Halifax-based comedian Stephen Kitch will be returning to New Glasgow on October 11 for an 8 p.m. show at The Commune.
Kitch will be opening for headliner Gavin Stephens of Just for Laughs and Comedy Inc fame.
Kitch, 37, was a bit of a late bloomer when he started doing stand-up comedy. At age 29, facing 30 and working as a finance manager he found he “couldn’t let go” of the idea and eventually bit the bullet, with he and his girlfriend trading in New Brunswick for Halifax and it’s then growing comedy scene.
“I grew up in a small town in PEI,” Kitch explained. “I was always kind of infatuated with stand-up comedy. I always watched as much stand up as I could, looking back I was almost studying it. But living in a small town in PEI, there really wasn’t an option. I always thought, ‘Well that would be nice to do,’ and went on and did my education.”
Kitch said he still has a lot to learn about the craft but in the years that passed he has picked up a couple of things.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned (is that) constructing a joke is certainly something that takes a lot of work and it’s something that you’re constantly doing. You create a joke and just when you think you have it just right something else happens and you realize there’s something you can add on to it, or something happens in your life and you think it’s the perfect pair. You’re constantly adding on to it.”
The other lesson was something more internal and something he learned to conquer.
“I’m not a person that’s just naturally able to jump up in front of people,” Kitch said, “so getting up in front of people on a stage was not something that felt natural to me but it got to a point where the fear of not doing was larger than the fear of doing it.”
Kitch said, “You have to be very patient. You have to be patient with the development of a joke, you have to be patient with yourself and sometimes you have to be patient with an audience. Sometimes there may be a subject matter they’re not onboard with at the time but that’s part of the conversation and you bring them around and then they are part of what it is.”
On hearing veteran comic Derek Edwards’ advice (“Stay tense!”) Kitch reports there is value in not feeling complacent.
“Just when you think you’re getting it figured out you realize that you don’t have it figured out and you kind of go through another learning process.”
Kitch said the biggest change in his style since he dove into standup was his shift away from one-liners towards a more conversational storyteller approach.
“When I first started doing comedy I did a lot of one liners,” Kitch said. “It was comfortable for me. I was still trying to get comfortable on stage, let alone communicate a real idea or a real experience that I had. I just kind of fell into these one-liner jokes that I still enjoy today but they weren’t really telling a true story of myself. I got to a point where I realized I don’t think that’s who I am and I switched.”
Kitch cites comedians such as Mitch Hedberg, Steven Wright, George Carlin and especially Robin Williams as favourites, but notes that while he’s a fan he’s not out to emulate anyone.
“I’m just trying to take experiences I’ve had in my own life and make them relatable, try to communicate them to people in a funny way. I don’t have any grand philosophical ideas about what comedy is, it’s just a conversation between me and the audience and trying to find a common ground, trying to have a laugh.”
For more show information visit the Commune on Facebook.