British Columbia

B.C. man who quit six-figure job to become comedian tours Australia

Last April, former industrial instrumentation mechanic, Alex Mackenzie quit his job at a pulp mill in Prince George to pursue his dream of being a full-time comedian. He also sold his home so he could buy an RV to go to gigs across Canada. Now he's heading to Australia to perform 30 shows.

'I can maybe bring them a little bit of laughter and joy, which they might need,' says Alex Mackenzie

Since committing himself full time to comedy, Mackenzie says he's improved 'tenfold.' (Alex Mackenzie)

Last April, former industrial mechanic Alex Mackenzie quit his six-figure job at a pulp mill in Prince George to pursue his dream of being a full-time comedian.

The 31-year-old had been unhappy for years and decided to sell his home and buy a small RV to travel to gigs with his nine-year-old chocolate Labrador, Finley. 

Ten months later he's going on tour across Australia. 

Daybreak North's Betsy Trumpener caught up with Mackenzie in Quesnel before his New Year's Eve headlining gig.

So you're over half a year into this. What have been the best moments so far?

Oh man, one thing I've noticed after touring all over the country in the RV is, the thing that makes it is the people and getting to see these places. The Northwest Territories, I got to go up there and do a couple of shows…So we did two shows in Hay River. I think it was mid-July we were up there, and you got to watch the sunset at 1:30 in the morning...then there's always Banff, which is a hot spot. I'd never really spent much time in Banff.

How has it affected your comedy to be doing it much more than just occasionally?

Oh it's helped leaps and bounds. The more you can do it, the better you get at it. Sometimes I feel like I haven't been making that much progress, because, I would say I spend more time on the business side of it, like making phone calls, sending e-mails, doing bookings, a lot of time driving...But no, my comedy has really evolved. If I look back at my show in May that I did when I left Prince George, it's tenfold better. Your confidence is so much better, your joke writing is better. I find now when I do write new jokes, more of them they hit right away.

Mackenzie and his chocolate Labrador, Finley, in Banff. (Submitted by Alex Mackenzie)

You are heading out now, far away. What's next?

Now I pack my bag, I take my first international flight and I'm heading to Australia. They have a festival circuit. I'm basically doing all of their festivals. Right now, I have 30 shows booked in Australia.

No joke, do you know Australia is burning up?

I do. I've heard that, but I figure that with all the fires we've had here, I will be very well experienced in this, and I can maybe bring them a little bit of laughter and joy, which they might need over there at this time. By the time that I get over to the east coast where the fires are, because I'm going to end up in Melbourne, I'm hoping the fires have kind of subsided.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

With files from Betsy Trumpener and Daybreak North