I’m a stand-up comedian now, seriously.
For those of you who have been reading along diligently for the past five-and-half-years, you’ve probably seen my sense of humour develop as I became more comfortable sharing self-deprecating anecdotes from my life. Well folks, I’m delighted to share that I crossed a new item off the bucket list – performing stand-up comedy.
Observational humour and an unflinching authenticity are the cornerstones of my IRL and online identity. So, when the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation reached out to ask me if I’d be interested in participating in their inaugural Laugh for the Cure event, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Myself and four other “Joes” from the Ottawa business community had to test our mettle on stage in front of a live audience of 300 people at the National Arts Centre last Tuesday. Luckily, we were shepherded along by our “Pros” – five professional stand-up comics who worked with us one-on-one over the course of six weeks to help ensure we didn’t bomb.
The headliner, Shaun Majumder of This Hour Has 22 Minutes fame also helped alleviate the pressure as we knew the night would end on a high note.
I’m pleased to report the event raised over $125,000 that will be put towards cancer priorities in our community. If you’d like to add to that tally and show some love for me in the process, head to this page to make a donation and vote for me as your favourite comic.
Having had the benefit of being featured on live TV and radio countless times, I don’t often suffer from stage fright but I was absolutely shitting myself at the prospect of having to be funny on command. I bit the bullet and hit up a Pro-Am (professional-amateur) night at Absolute Comedy a week prior to get some of the nerves out and trial some of my material.
I’m pleased to report that the trial run, in front a real paying audience, went well – I got some good laughs and the fellow comedians were very encouraging, some said they couldn’t believe it was my first time and they all said I should stick with it. My “Pro”, Jim McNally was kind enough to set me up with that slot and film my set so I could watch back the game tape.
It was a hugely helpful exercise and allowed me to fine-tune my material, timing, and audience engagement. The first set was a bit racy so I toned it down to make it more appropriate for consumption by my boss, colleagues, and clients on the big night.
At the event, each of our “Pros” took the stage before us. I was up first after a crowd warm-up by my coach Jim. I’ve subsequently learned that going first is colloquially termed, “taking the bullet” in the world of stand-up.
It was tough to get up there first given the crowd wasn’t exactly worked into a lather yet and my content probably would have been better-suited to a placement later in the program. That being said, I think it went really well overall, I got some big laughs and rave reviews from friends and strangers alike.
So, will I stick with it? Obviously. I’m hoping to mix in on line-ups at comedy clubs around town once or twice a month – I expect Netflix will be calling any minute now.
In case you’re wondering how you can watch my set even if you weren’t able to attend, the event organizers did film the entire program and I’ll be sharing my set on Instagram as soon as I get my hands on the footage. So, if you’re not already following me there, now is the time.
Speaking of ticking off bucket list items, you should add this Lemon Drop Deluxe Martini to your cocktail bucket list. Is it involved? Yes. But is it worth the effort, YES! I made this when I had a bunch of lemon curd leftover from a dessert I’d made and with Easter coming up this weekend, I’m hoping you might find a dual purpose for lemon curd.
Lemon Drop Deluxe Martini
Y2K cocktails are making a comeback. Espresso Martinis have been inescapable over the past year and fruity "martinis" like the Pornstar Martini and Lemon Drop are also popping up on menus across the globe. This Lemon Drop Deluxe is a very elevated spin on the classic.
- 1½ oz vodka
- ¾ oz Cointreau
- ½ oz Meyer lemon juice*
- ¼ oz simple syrup
- ¾ oz Meyer lemon curd
- Garnish: brûléed meringue
- 2 large eggs
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅔ cup strained fresh Meyer lemon juice
- 1 tbsp finely grated Meyer lemon zest
- ½ cup unsalted butter cold, diced
- 3 egg whites
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ cup sugar
Add all ingredients to a shaker tin, fill with ice, shake until well-chilled.
Fine strain into a chilled coupe.
Top with meringue, brûlée the meringue with a kitchen torch.
To make lemon curd, place eggs, yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a medium heatproof bowl fitted over a pot of gently simmering water.
Whisk constantly until mixture is thick as custard and registers 160°F (71°C) on an instant-read thermometer, 8 to 10 minutes (in my case this took 20 minutes).
Remove from heat. Gradually whisk in butter until combined.
Pass through a fine-mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface. Cool curd at room temperature 30 minutes, then refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Beat egg whites in medium bowl with electric mixer until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until sugar is dissolved and stiff, glossy peaks form.
*If Meyer lemons are out of season, swap for normal lemons.
**Meyer Lemon Curd recipe from Vellend, Eric, “Meyer Lemon Phyllo Cups with Raspberries,” Food & Drink. Holiday 2022.
Stand up comic!!Congratulations! Definitely not an easy task!! Wish I had been there.
Lemon Drop is my favorite drink. I’ll definitely try the lemon curd on top! Will I need to serve a small spoon to guests?
Taste and Tipple
Thank you Sylvia! You won’t need a spoon, just add the curd directly to the shaker tin and be sure to give it a long, hard shake. For the meringue on top, you can serve it with a little spoon!