Comedy is not typically thought of as a strenuous field. Performers go on stage, talk for a few minutes about their lives, and get paid. However, Andrew Searles, the energetic and affable comedian performing a special show called C’est Moi! C’est Chocolat! at Théâtre Sainte Catherine this weekend, does much more than the average performer.
A recent marketing graduate from Concordia University, Searles has always possessed a love for comedy performance. After graduating, he decided to follow this passion, and bravely committed to an attempt to break through the glass ceiling of professional comedy in Canada. Although he admits the decision to deter the acquisition of a “real career” was also strongly influenced by a love for “sleeping until 1 p.m. and then watching Fresh Prince all day,” he has been working tirelessly to stand out in stand-up.
Even so, creating a reputation is “time-consuming and mentally exhausting,” says Searles. Even after several years of surviving purely off his performance, he is frustrated by clubs’ refusal to let him perform his own special show, one dear to his heart. So he personally rented out Théâtre Sainte Catherine, set up the entire weekend, arranged opening acts, and marketed the upcoming event in an attempt to circumvent big business and succeed independently.
His material ranges from his own lifestyle as a visible minority in Canada, to the antics of female “army units” in clubs. During the brief interview, he effortlessly caught this writer out of breath with laughter due to his quick wit and eloquence. However, he explained that being funny is not enough to be a comedian.
“You have to be flexible and adapt to the audience,” says Searles. “If they’re older, don’t talk about Facebook. If they laugh at a dick joke, then keep telling dick jokes. What people don’t realize is that the audience always controls the show.”
Searles can be a goofy guy—to promote his event, he did a photo shoot of women smearing chocolate pudding all over his suit—but his vision is the true cause of his success. He not only created the idea for the shoot, but organized the cameramen, models, rentals, and the distribution of flyers, as well as all other aspects of promotion.
“My marketing education has been instrumental for every step of the process,” he insists.
This upcoming weekend will feature five shows, and every detail of each were completely coordinated by Searles himself.
“This show is my baby, it’s something I’ve had in my head for about three years,” explains Searles, with obvious excitement. His only regret about this show is that he’ll have to miss Bal en Blanc—Montreal’s annual Easter rave party—but he seems confident his performance will be even better than his favourite artist Armin Van Buuren’s.
Searles makes a strong pitch.
“I can guarantee you’ll be laughing,” he says, with regard to his performance as well as those of his two openers, Rodney Ramsey and Guido Cocomello. To entice an Easter weekend audience, everyone will get a free chocolate bunny with admission. But one suspects that the offer of chocolate isn’t necessary to make C’est Moi! C’est Chocolat! a hit with the crowd.
Andrew Searles’ C’est Moi! C’est Chocolat! runs Mar. 28 to 30 at Théâtre Sainte Catherine (264 St. Catherine). Tickets $15 advance, $20 door.