There’s an incredible comedian named Graham Chittenden that’s coming to Ottawa. An accomplished comedy writer, Chittenden has written for CBC’s Mr. D, The Genie Awards, Just For Laughs, The Debaters, and will be performing standup at Live on Elgin (220 Elgin St) this Friday night.
I caught up with Graham for a Q&A before the show.
Apt613: Hey Graham, how did you get involved in stand-up?
Graham Chittenden: Well my dad was a big comedy fan before I ever started standup. We didn’t watch Disney movies when I was a kid, we watched Slap Shot, Revenge of the Nerds, and Blues Brothers.
What did he do for a living?
My dad works in an office, he’s an engineer.
Did he ever worry or pressure you to take a safer career path?
No, I don’t think there was even a hint of that. He loved comedy so much it makes me wonder if he ever had a regret of not trying standup himself.
One time he brought home a John Pinette DVD when I had just started comedy and told me to watch it. Then a few years later I opened for John on half of his Canadian tour and they got to meet him. It was kind of this start and finish to the story. Him telling me to watch John Pinette and them getting to go backstage to meet John.
That’s beautiful, do you come to Ottawa often?
I’ve been coming to Ottawa for years so it’s exciting to do it this way. I was here for CBC’s The Debaters which was a beautiful time surrounded by a dozen other comedians. I did the National Arts Centre with Jon Pinette and he was so nice to me, I think he was a guy that suffered from loneliness on the road. I remember I got my hair cut in Ottawa, and it didn’t go so well and he would make fun of me for that, I appreciated the camaraderie and honesty.
It’s cool that you have that memory. That’s a memory only you will have.
Yeah because he toured Canada sometimes there are three or four of us that opened for him that are still around. So we can tell stories to each other about what it was like touring with him. When he passed away I was actually at Winnipeg Comedy Festival. Dave Hemstad also opened for him so we kind of had a moment then.
What’s that moment like? Experiencing a peer in comedy passing away.
There’s a weird bittersweetness to someone’s passing away. Obviously it’s devastating to lose someone but that month every conversation becomes a highlight reel of their greatest hits and retelling of their greatest stories.
Thank you for the interview Graham.
Graham Chittenden performs two sets at Live on Elgin (220 Elgin St) at 8pm and 10pm on Friday March 3. Tickets cost $15 online at www.liveonelgin.com and will be $20 at the door.