I love all kinds of good comedies and I’ve always been curious about how comedies are created and the working of stand-up comedies as a business. I am excited and lucky that Calgary-based comedian Carmen Stockton has kindly agreed to help me to look into the funny business of stand-up comedy. (You can see a clip of Carmen’s comedy on Comedy Central here.)
In the beginning of this creative journey of cooperation with Carmen, l want to get to know more about her and we ended up chatting for 2 hours on and off camera.
In Part-1a, Carmen and I talked about many things including,
* Carmen’s idol, the funny comedian Gilda Radner. (Check out Gilda’s “Lets Talk Dirty to The Animals” bit and her bit with Steve Martin.)
* How Carmen started doing comedy. Her trouble of doing “comedy” in class in grade 9 and what happened when the teacher found out.
* Her marriage, at 19, to a vacuum cleaner salesman with a lazy eye.
* Her first two shows – Rubberneckin’ (1993) and Afterthoughts (1995).
* And her leaving comedy behind (she thought at the time) after two years at that point and became a hair dresser.
In Part-1b, we talked about many things including,
* Carmen’s treasured comedy bag with all her notes, notebooks and ideas for her show. A look inside Carmen’s comedic mind.
* The material for CBC Comedy Festival in 2007. And how she created the show.
* Carmen showed the working notes that helped her remember the flow of each and every joke in the show. She walked through a three-minute joke in particular and gave us some interesting insight. (Note: This joke is in the Comedy Central clip.)
* Talked about the use of teleprompter in telecast performance.
* The poodle (Carmen’s step-mom) segment.
* Writing lots and lots as many jokes will never work.
In Part-1c, Carmen and I talked about many things including,
* The story of her comedy bit “Jesus Christ Carmen”.
* Carmen’s style of slow-burn comedy. A story teller of dry humour.
* The stories of Carmen’s four trips to LA to try to be a comedian there. [K: Very honest and insightful.]
* The logistic of a Canadian comic working in the US (especially in recent years).
* What bought Carmen back to Calgary from her most recent 2-year stay in LA?
* Coming back to become a comedian once again after 6.5 months of being a hair dresser.
* Carmen talks about her up-coming trip away to just write her new 45-minute show call Waiting to Exist. The general structure of the show.
Check out this 2003 Globe and Mail article about Carmen.
By the way, after doing the researches, chatting with Carmen, and watching some of Carmen’s clips and performances, I have quickly become a fan of her. She has worked so hard. I wish Carmen will have a creative and fruitful trip in creating some wonderful comedy in the next few weeks. It has truly been my pleasure to be in this creative journey of cooperation with Carmen to look into the funny business of comedy.
P.S. Special thanks to my friend Christine Cheung for connecting me to Carmen.
Carmen Stockton Bio
Carmen’s comedic career began in 1993 when she wrote, produced and starred in her first one-woman show Rubberneckin’. This was a love story for the ages; the haunting tale of her falling head over heals in love with a rubber sex doll. In 1995 the curtain rose on her second show Afterthoughts, the lighthearted look back on her not-quite-forever-marriage to a lazy eyed vacuum cleaner salesman. In 1998 Carmen took her unique comedic voice into the world of stand up comedy. She won the Yuk Yuk’s new talent competition in 1999 and during that same year was invited to perform at the prestigious Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. She has twice been featured on CBC’s nationally broadcast radio program Madly Off In All Directions in 2001 and 2003. In 2004 Carmen drew critical acclaim for her Canadian television debut for the CBC Comedy Festival and was invited back to film another gala in March of 2007 (airdate tba). In 2005 she made her American television debut for Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. After living in Los Angeles for the past few years, Carmen has come home to Canada…plastic surgery free and is now feverishly working on her new show Waiting To Exist scheduled to delight audiences in Spring of 2008.
Jun 18, 2008 Update: Because of Carmen and my schedules, we just couldn’t find time to work on this project together. So this series will unfortunately have to be ended here. Thanks for your interest.