.
Check the Whistler.com events listings for a current schedule of Whistler’s live entertainment (including comedy shows) and you can pick up Jon’s book at Whistler’s Armchair Books (after January 30, 2015) or at his his website.