What: Comedy Night
When: Sunday, Mar. 8, doors 8 p.m.
They may be known for their killer Caesars and infamous butt rub mayo, but Dusty's has something a bit different on the menu this Sunday evening. They're hosting another night of comedy, brought to town by Tobias Hargave's comedian-run company, FreeFoodandBeer.com.
The company is organizing Dusty's comedy series, which focuses on bringing the best Canadian performers possible to local communities. So far, Canadian comic talents like Glenn Wool and Damonde Tschritter have taken the stage, and this week Matt Billon and Phil Hanley are set to bring home some big laughs. Next, Matt Billon is on board to headline comedy night.
Originally from Nelson, B.C., Billon is no stranger to small towns. In fact, when he first started out in the comedy world, his upbringing in the interior was fodder for much of his stand-up routine.
"They used to do a comedy show in Nelson about once a month and I started to attend that just as a fan," he explained. "Then, I slowly got more interested, just realizing that there's guys that make careers out of telling jokes, so I just started talking with the comics after the shows every month and they all kind of gave me the same advice: move to a bigger city."
He launched his career about ten years ago at the tender age of 20, though it was a bit of a surprise to his family.
"I didn't really tell (my parents) right away," he said with a laugh, "I kind of ambushed them. They kind of thought I was moving to Calgary to go to Mount Royal College to study Criminology."
He didn't break the news until he had already done two shows, and by then there was no changing his mind.
"Once I started comedy, there was no turning back. I knew right away."
A former competitive hockey player, comedy offered a similar adrenaline rush.
"You're still traveling around and its still a big challenge to win over a crowd," he reflected.
You're also a lot less likely to get in a brawl, though Billon points out that it depends on the town.
Now, he's been performing for over ten years, with performances at Montreal's infamous Just for Laughs Festival, XM Radio's "Laugh Attack," CBC's "Madly Off in All Directions, Much Music's "Video On Trial," and The Comedy Network. He has also written for "This Hour Has 22 Minutes," was a finalist for the 2007 Great Canadian Laugh Off, and won the Stand Up and BITE Me competition last November.
Comedy has taken Billon all over Canada, the U.S. and the United Kingdom. And while comedy has proven to be a pretty sweet gig for Billon, it isn't without its downsides. For example, a lot of people expect him to be funny all the time.
"That's why sometimes it's awkward after shows. Sometimes people expect this crazy, funny guy all the time, and sometimes its disappointing to them," he said with a chuckle.
Like many comedians, Billon's act is drawn, in large part, directly from his own life experiences. And no topic is taboo.
"I always find those are good challenges. Like when people say, 'Oh, God, no you never talk about religion,' or 'don't bring up the Middle East,'" he said. "... Any subject can be into a joke with good taste."