Although Canadian comic John Hastings has won copious amounts of awards on his home turf, frankly they mean nothing to us here, zilch. As a committed anglophile this wrangled him, so he decided become a successful comedian in the UK. John talks to Martin Walker about his show, John Hastings Adventure.
“The show is the story of the first six-ish months in the UK. It was a very ridiculous time, I came to this rocky island a fairly entitled silly mid twenty year old who thought he was the hot shit of comedy because he made some Canadian oil workers chortle in a show room best described as an orgy of wood paneling.
“Basically I am grateful for a time in my life where I had to face some emotional realities and now instead of emotionally dealing with those realities I have framed them around fart and sex jokes. Where best to ignore emotion and laugh then Scotland… I am aware that last joke was a touch hack but I am getting it out of my system early before the reviewers show up…”
What made you move to London?
“The actual answer is in the show so let’s go with this explanation: ‘I had to come all the way from the highway and byways of Tallahassee, Florida to MotorCity, Detroit, um, I mean London to find my true love. If you gave me a million years to ponder, I would never have guessed that true romance and Detroit would ever go together. And til this day, the events that followed all still seems like a distant dream. But the dream was real and was to change our lives forever. I kept asking Clarence why our world seemed to be collapsing and things seemed to be getting so shitty. And he’d say, ‘that’s the way it goes, but don’t forget, it goes the other way too.’ That’s the way romance is… Usually, that’s the way it goes, but every once in a while, it goes the other way too.’”
“That’s from True Romance by the way for you cinephiles who were curious.”
How do UK audiences differ from your native Canada?
“UK audiences are honest and intelligent as well as being incredibly comedy literate. The average UK-er has seen more comedy in a month live than your average North American sees in a year. Canada comedy is way more full contact. An audience wants you to appeal to them in every facet and heckling usually ends in complaints to comedy club owners from the audience.
“In the UK the audience for the most part gets the fact that what we comedians are saying are jokes and are along for the ride. For example on stage yesterday there was a couple who had filed for divorce six months before and where jointly visiting their daughters in London. I made jokes about the husband being an adulterer turns out it was the wife! Now what I am trying to illustrate is this; as a comedy audience you expect a performer to give their version of honesty through jokes and the audience will be honest about themselves to push the comedy forward. It’s awesome.
“Also the dude the wife hooked up with was like 23 named Bjorn and when I asked him to spell it the boy toy forgot the ‘J’”
How do you describe your comedy?
“A man telling stories with jokes crammed in every nook he can find – hopefully. It’s basically an awful conversation where one person is talking only what he wishes to talk about where you must sit there and nod, laugh and react with glee!”
If you were curating a stand up show for television, who would be your guests?
“This is the toughest question ever because if a friend of mine answered this question and did not include me I would lose my shit.
“Basically if it is a show that I want to watch you have Patton Oswalt opening, then Canadian/Welsh comedic delight Ryan Cull, followed up by Maria Bamford, she then introduces the Canadian comedian/owner of the best worst beard Dylan Gott, then spry Bobby Mair because he is hilarious and because I like doing an impression of him to him and this would be an opportunity where he would have to sit there and take it, then Joan Rivers, then Jen Kirkman and then the Kids in the Hall but they are performing with the sketch troop Twins.
“Ad Break – this is less of TV show and more like a marathon.
“We scream back with Andrea Hubert then Kate Lucas and then Nish Kumar and Romesh Raganathan and I tell an awesome road trip story – ask any one of the three of us about it if you see us on the street. Then Josie Long and then the excellent and unknown – in this country – Graham Kay followed by Matt O’Brien.
“Ad Break – where we thank the audience for their patience.
“Then closing the show is my friend Paul Myrehaug singing his classic, I only hit the ones I love! I am intentionally leaving Peter White off this list so he can complain about it.”