Joking about about Nazis and fatherhood during the same set is no easy task, yet Charlie Demers has found a way on his new album Fatherland.
Toddlers are yelling in the background when the Georgia Straight calls Demers, just as he is dropping his child off at daycare.
Demers has been a professional comedian for quite some time, starting in 2004. After trying his luck at the infamous Urban Well, Demers was told by well-known Vancouver comedian Sean Proudlove that “the Well” was not really the starting-off point for a comedian. Not leaving empty-handed, Demers was given a list of one-nighters around town and ended up at El Cocal on Commercial Drive, which had a comedy night run by Graham Clark. Demers was unsure how to get on the show, so he showed up with a group of friends (always helpful to bring a bit of a crowd with you) and asked Graham for some time. Clark gave him four minutes, which is pretty standard for a first-timer.
Demers had to follow a comedian who had been poking fun at local antiwar rally where Noam Chomsky had spoken. “He was making fun of the way the guy who introduced Chomsky, and that had been me who had introduced Chomsky,” Demers says. “It was a nice little entree that I could use as my opener. It was a lot of fun.”
Since the first night went well, the obvious question is: at what point of his career did he know standup was something he should pursue full-time? Demers chuckles and says, “I think that feeling is rarely permanent.” He says, “Sometimes on-stage it feels so good and it will be going so well and you just think that this is the thing I was born to do. And then you’ll have a sober moment, even the next day, where you think that there is nowhere to go in this country for a comedian. And so it’s one of those things that has all kinds of existential malaise bound up in it, where I do find myself wondering how much longer I can make standup my main focus of my creative life.”