SAINT JOHN – Country music star Shania Twain may have a museum in her hometown of Timmins, Ont., but when you’re a comedian, the best you can hope for is perhaps a garden shed.
“That would be fine with me,” Derek Edwards said.
Edwards also grew up in the northern Ontario mining town, and if Twain is its favourite daughter, Edwards might be able to lay claim to being its somewhat tolerated son.
“With my unimportance in the world, I can’t imagine how desolate that would be,” he said of his proposed tiny museum. “It would be a good place to test explosives and grenades and stuff,” he said, adding that his mom might visit from time to time.
“Shania’s museum, albeit a wonderful tribute, is not packed constantly,” Edwards said over the phone recently in his slightly maniacal drawl. “There is a lot of room for a few games of tennis to go on in that parking lot.”
Organizers of the Twain museum have diversified, he said.
“You also get a mine tour as well and I think they’ve tacked on a brewery tour to try and busy up the museum.”
Having long since moved to the centre of the universe – Toronto – in search of fame and fortune, Edwards is somewhat of a rarity: a Canadian comic who makes a living at stand-up.
“I like to use the word eke,” he said.
Summer comedy festivals have popped up across the North America allowing starving comics to make it through the dog days of summer. Corporate shows, he said, also help pay the bills.
At a show in Arkansas, he was taught the fine art of frog gigging. The popular dating activity, he said, involves couples going into the swamp armed with a hammer and nails.
“Once they’ve accumulated enough, they have some sort of fricassee.”
Sickened and amazed, he made the twisted frog hunt part of his show.
“He’s just a confused Canadian that doesn’t understand that frogs, hammers and nails go together,” he said of the Arkansas crowd’s reaction.
Edwards, 52, has had his share of praise and awards for his quirky observations of daily life.
In fact, the Ontario Marina Association referred to him as the next Jim Carrey, except better.
“What a marvelous thing for someone to say,” Edwards said.
Edwards doubts Carrey feels threatened by the pronouncement.
“He might have to go into one of the rooms at his mansion and count his money for a couple of days just to get over the insult.”
Edwards brings his latest show, It’s A Blunderful Life, to the Imperial Theatre on Friday. On Sunday, he plays the Fredericton Playhouse and on May 3 he hits the Moncton Capitol Theatre.
New Brunswick, he said, isn’t much different than his Northern Ontario home: rocks, trees and moose.
“This is dead on like Northern Ontario,” he said of the scenery lining the highways. “This is spooky. The fact that I’m 2,000 miles away and it’s the same thing. It’s shocking.”
For Edwards, a break from the lights of the big city is welcome.
“If you’re from a small town and you get stuck in Toronto for any length of time, eventually you get a little squirrely.”