I don’t know too many entertainers cocky enough to stroll on stage with a sideways hop and a rubber faced grin before breaking into a song about a highway car crash.
Sound morbid? Not really.
Lorne Elliott isn’t just a run-of-the-mill entertainer. The Montreal-based comic pumps out That’s How You End Up on his skinny electric guitar and the audience cracks up over a three-car pileup. And it was mainly the lyric-packed acronyms – PDQ, RPM, BTU and DOA – that had the crowd in stitches. Maybe you had to be there.
Elliott is on a mini-tour of Alberta. This past Friday he was at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre delivering his brand of quirky humour to a receptive crowd that ranged from kids to seniors.
The fuzzy-haired comedian, with more than 30 years experience honing his chops at comedy clubs and festivals, combines a dry wit with songs that sound as if they were penned after swilling a bottle of Jack Daniels.
A master of comic timing, the stories at first appear deceptively simple. But the observational humour, often directed at himself, is cleverly constructed and offers unique insights into our everyday lives.
Elliott doesn’t have too many sacred cows in his lexicon of Canadiana. He skewers national politicians with smirk and a glint in his eye. He compares the Prime Ministers’ Portrait Gallery in Ottawa to Hogwarts, and Stephen Harper is one of his favourite targets.
“To get him to smile, you have to activate servo implants in his cheeks,” Elliott said.
Of the Bloc and Montreal, he let it rip by saying, “We don’t know anything about politics in Canada. We just want you to talk about us. We’re basically the Charlie Sheens of Canada.”
David Suzuki’s uber serious jabs at the oilands, Rex Murphy’s verbosity and even Mark Messier Way received one of his stand-up rapier salutes.
And if the momentum lagged and the crowd was quiet, Elliott quickly ran interference and meandered onto a different subject or song.
Drawing some of the biggest laughs was The Smallest Thing Known To Man, a tune that muses on an erotic rendezvous in the shower that goes wrong when the upstairs tenant turns on the dishwasher.
A shrewd observer of what makes Canadians laugh, Elliott was often most entertaining when scrutinizing everyday life. Pot smoking in Amsterdam, security guards at airports and sailing around P.E.I with inept bravado after buying a sailboat were some of his strongest routines.
My favourite was of a mad snowboarding run where Elliott tried to prove to a nephew that he too was cool.
“I had never tried snowboarding and decided I should start in the Rockies,” he said.
Picking up momentum, he lifted off the mountain and went flying through the air “yodelling the Lord’s Prayer” just before doing a face plant into a half pipe.
Elliott is delightfully at ease skewering human foibles with his dry, slapstick humour. He may be a bit of nut case, but he’s quick-witted and his topics are relevant. And best of all, he doesn’t need to resort to blue jokes to make people laugh. Looking at the stream of smiling faces at show’s end, a good time was had by all.
Friday, Feb. 10
Morinville Community Cultural Centre