Most writers are shy about discussing their still-percolating ideas, but comedian Gavin Crawford is surprisingly generous about previewing bits of what will (or might not) be featured in his upcoming one-night-only show at Buddies.
Crawford says Ménage! was inspired by his being fed up with a certain Québécois circus. “I think the world has had enough Cirque du Soleil,” he laughs. “Now everywhere you go, there are these bad circus knockoffs. I was going to call this show Frottage, but I liked that Ménage! has ‘men’ and ‘age’ in it.” That sounds like a theme, but Crawford says no: “Most of the show is just funny stuff that popped into my head... a bit of standup, a lot of characters.” Having left his role on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, he’s anxious to try out new material.
One new character, he reveals, “is a chunky Australian girl who fancies herself a party girl and goes to Pride all over the world because she loves that gay men will grab her boobs. She’s a little bit sad in that she doesn’t quite get that they’re never going to date her.” It’s the kind of emotional messiness Crawford is drawn to. “My favourite thing is people who have no idea how they are,” he says. “Essentially, this show will be a collection of these people, gay or straight.” For instance, “I’m kind of fascinated by these circuit people who just keep working out and working out because their faces are aging, so they’re making their pecs bigger and bigger. ‘Look at my chest! Not at my face!’”
This interview takes place the day after a controversial opinion piece in The Grid, about being post-gay, is released. Unlike that of many, Crawford’s reaction is one of delight. “Now I have a perfect character to do in the show,” he says. “All I have to do is get a bowtie and some ugly glasses and I can be the douchiest fag, just talking about how awesome I am: ‘I’m ssso againssst ssstereotypesss!’” He laughs and adds, “That’s the problem with me: I can’t just go on Twitter; I have to do a five-minute character monologue.” Crawford then releases his best David Attenborough impression. “I’ve watched those Planet Earth documentaries so many, many times and his delivery is so breathless. Everything’s so ‘wonnnnderful!’ I think I’m going to do, ‘Welcome to the BBC’s Planet Gaaaay! Here we have a particularly interesting type of gay, far in the west of Queen: the Gay Douche. See their majestic beards and bowties.’”
Other possibilities include Rufus Wainwright recording an album of songs his baby wrote, and, Crawford admits, “I kind of want to do Chantal Hubert reading Manhunt profiles. It’s one of those weird things I do to amuse myself and my boyfriend, but I don’t know if it’ll translate to an audience.”
He’s mulling over whether to do Michael Ignatieff teaching his first political science class since the election: “Welcome to How to Get Elected 101... I’ll be collecting your papers at the end of term and using the ideas when I go back into politics.” Crawford says Ignatieff’s campaign baffled him. “He kept having meetings and found people didn’t like him, so he held a meeting to tell them why they should,” he laughs, “because that works so often. Any time I feel unpopular, I just hold a town-hall meeting and tell people why I should be.” A new TV series might help with Crawford’s popularity. He is using his summer tour to try out new material for a CBC pilot. “We’ll film the pilot late summer, then give it to the CBC to decide whether to take it to series,” he says. But whatever happens, Crawford is looking forward to “getting out and doing the characters in front of people.”
“I’m just going to put in an hour’s worth of shit that I find disturbing and funny. With a Pride show, it’s just designed to entertain. I don’t have to have an agenda of anything other than making people laugh.”
Gavin Crawford’s MÉNAGE!
Tues, June 28, 8pm
Buddies, 12 Alexander St
Scott Dagostino is a fab writer who is always up for a hilarious ménage, on- or offstage.