By Graeme Wiggins
VANCOUVER – If there’s one thing about Vancouver comedy, it’s the diversity of talents it’s comedians seem to possess. Fresh off recording his first TV appearance for CBC at the Winnipeg Comedy festival, local stand up Jacob Samuel is set to release his second book, Slinky Hell; a collection of humour cartoons that showcase his unique take on the world and modern living.
Samuel got his start in comedy by writing comics. He wanted an avenue to write jokes, and despite never having been much of an artist, he felt cartoons could be a good outlet. “I got pretty good advice from a family friend who was an editorial cartoonist for the National Post named Gary Clement. He said ‘you don’t have to draw well for this kind of cartooning as long as people can understand what they’re seeing and it’s funny’. If writing’s more important than this is doable.”
From there, stand-up came soon afterwards, a way to force himself to be more social and try new things. He recounts, “I had been cartooning for about a year and a half. I got a better handle on writing jokes. I wanted to try stand up and I moved to Vancouver and didn’t know many people so it forces you into doing things that you might otherwise not do. Branch out and meet people.”
Putting the two skills together and making them work has been fruitful for Samuel, “I think they complement each other because some things don’t work in stand up but are still pretty funny ideas. Stand up is ruthless. if something doesn’t work, it’s gone. Something could be an interesting idea but if it doesn’t fit in the box you can’t much with it. It’s more visual. It’s hard to visual in stand-up; if a joke bombs and you have a prop it’s terrible. But the ruthlessness of stand-up forces you to be a better writer because you see what people laugh at.
Supporting comedy in Vancouver’s diverse and sprawling scene can be more than just going to see some local stand up or improv shows (though you should be doing that too). It can be checking out the local comedians’ other avenues of comedy-making. Checking out Samuel’s book might be a good start.
Order Samuel’s book online at Slinkyhell.com or on Amazon.