"Is Betty White even still alive?" asks Halifax comic Ian Black, after admitting that his favourite '90s show is The Golden Girls. "It must be like a Weekend at Bernie's thing by now."
The Yuk Yuk's comic, who's also a regular at the comedy open mics at Bearly's, Clay West and Gus' Pub, is gearing up for his second appearance at the Ha!ifax ComedyFest. Originally from BC, Black's been in Halifax for about 16 years and has performed stand-up for the last eight. Sarcastic, understated and deadpan, Black spent years studying the craft of comedy before getting onstage.
"I was working at the Fireside and one of the guys there, Bryant Thomson"---host of the Homegrown Showcase---"started doing stand-up at Ginger's Tavern with Comedy Dogs on Sunday nights. I started to go every week and eventually he was harping on me that I should do it, too," explains Black. "It took a long time. I literally sat at Bearly's every Wednesday night for months and months and months writing jokes. When Yuk's opened, I got a job as the door guy and I got a crazy education in comedy for three nights a week, watching people, meeting comics. I always thought stand-up would be amazing to do but I never thought I had it in me."
Turns out, he did. Black has toured Newfoundland and Ontario with Yuk Yuk's and hopes to hit major comedy fests in Winnipeg and Quebec in the next couple years. His jokes are sometimes honest criticisms of social and political issues, "It's not just fart jokes, although I have no problem with them and certainly some of those are peppered throughout my set, so to speak," he says, laughing.
"But I hope there's some intelligence behind some of it," he explains. "There's potential for funny in everything, whether it's a poop joke or something you're angry about. Some of my favourite comics, Doug Stanhope and Bill Burr, are angry about things but they intelligently present what might be an abhorrent viewpoint that people can agree with. But comedy doesn't always have to be thought-provoking. I like fart jokes, too and in that way, it's an egalitarian art."
LMAO @ The Seahorse
Thursday, April 24 at 8pm, $20
Saturday, April 26 at 7:30pm, $20
Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club, Westin Nova Scotian