A&E » Arts

Molineux will leave ’em laughing



WHO: Chris Molineux

WHERE: AlpenRock

WHEN: March 16, 9 p.m.

"I have my degree in Soviet History… it’s funny studying a country that no longer exists. I guess the joke was on me."

The time spent at the University of Victoria may not have impacted comedian Chris Molineux’s career path, but his first summer job after school certainly did. The history major found himself working maintenance on the now defunct Yuk Yuk’s Club in Victoria. After sitting in the audience for several months, Molineux made the jump to the stage at the urging of his boss.

"It was almost a pragmatic decision at the beginning. Talk about the ultimate summer or college job! You get to hang out in a bar. Chat for half an hour. Get paid a hundred bucks, free beer and everyone loves you.

"I had watched a lot of comedians and I’d bumped into a lot of people who had ended up doing pretty well for themselves, Norm MacDonald, Mike MacDonald, Brian Stiles… and after I had got me degree and had been doing (comedy) for two years, I realized I didn’t have to do anything else."

Little did he know, that he would end up sharing the stage with those names as well as the likes of Jim Carrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Jerry Seinfeld.

After years of successful touring, with stops at the world-renowned Montreal Comedy Festival, Molineux decided to take his craft just one step further.

"It was my brilliant wife. The company is totally her thing," says Molineux of Happy Face Productions. "She just said, ‘Why don’t you book comedy as well’. And I said, ‘An agent? Oh no I never could…’. But instead of travelling around and doing stand-up, it gave us the opportunity to be involved in the business and for me not to travel."

Five years, three kids and 60 acts later, Happy Face seems to have been a good decision. Molineux enjoys the control over the flourishing business while staying close to his family. Well, for the most part, anyway. Speaking while en route to Alaska, Molineux explains the business has expanded to include workshops on public speaking and comedy.

"I work with corporations, teaching their staff how to use humour to make the workplace more communicative, more creative. Especially in e-commerce, one of the big things is whether people are happy where they work, as opposed to how they’re getting paid. It’s more a matter of ‘Am I going to be able to hold on to these people for 18 months? Eighteen years would be even better!’ So (humour) can be a valuable tool."