Life of a Comedian
Author: John Wing
Publisher: Windsor, Ont. : Black Moss Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Ventriloquism for Dummies is based on the life of comedian John Wing and his education into standup comedy. It starts with his trying to be funny as a boy in Sarnia leading to his leaving university degree-less and moving to Toronto in 1980, where the real work began. The bulk of the story takes place from 1980 to 1987, when he worked in ten provinces, fifteen states, fifty weeks out of fifty-two, forty-seven out of town. The year ended with his first national U.S. television exposure. It will include the two years on Amateur night, learning to write jokes, then learning to write jokes that worked, then finally learning to write jokes that worked for him. The building of the comedian from all sides -- from the drug paraphernalia in one pocket to the pack of DuMaurier King size and the cocktail napkins filled with illegible scribbling in the other. The struggle that many endured to come out on the other side with a living and a functioning liver. In addition to the history of the Toronto comedy institution, Yuk Yuks Komedy Kabaret, the joke history, the road history (from Vulcan, AB to Sarasota, FL), and what he is able to recall about the drug history, there will also be a considerable amount of shameless name-dropping. This is fair, as Wing sees it, since the group of people who passed through Yuk Yuks with him in the 1980s was as glittering an array of talent as that of any other time and place ever produced, many names that everyone will be familiar with from TV and movies. After over 100 television appearances, including six Tonight Shows, 3 books of poetry, two children, one marriage, and over a thousand auditions for TV commercials without ever appearing in one, John Wing now ventures into that most subjective of artistic endeavors, the prose memoir.