Follow GuyMacPherson on Twitter

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nov. 8: Mark Breslin

On the day the Toronto Star runs a story on Yuk Yuk's founder and CEO Mark Breslin, we've got the guy for one full hour on What's So Funny? How's that for timing? The interview was recorded on October 3 in Saint John. It was 7:15 pm on the evening of the gala, which would start at 8 pm up the street. I was in the lobby of Breslin's hotel and decided to call him up to see if there'd be a time I could sit down and talk with him the next day. He says, "What about right now?"

So down he comes and we hunt around for a quiet space with no hissing fountains or loud hotel carts wheeling by. No one was in the "business center" (which consisted of one computer), so in we went. I told him to signal me whenever he had to get going, knowing the gala was within the hour. But he knew the show was an hour long and graciously went the limit. So we were late for the gala, but not very.

I love talking to Mark. He knows his stuff, is opinionated, fair and always compelling. In this interview he talked about his miserable childhood, where he, in his words, grew up as a "Jewish prince in a household of depressives". He talked of his early career managing folkies and how that transitioned into booking comedians. He defended himself against a few criticisms. And he spoke of his years as the comedy producer on the old Joan Rivers talk show. Good stuff.

What we didn't talk about was his new book on stand-up comedy in Canada. Why? Because I didn't know about it until this morning when I read the Star piece. The book is entitled The Yuk Yuk's Guide to Canadian Stand-Up. I'll put that on my Christmas list, and we'll have to have Mark back on to discuss it. You would think, judging from the title, that it would be a biased view, or at least one that discounts the contributions of any comedian not on the Yuks roster or located in Toronto. But a list of Breslin's 10 most influential stand-ups in this country includes one Mr. Brent Butt, who was never a Yuks man. Or if he was, broke with them early. Which leads me to believe that Breslin's book will at least attempt to be representative. Here's his list:
  1. Dave Broadfoot
  2. Brent Butt
  3. Jim Carrey
  4. Larry Horowitz
  5. Elvira Kurt
  6. Mike MacDonald
  7. Howie Mandel
  8. Paul Mandell
  9. Russell Peters
  10. Kenny Robinson
Read all about it in the Star. And tune in tonight.

ADDENDUM: Just read in the National Post that this "book" is in audio format only. Which makes more sense given that the cover says it features over 50 performances... Wait a second. The National Post? I thought it went under? Guess not... Here's an excerpt on Harland Williams:

No comments: