Stand-up comedy is a piece of cake, according to Sunee Dhaliwal.
"I just know that if you tell a funny story, put the very funniest part at the end," the Abbotsford comic/actor says. "That's all I know."
Take a look at his list of accomplishments and you might suspect he's just being humble. Since first stepping on stage at Yuk Yuks in Vancouver back in 2007, Dhaliwal has landed showcases with Just for Laughs, MTV and recorded a Comedy Now! special on CTV.
Drawing on "everyday things around me," (on Twitter he elaborates, saying that includes "family, music and even ugly girls with hot haircuts") he has also managed to appeal to a wide audience, from Dane Cook-loving jocks to the awkward nerds, just as he did in high school.
"I'm very likeable, maybe?" he says, offering an explanation for his diverse fans. "That sounds cocky. I play sports, so I'll talk about that, but I'm not constantly, 'I play sports and I'm a man.' I'm not good at picking up girls, just like nerds...Comedians are supposed to be losers. And a lot are. In high school, they were losers and had to talk in their head. For me, it was the opposite. I was popular, only because I was good at basketball."
He also had high academic aspirations with plans to be a lawyer. In fact, he might be well into law school by now if it wasn't for his former manager at Staples, where he worked part-time while taking classes. "(My) manager said, 'You should go into comedy.' I was like, 'Nah, I'm funny to you guys, but not to strangers.' I had all these excuses,'" he says.
Ignoring his reluctance, his manager took it upon herself to sign Dhaliwal up for amateur night at Yuk Yuks, convincing him to show up by promising that she too would perform. Only, she backed out last minute.
"I had the best reaction of anyone that night, even the professionals," Dhaliwal remembers. "I was thinking, 'This is easy. I'm a genius.'"
Later, he realized the crowd had been packed with his friends. Still, the experience convinced him to try it again. "I was still funny!" he says.
When Yuk Yuks offered to send him on tour — which turned out to be a lot less glamorous than he hoped with stops in small Canadian towns rather than major cities — he decided to quit his job and take a semester off of school. "One semester turned into six years," he adds.
Along the way, he's also booked acting gigs, including a role in a kids' TV series called
Level Up as well as some ICBC commercials he can't seem to live down. "I don't go out clubbing in Abbotsford, but this one time I did and everybody was like, 'ICBC!' I was like, 'Dude, I went to school with you. You know my name,'" he says.
Dhaliwal's next gig: here in Whistler. He's headlining Comedy Storm at GLC Dec. 8 at 8 p.m., along with MC Kyle Jones, Jon Cole and Kelly Dyer. Tickets show are $10 in advance at GLC or $15 at the door.