By Johnny Papan
VANCOUVER – Dubbed “one of the funniest and most likable young comics in the country” as well as “the hilarious voice of the millennial generation,” standup comedian Ivan Decker has been doing comedy for over a decade. Getting his first comedy-club gig at 19 years of age, Decker has impressively worked his way into television specials, Just for Laughs appearances, award wins, and a plethora of headlining shows across Canada and the United States.
“I always liked performing and being on stage. It could be a middle-child centre-of-attention thing, I don’t know. If you wanna overanalyze it, better get your notebooks out, psych students reading this!”
Inspired by comics such as Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle, Decker’s clean comedic style is geared towards commenting on personal experiences and social behaviours. “I was working in a grocery store when I first started, so a lot of my act was about that,” Decker confirms. “I made a lot of jokes about cat food.”
With Vancouver being as tough as it is to get by financially as an artist, Decker unsurprisingly worked numerous day jobs to support himself in his early career, including landscaping, door-to-door sales, and telemarketing. He even spent an enjoyable time working at Science World while building the skills and resources to turn stand-up comedy into a full-time gig.
As is the case with most comedians, Decker’s journey was a long, winding road. “There was this one time I performed in front of Mayor Gregor Robertson on Valentine’s Day,” Decker recalls. “I would have figured he’d be at some fancy restaurant, but instead he was at this vaudeville variety show in an old former porno theatre.” Decker was the only comedian that night, and was forced to perform alongside many live bands. “I was in this crazy environment where everybody is talking. Since it’s Valentine’s Day people are trying to find someone whom they can exchange liquids with, and I’m trying to calm them down. I don’t think Mayor Robertson laughed once during my set. His date laughed, though. Maybe that’s why he didn’t like me.”
Decker recently released his very funny debut album I Wanted to Be a Dinosaur, where he discusses relatable topics such as finding a Vancouver apartment on Craigslist, watching Netflix, and the unwritten social rules of public transportation. The album was recorded live at Vancouver’s Comedy Mix, where he’ll be headlining again mid-April. “Expect to see me telling jokes. A lot of them. It’s upbeat. I’m not gonna talk about the government, and try to make you think while making you laugh; I’m just gonna make you laugh. You come, you have some drinks, you have a good time.” I Wanted to Be a Dinosaur can be found on iTunes and Spotify.
“I think the Vancouver comedy scene is one of the best in North America,” Decker says. “Having performed all over this country, I can say we really do have something special here. It’s not just all the great comedians, it’s also the audience. They actually come to shows.”
Catch Ivan Decker at the Comedy Mix April 13–15.