Quebec comedian Mike Ward on dirty jokes and the legal system

With the Just For Laughs festival under a month away, Mike Ward, who will host the Nasty Show, dropped by the Daybreak studio this week to talk about the show, his love for dirty jokes and his recent experience with the legal system.

Ward will host the Nasty Show at the 2016 Just For Laughs festival

'It was just really, really horrible,' Mike Ward said of his appearance before the Human Rights Tribunal. (Karine Dufour)

With the Just For Laughs festival under a month away, Quebec comedian Mike Ward, who will host the Nasty Show, dropped by the Daybreak studio this week to chat with host Mike Finnerty about the show, his love for dirty jokes and his recent experience with the legal system.

Here is a condensed version of their conversation. The entire interview was broadcast live on the CBC Montreal Facebook page.

Mike Finnerty: They say you're nasty, but that you're nice in person.
Mike Ward: Yeah, even on stage. I'm not a mean comic. I'm a nice person who says mean things.

MF: Where did that nasty thing in your act come from? Did you have a difficult childhood?
MW: No, no, I didn't have an uncle who touched me. I had a really good childhood. When I was growing up, when I was seven or eight years old, I saw Eddie Murphy and it just changed everything about my sense of humour. I just really liked dirty jokes.

MF: Is it harder to do that kind of biting, bitchy, nasty comedy in 2016 than it was before?
MW: It is, but that's the type of comedy I like.
Ward went before a human rights tribunal over a joke made about a young man with a facial disfigurement. 1:01

MF: Is there anything you can tell us about your court experience? [Ward had to testify in front of the human rights tribunal last year to defend a joke he made about a Quebec teenager with a condition that causes disfigurement and deformities. The tribunal is still deliberating.]
MW: Going to court is really horrible. It was just really, really horrible. And what was weird was trying to defend a joke out of context. It was very, very, very bizarre. And I didn't know about the Canadian court system, so I just figured once it was over it would kind of be like the O.J. trial, like I'd stand up and they'd go 'guilty' or 'not guilty.' I didn't know I'd get the verdict three to six months later.

MF: How has it changed your comedy?
MW: It hasn't changed anything.

MF: Are you getting some fans that you wouldn't like to have?
MW: Mostly on the American side, I'm getting a lot of ultra-right-wing fans. I like having them think I'm funny, but I don't want them thinking I'm a Donald Trump-type guy.

MF: This Nasty Show at the Metropolis is actually going on for several nights. What should people expect?
MW: It's going to be the best dark humour in the world, the best dirty comics in the world doing their best 15 minutes. If you like dirty comedy this is the best show ever. If you don't like dirty comedy, it's the worst show ever.

MF: Who's the funniest act you've ever seen at Just For Laughs?
MW: Jimmy Carr, or, I think Dave Chappelle. Last year I did a show with Dave Chappelle and he is so impressive. It was like watching Richard Pryor at his peak. Whenever the media talks about [Chappelle], people say he's kind of weird, kind of kooky, but he's just an amazing comic.

Comedian Dave Chappelle performed 10 shows as part of Just For Laughs in Montreal last year. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)