Time and time again I have heard that term from either other Canadian comics or people in the industry. It is moniker for all those times an American comic comes up here and either asks for something or feels entitled. Sometimes they are just star cunts and I get that but there is something even deeper than that. A lot of times it is the comic just asking for what they deserve. A normal standard that they are either used to or should get but people in Canada feel shocked that they even ask.
As Canadians we don’t ask for what we are worth, in many ways we just accept what we get and move on. To ask for more worth is in a sense selfish. How dare you think that you are worth more…there are hundreds of people who would kill for your ability to barely pay rent. What you want RRSP’s…. Fucking Americans.
Now apply this same value system to the Canadian comics cause it applies. In my business there is a sense that you should just be happy with what you get and if you want more than you are just the same as those Fucking Americans. Listen to countless Canadian comics who have to move to the states and they all say the same thing. If we had the same success in America as Canada then we would be having our own tv show or playing large theatres blah blah blah. I am sure there are people who see this and go “who do they think they are…. They are not even that funny”. Funny doesn’t matter in this equation it is what the public sees they are worth and not the industy.
I have seen this for myself and it is very true in Canada. One only has to look at Russell Peters and the way he handles his business and I am sure many in the biz has said who does he think he is? He is one of the top comics in the world but if he stayed here he wouldn’t even have his own show cause playing moosejaw to 100 people is the prize in this country AND you better be grateful to play to those 100 people.
On a much smaller scale this has applied to my own career. I once was told by a comedy club owner in montreal that I might be too much for his club in terms of content. As he was saying this to me I pointed to a picture that was above us of Jim Norton. All the club owner could say to me is “well he is American”. I killed that whole weekend…shook many hands and was told countless times I was the best they had seen but maybe it was the way I handled myself off stage. Who knows but the “well he is American” line stayed with me.
I have done countless comedy clubs where they cant even put up my comedy posters I have paid for to be printed and shipped to the club. They see this as who does he think he is. HOW dare he think he is any better than the average comic we have in here every week. Well marketing doesn’t work that way… in marketing perception is everything and if you make a big deal out of something people will think it is a big deal and come AND pay more. I have had countless weekends where the staff has no idea what I have done and come up to me at the end and say you have been the best one in a long time. Sure but that doesn’t earn me the right to have a poster advertising it does it.
I have had arguments with comedy agents who say shit like “really Darren does it matter you did all this stuff?” Yeah it does that is how they do it in America. They are not ashamed to use credits and make it sound better than it is. As long as you don’t lie where exactly is the problem. These same clubs and agents have no problem booking SCREECH. I am sure that is based on his comedy talent only. If only my parents would have fucked 90 miles south near Buffalo.
I also know this whole speech has been made many times before.. Canadians are polite.. we don’t ask…. We wait blah blah blah. Well I see a whole generation of young comics who either learned from the old fucks or just live in a social media world where borders don’t matter when it comes to comedy. They are not waiting for anything and the times they are a changing. I am pretty sure the Irish don’t say FUCKING BRITS and vice versa.
I still just want 50 people in a room who want to hear me scream who saw a poster and knew what they were getting.
If that makes me a Fucking American then so be it can I just not have to spend the 15 grand to get a green card.