Epicureans are always looking for those new trends, like shabby and chic wine and food pairings:
Potato chips with French champagne, anyone?
Canned brown beans with tawny port?
How about some baloney and chardonnay?
That last one is actually being served, metaphorically, when one of Canada’s top comics returns to the Vernon Performing Arts Centre on his latest tour called, you guessed it, Baloney and Wine.
Derek Edwards, who originally hails from Shania Twain country in Timmins, Ont., may come off as a lovable yokel, but his observations on the world around him are razor sharp.
Now based in Toronto, his new show is said to be an uproarious romp through the increasingly strange quirks of our daily routines. As the press reads: “It’s relentless and brazen, a tightly woven running commentary about human nature; the thinking man’s coffee break.”
Edwards puts it more succinctly: “Baloney and Wine is my unpretentious angle about the hosers and the rubes who are out there in great numbers.”
As imagined, a conversation with the Just for Laughs veteran and four-time nominee and winner of best standup comic at the Canadian Comedy Awards, travels the virtual map.
Topics, at least in this 20-minute interview, go from his observations of our nation’s most eastern province to Canadian history to the preservation of the Rolling Stones, to clueless comics, to an update on his latest daydreams…. In other words, it’s loaded with salty meat with a tang of irony.
“My show has been well received in Newfoundland. (Baloney and wine) is what you get at a wedding there,” he jests, we think.
“Actually, I want to go back to Newfoundland. They are real sharp there. It’s where time stands still and they have a very rugged vista. They are also not over their snow days. You just follow the ruts in the streets to get around. With those kinds of conditions you have to laugh. That’s why the Newfoundlanders have a great sense of humour.”
Edwards’ mention of the only Canadian stop on the Rolling Stones’ upcoming North American tour at the Plains of Abraham this July sends this reporter scrambling to the Canadian encyclopedia online to refresh her memory of who fought whom at the Quebec battleground during the Seven Years’ War. (It was the Brits led by Gen. Wolfe and the French under Cmdr. Montcalm.)
The history lesson soon segues to Keith Richards’ longevity.
“He doesn’t stop – he is unending and unkillable,” laments Edwards. “As I continue touring past 30 years, it’s good to know there are other warriors out there.”
Edwards is grateful to those north of 50 for their support over the years. In fact, if it weren’t for the more mature set, most artists and politicians wouldn’t have a job, he says.
“Seniors are the only informed voters. I get a lot of seniors to my shows, and sometimes I feel I need to keep it a little cleaner, but then when I’m 80 I’m going to get a shirt that reads (something that is unprintable here).”
It’s the younger set that really confuses Edwards. He cites an example of when he was in Bermuda doing a show with three other comics.
“We’re in paradise and they are looking at their phones, and there was a free bottle of rum in the room. I thought I’d try to break the wall down and get to know one another but they were too busy talking on the phone about getting on Leno and doing Conan.”
Unlike some of his improv colleagues, Edwards confesses that his act, despite being born in his head, is mostly planned out beforehand.
“I wish I could wing it, but there is some stream of consciousness stuff in there. It’s so nice to have that exchange of energy and follow it up with other remarks,” he said, adding he’s looking forward to trying out his material on a Saturday night in the mountains of B.C.
“We’ll get over the world and you’ll get an update on my latest daydreams, and if a fire alarm goes off, just direct me to the door.”
Derek Edwards’ Baloney and Wine tour stops at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre April 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 for adults at the Ticket Seller, 250- 549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca.