By Chris Brown on June 7, 2018.
Life on the road for Derek Edwards might well be described as a roller-coaster. Not necessarily the kind speed demons and adrenaline junkies line up for at Canada’s Wonderland or a Six Flags park, but more like the ones in the kids’ section of the midway at a small town stampede or state fair.
The stand-up comic is out on the road with his Alls I’m Saying show and comes to the Esplanade on June 11 for a 7:30 p.m. performance.
“The show is fluid. It’ll change often,” Edwards said in late May before starting the tour. “Not substantially but a little bit night to night. So gosh by the end of a week-and-a-half or two weeks I’m like, ‘look at all this I totally forgot to do all that regular stuff, I was doing this stuff which wasn’t there when I started.'”
That fluidity and ever-changing nature of the show includes polishing his closer and researching, crafting and deciding on peripheral jokes that he can tailor to the specific communities he’s visiting.
“Honestly I’m still trying to change gears and get things worked just right in the green room before the show,” he admits.
For a man who’s been a stand-up comedian for close to 30 years, the easier way to do it would be a verbatim show from night to night and city to city. That’s not Edwards’ style. He remembers watching a Chris Rock special in which the comic was filmed at three separate performances in New York, London and another city Edwards couldn’t recall.
“They would cut in the middle of the sentence to another town. And I’m not saying he isn’t a fantastic comic but that’s never a system I’d be comfortable with because there’s going to be stuff they can’t relate to from New York to London. He sells it beautifully and he’s got a fanbase that’s huge. But I’m more of the Canuck guy. Just touring on the road, people come and want to have some fun. I’m not the big movie star name guy so I got to adapt with (the fans).”
Edwards adapts each show by reading the paper, listening to the radio, chatting with the locals before the show and the like. He says it helps to take the edge off just to know a little more about what’s going on wherever he is.
One time that adaptability came in handy was during a show in England some years ago.
“There’s guy in front of me at one of the shows doing impersonations of local soccer heroes,” Edwards recalled with a laugh. “I swear to God people are falling out of their chairs. It’s really hard to follow that with ‘Have you ever been to Saskatoon?’ So I always found it best not to lay about and do the same thing every night.”
Whether he’s in Medicine Hat, Saskatoon or England, Edwards has a simple philosophy for his shows: Keep it light and produce a positive energy for a couple of hours in this cumbersome world.
“It’s kind of an escape valve. You want to just forget everything.” he said. “The ideal for me is people would leave the building feeling more light-hearted and looking at things with a little bit of glow. That’s the dream.”
Tickets, $44.25 plus service charge and GST, are available at http://www.tixx.ca, by calling 403-502-8777 or in person at the Esplanade box office or the Medicine Hat Mall customer service desk.
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