Winsome and hilarious SDTC contributor Jess Beaulieu is auditioning for the SiriusXM Top Comic competition. Top Comic is the biggest prize in Canada for comedy, as the winner takes home $25,000 and spots at all three Just For Laughs festivals. The finale takes place in September as part of JFL42, but the auditions determine the semi-finalists (the finalists are then determined by online vote).
We got up to speed with what she’s got planned.
SDTC: Any hints as to what you have in store for your audition?
JB: Oooo, a HINT! Well, I will likely be discussing shark sex, my mother’s reaction to me coming out as bisexual, troll men, and possibly a weird intercourse romp I had in Ottawa back in the day. Maybe a little bit about getting a pap test as well. Who knows what else! Or I might just riff a new seven minutes of material on the spot instead because that will definitely go very well*.
How did you approach getting ready for this competition?
It’s interesting. I think as a stand-up I’m always kind of “getting ready” “for” “competitions” in that I never stop performing or taking THAT many breaks. Most comics are typically constantly writing new material, polishing jokes and telling cool classics. So when I do a showcase set (which is your best seven minutes at that time), I just reflect on what my top jokes are and gather them together into a set. I will run that set at a lot of shows but generally I know what my best current (and old) stuff is and I have it ready to yell into a microphone.
Why is clinching this prize important to you?
Well, firstly, a woman has never won the competition so that would be HUGE. I’m rooting for every amazing female comic in this competition (myself included). It would also be a large achievement for me. Maybe the largest achievement of my stand-up comedy career thus far. So that would feel good and I’d be super proud of myself. Also, OH MY GOD $25,000 THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY AND I AM VERY BROKE. So, you know, capitalism is a factor too.
How do you beat nerves/anxiety prior to performing?
I’ve been doing stand-up for about six years now so my nerves have calmed quite a bit since I started. That doesn’t mean I don’t still get nervous and/or anxious. I do every time I perform, but when I was a fresh baby comedian I’d sometimes be paralyzed all day with intense worry and fear and panic when I had an important show in the evening. I’d take like five naps in one afternoon and just eat tacos lethargically in bed and hope to god that I don’t embarrass myself/my entire family/all of humanity.
Nowadays, I trust myself a lot more and know that I will get at least a few laughs. Come Wednesday I know I’ll be sweating a bunch but I have precedent for pushing through that intense fear and having a great set.
Check out Jess’s audition on May 31st at Absolute Comedy (2335 Yonge St).