'The weird uncle': Get to know comedian Aaron Read
Multidisciplinary artist and long-time member of Vancouver's improv scene, Aaron Read is stepping out and making a name for himself as a standup artist.
Read is one of the featured comedians in the CBC Gem special The New Wave of Standup and is available to watch online here.
We invited Read to take our questionnaire, and here's what he had to say!
1. Where do you come from, and what were you like growing up?
I was born in so-called Vancouver, but grew up in Burnaby, BC. I was a very strange little kid, very scared of the world. I had some friends but not many! I played a lot by myself including one time tying myself to a slide upside down to play "action hero," wherein I would try to escape by untying my leg and sliding down. I didn't have the core strength to do a full sit-up to reach the rope around my leg though, so I was stuck there until a neighbour came and untied me, that kind of stuff.
2. What kind of first impression do you hope to make on audiences when you step on stage?
That I'm like the weird uncle who works on his little figurines in the garage instead of eating with the family.
3. When did you first know you wanted to do comedy? When did you decide it was a career?
Probably when I frustrated my dad by exclusively renting Tommy Boy from the video store every Friday; like, it visibly frustrated him, so I guess then. I think I decided I wanted to take it more seriously about five years ago when I was away from home on a work tour. I kept having sleep dreams about doing standup comedy sets and feeling really happy in the dreams, so I began to try harder after I got home.
4. What was the greatest moment you've experienced on stage? How about the worst?
The greatest moments are probably when I'm doing material, but I feel loose and free enough to mess around. Maybe it's lame to say, but when you're in sync with the audience.
The worst was probably in a pizza basement when I lost my cool at a terrible table of cocaine business monsters. I didn't have any cool jokes to burn them with, I just pleaded with them to stop and absolutely decimated the energy of the room and any momentum the comics before had created. Oh, I was headlining too so I was like, supposed to be like, good at standup that night.
5. Who are your comedy heroes? Who do you look to for inspiration?
Chris Locke for his mind and ability to get a room to take a ride on his psychic slime skateboard with him. I love Wanda Sykes and am addicted to her act outs! Honestly, mostly my friends are my heroes and I draw tons of inspiration from them, but my top three are Chris Locke, Abdul Aziz, and Chandra Melting Tallow, who's an amazing multidisciplinary artist!
6. What other fellow comics should Canadians know about?
Abdul Aziz, Maddy Kelly, Andrea Jin, Alain Williams, Ryan Williams, Nathan Hare, Dakota Ray Williamson, Brent Constantine, and Bita Joudaki from Toronto is the funniest.