When Mike Delamont thinks about filming his first comedy special live from the stage of the 1,400-seat Royal Theatre, he’s swept with a wave of excitement and terror.
Scheduled to air on American television some time this fall, the critically acclaimed Victoria comic will make history by becoming the first local comedian to perform at the Royal Theatre with a routine he’s been building for the last few years.
“It’s kind of the best of the best of what I’ve been doing,” said the 32-year-old, who was the first local comedian to play the McPherson Playhouse in 2012.
“It’s about my life and my wife and my career and the silliness that tends to follow me around.”
Growing up in Esquimalt, Delamont loved British comedy and would often put on his own shows entertaining friends. After high school, he began performing at fringe festivals and joined Victoria’s Atomic Vaudeville, doing sketch comedy and his own shows such as the critically acclaimed God is A Scottish Drag Queen (which has become one of the highest grossing shows on the international fringe circuit, leading to three sequels).
His first time doing standup comedy was in 2011 after he moved to Toronto with hopes of furthering his career. But it was difficult to get hired so a friend suggested he do an open mike night. The gig challenged Delamont to find his own voice.
Eventually, Delamont was discovered when he sent a tape to the producers of the Halifax Comedy Festival and Investors Group Comedy Tour. He didn’t make the tour that year, but they booked him dozens of shows, adding him to the Halifax Comedy Fest and Montreal’s Just for Laughs.
Since then, Delamont has found much success, being a three-time Canadian Comedy Award nominee and now a semi-finalist in SiriusXM’s Top Comic competition. He also recently performed in the Main Room of the Comedy Store in Los Angeles alongside Tom Green and Russell Peters — an experience Delamont describes as “very cool.”
“Comedy is kind of like its own little club. There’s those of us who flew there in economy and some who flew there on their own jets. Once in that room, it doesn’t matter,” said Delamont.
“Everybody talks to each other and there’s no level of hierarchy because everybody has been in the exact same position of struggling and trying to get stage time.”
Before he steps on stage to tickle the funny bone of his audience, Delamont often feels an uncomfortable calm and spends much time rehearsing transitions between jokes, which he says is the most important part of the show. His material is created from every day stuff, with his wife helping pen some of his best jokes. In the funny stories he tells on stage, Delamont admits he’ll always be the buffoon.
Delamont isn’t sure where his career will take him, but he keeps thinking about a sign that was in his high school home room that said: if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.
“It’s been a weird career path. I try to do one thing every year that scares me, which has been okay in the past. One day it will bite me,” said Delamont, who spent half of last year on the road since 95 per cent of his shows aren’t in Victoria. During one show in Winnipeg, people waited for hours to get tickets at the door.
“It’s so absurd people would do that and then you come to your home town and it’s, I guess we’ll see him. Victoria is home, but people really have no idea what my life is like. It’s a whole heap of fun silliness.”
Delamont’s show at the Royal Theatre takes place on Friday, Aug. 5. Voting for the SiriusXM Top Comic competition opens at 10 a.m. on Aug. 2. Votes can be made once a day at siriusxm.ca/topcomic.