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Standup comedian Derek Edwards advocates for laughter

The Toronto based comedian is on the 'In Praise of the Ostrich Tour' and will land at St. Albert's Arden Theatre on June 11.
Standup comedian Derek Edwards performs a live show at the Arden Theatre on June 11.

Even before I interviewed Derek Edwards I knew our conversation would be zany. The Toronto-based stand-up comedian is traveling across the country with his In Praise of the Ostrich Tour. 

What’s with the ostrich, I ask? 

“I’m a trouble avoider. If dark clouds are on the horizon, I’m the first one to put my head in the sand. With all the trouble brewing in the world today, I just want to say ‘let’s keep a stiff upper lip keep going,” said Edwards. 

We crack up laughing. It’s not his words. It’s all in the delivery. Edwards is naturally funny and quite likeable. Originally from Timmins, Ontario he jokes he’s the second most famous person to come from there next to Shania Twain. 

“But nobody remembers number two,” quips the Just For Laughs veteran. 

Alberta is familiar territory for the award-winning comedian. He met his wife in Banff and worked at a pizzeria in Lethbridge, washing dishes and making floury dough. 

“We came ‘cause the streets were paved with gold and there were great oil rig jobs. I came out with a friend in the oldest car you could imagine, and we really didn’t think we’d make it.” 

While the high-paying oil rig jobs never fully materialized, Edwards turned his attention to stand-up comedy after seeing the late George Carlin turn comedy into influential social criticism. 

“I saw him perform live in a 1,500-seat theatre. It was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. What a marvellous thing it was to be up there with just a stool and a glass of water.” 

But there was no magic wand waving the gift of comedy into his life. 

“I started as an amateur working so I could get five to seven minutes of material. No one will pay to see you practice your drivel at the big clubs and festivals. I recorded one show and I could hear the tremor in my voice. ‘What are you doing,” a friend asked. ‘Gargling?’” 

On another occasion, a couple brought their one-year-old baby to his show. Hearing the audience laugh, the baby started laughing. 

“Pretty soon he was laughing his ass off. He totally stole the show from me.” 

Edwards has performed at all the major comedy festivals in Canada and takes on corporate work when it knocks on his door. A comedian with a gentle brand of  humour who lifts anecdotes from everyday life, Edwards often makes himself the butt of his jokes. 

In an easy-going conversational style, he expresses his incredulity at what’s happening in the world. He meanders from topic to topic, story-to-story traveling down twisting roads. In the “Ostrich” tour he’ll be launching kitchen-table commentaries on pot, self-driving cars, gambling tips, the challenge of staying young and dressing warmly. 

“I like to throw a few stones at the City of Toronto and politics. Being St. Albert, do you think I could mention the Oilers?,” he asks. If only he could see the number of Oilers flags flying around town, he wouldn’t need to inquire. 

The 90-minute comedy show takes place at the Arden Theatre on Tuesday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $60 plus fees. Go online at or phone 780-459-1542.  

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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