By Graeme Wiggins
VANCOUVER – “I didn’t want to be that drunk older loser at the party trying to be funny so why not try to, and I know this sounds weird, make strangers laugh?” Vancouver comic Jane Stanton has taken that goal and run with it, making local and national strangers alike laugh in rooms across the nation. She’s parlayed that ability into appearances on CBC’s the Debaters, multiple web series, and performances at festivals like Bumbershoot in Seattle and Just For Laughs in Montreal.
The process of heading towards that goal started straightforwardly but escalated quickly. She explains, “I did it when I was at acting school the first time and it was super supportive, and then I did a show at Laugh Lines, an open mic type of things and then I didn’t do it for a long time.” Soon afterwards is when things really took off, in a most intimidating way: “Someone phoned me up and asked me to do this Apollo style show and I was like, ‘I should say yes’. Then I realized ‘that means they can boo you off…why did I say yes to that?’ But I tied in that and then my fourth show was for like a thousand or fifteen hundred people, and it’s been downhill ever since.”
A long-time veteran of the scene, she keeps things pretty simple when it comes to mining her life for material. “I don’t know what I tackle anymore,” she relates, “in January I had, not quite an epiphany, but I’m trying to lose weight and I want to talk about that. And just where I am in my life. I grew up listening to Richard Pryor and all of that, and that’s just what I thought stand up was.”
It’s a devotion to perfectionism that seems to drive her forward, a lesson learned from comic Phil Hanley. That is what keeps her motivated. “Well it’s not the money! I love like doing a set of new stuff and it takes a long time to get it right… but he was one who was all about doing a five-minute set everywhere in the city; the exact same set but tweak the crap out of it and do it for six weeks. That’s what you should be doing. It might end up completely different from where you started. That’s fun. It might not sound like fun, but that’s it.”
Catch Jane Stanton live @ Yukyuks on June 16 and 17Yuk Yuk's