Nationally acclaimed comedian and actor, Ben Proulx, entertained Fernie last Thursday night with his raw comedic style.
From the age of 18 comedy was a part of his life, and he took up live performances as soon as he was able. Now, Proulx tours as a successful comedian, and has even starred in some more serious acting roles such as the Oscar award winning film, The Revenant.
“I was never good at school,” said Proulx. “I was the kid getting kicked out of class for making jokes and making people laugh.
Starting as a journalist, Proulx was miserable. It got to the point where he quit, and committed himself to draining out his savings in order to pursue comedy, and he never had to take another day job.
Making comedy full time isn’t easy, and it’s also not easy to progress as there are many different stages to the ladder. Starting as an open mic-er, you may progress to a guest spot that is an unpaid spot at a comedy club on the weekend for five minutes. Good enough at this, one might do a co-middle at 10 to 12 minutes, a full-middle at 20 minutes, an MC controlling the show, opening on the road at 30 minutes, co-headlining at 45 or finally headlining at an hour, which is the level Proulx is at now.
“Comedy is an interesting industry, like none other. I would say that the toughest part of the industry itself is the rejection. It’s just non-stop,” said Proulx.
Another tough aspect of living life as a comedian is the travel, constantly being on the road. Proulx proclaims this as the reason his previous relationship ended, as well as the reason his current relationship might end.
“I talk about things that matter to me, I tell personal stories on stage, but the main goal is always to make people laugh and enjoy their evening,” said Proulx.
Ryan Short opened for Proulx, and both acts were very different. Proulx joked about politics and society, where as Short joked more about the observable, mundane aspects of life.
Asked why comedians always seem to make fun of themselves, Proulx said, “Comedians are all broken human beings. We’re all damaged in one way or another. If you can’t make fun of yourself, man, you are in for a tough life. You’ve got to be able to. I’ve got one leg, Ryan has a speech impediment and sounds like an idiot.”
“You just have to find the humor in life, that’s the message I try to push to people.”