Tears Of Laugh-Dore

Jon Dore

Jon DoreIT’S every comedian’s dream to have his or her own sitcom. But as Jerry discovered in Seinfeld, it can be a problem when the TV networks demand creative control. Luckily for Canadian Jon Dore, the people at The Comedy Network let the funny man do whatever he wanted with The Jon Dore Television Show.
He won Best TV Writer 2008 and Best TV Comedian 2009 at the Canadian Comedy Awards and is currently midway through a two-week stint at The Comedy Store in Sydney. He chats to BBM’s Dan Jeffery…

 Hi Jon. You’re making your Australian debut this week. What should people know about you before they come and see you?
They shouldn’t know anything as a matter of fact. They should just show up. I’m a white heterosexual male, if that helps to sell any tickets. But I don’t think there’s anything to know really. I’m more intimidated about the Australian audience. I don’t know what to expect – just the stereotypes.

Like what?
Well everyone knows that dingoes eat babies. And that the Australian Open tennis is there. And that’s it – that’s all people know about Australia. Oh, and that they love to be confused for New Zealand.

So you should get on well over here being Canadian.
Yeah I think most Canadians would be upset if they were confused for an American. I personally don’t give a shit.

How did you start off in comedy?
That’s a long boring story. Why don’t you tell everyone that my father was Richard Pryor.

Your television show follows in the footsteps of many great mockumentary style shows. What’s the advantage of doing something like that compared to a regular sitcom?
It was just the show I wanted to make and the Comedy Network was behind us all the way. A regular sitcom would have been subject to North American standards of taste, whereas we’re allowed to get away with just about anything we wanted to do. We had a talking aborted baby foetus in an episode and the only reason that got cut was because it didn’t really help the story move. But otherwise, there’s a lot more freedom when you have your own show.

You must need a lot of balls to say some of the things you say to people in your interviews?
Not really. The experts and the real people all know that it’s a comedy so it’s almost like they’re willing to partake in the show. Sure they don’t know what I’m going to say but it’s not like Ali G where they’re not expecting it to be a comedy. In the show, I’m an ignoramus who thinks he knows everything about the world, and that’s a fun person to play. The more I don’t know the funnier it gets.

Do you ever feel bad for any of the questions or comments you ask or make?
Oh completely. But that’s the best part because once it’s all over I can turn to the people and say ‘I’m so sorry but I had to say that’. It’s best with my therapist in the show. She’s wonderful and plays it as if she was my therapist. So if I was an insane person walking into her office, she would never say ‘you’re an insane person’. She just continues to get them to talk.

In your show, you contemplate a number of global issues and life choices. Are there any issues you consider too risqué for the show?
No. As long as it makes sense to my world and my life, or as long as it makes sense to the viewers, I don’t think any topic was too much… Actually that’s probably not true. There may have been a couple of topics that the network told us was too much. But as long as there’s a problem in the world that needs to be solved, I think I’m the one to do it.

To go by the show, people might assume you regularly embark on campaigns. Are you a crusader for knowledge in real life?
Absolutely not. For instance, am I trying to get fit? No. Have I quit smoking or tried? No. Television is one big lie for sure.

Television’s Jon Dore is currently headlining at The Comedy Store until 13 June 2010. Visit www.comedystore.com.au to by tickets.