Meet a Comedian: Laurie Elliott
By Brianne Hogan
Laurie Elliott, stand-up extraordinaire
A comedy veteran for almost 15 years, Laurie Elliott has made a name for herself as one of the most fun and versatile performers to watch in Canada. The winner of three Best Female Stand-Up Canadian Comedy Awards, Elliott has also appeared on numerous TV series, including The Red Green Show and Train 48. We chatted with Elliott about her “extremely supportive” parents, her big break and Jimmy Fallon.
Were you the class clown growing up?
Not so much in the class, but definitely out of it. My best friend and I would play “Make Me Laugh” and I think that was the real start of my comedy career.
What made you want to pursue comedy full-time?
I love goofing around and doing stupid act-outs, so when I realized I could do that and actually get paid I was in it for the long haul.
What did your parents think of you pursuing comedy?
My parents have been extremely supportive. In fact, they’ve heard me say things on stage that can never ever be erased from their minds and they still come out to shows. Growing up, I got into a good amount of trouble for “going too far” at the dinner table, so I think they’re just happy that led to a career instead of some kind of criminal record.
Describe your first stand-up experience. Where was it? How did you feel? What was the crowd like?
My first stand-up experience was at The Brunswick House at a show Shaun Majumder was hosting. I went up and, in front of about 25 of my friends, did the most terrible fart jokes ever. They laughed out of kindness, which wasn’t good because the next time I did stand-up, it was for an audience I didn’t know and I bombed hard.
What was your big break?
I won the Tim Sims Award in 2000 and that gave me the extra push to pursue stand-up more seriously.
What’s been your most memorable experience onstage?
My Just for Laughs Gala. It was hosted by Jimmy Fallon and he was really fun and encouraging.
A favourite show of yours?
A cross-Canada tour I did called Girls Night Out with Kristeen von Hagen and Debra DiGiovanni. The shows on stage were incredibly fun, but the downtime was where the mayhem ensued. I’ve never laughed that hard for that many days in a row. Also, doing the RAW Comedy Club shows in Sweden were cool because I got to see if my jokes went over well for a Swedish-speaking crowd.
What or who makes you laugh the most?
My English husband Stuart, who is at the heart of a lot of my jokes and wishes I “took the piss” out of him more; my Dad and all of my friends both in the business and out.
What’s your favourite funny movie?
Anything with Will Ferrell in it, particularly Zoolander. Bridesmaids was awesome — thank you, Kristen Wiig! This is Spinal Tap is a classic.
If you could tour with anyone, who would it be?
There are too many amazing comics to say. Another Girls Night Out tour would be a blast, or the Just for Laughs tour, as you’re performing with different comics from all over the world and the downtime could be hilarious too.
What’s next on the horizon?
More stand-up! Also, I’ve been doing a lot of writing for television the last few years, which I love, and I’m working on developing some shows. Hopefully something clicks.
Any words of wisdom to other aspiring comics?
Don’t be afraid to diversify. When people ask what I do, I just say that I’m in Canadian entertainment: stand-up, acting, voice and writing. Exercising different creative muscles helps you pinpoint what you enjoy the most and good things should come from that, right?
Year started in stand-up: 1998
Influences: Saturday Night Live, SCTV, my Dad (he’s hilarious), The Kids in the Hall, and tons of stand up comics that I started with and met along the way.
Next gig: Sept. 25, ALTdot Comedy Lounge and the Just For Laughs Festival unite, Rivoli, 332 Queen St W., 416-977-5082; Oct. 12, co-featuring a show with Kristeen von Hagen, The Flying Beaver Pubaret, 488 Parliament St., 647-347-6567