Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

That guy? He's funny?

Darrin Rose is all over TV, but audiences get to know him when he does standup

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There's a funny thing that happens when Darrin Rose puts on a show.

And by funny, he actually means strange.

Many of the people who buy tickets know Rose as a regular on MuchMusic's Video On Trial, a supporting-cast member on the CBC sitcom Mr. D or the host of Comedy Network's revival of the classic, campy Q&A show Match Game, but they have no idea until they arrive that he is, first and foremost, a standup comic.

"My audience is weird, because it draws from those three areas," says Rose, 37, who brings his Still Chasing Manhood tour to the Park Theatre on May 31. "Mr. D is on CBC, so that's the 65-year-old people at my shows; Match Game is sort of a middle-of-the-road show with a 25-to-35 audience; and I still have people coming to the show who know me from Video On Trial, which means they're 14- to 16-year-olds.

"When I get onstage and look at the audience, I can pretty much tell who watches which show. But what's crazy is that many of these people who've seen me on TV have no idea I do standup comedy, even though I got those jobs because I'm a standup comic. ... Some of them will come up to me after the show and say, 'Oh, my God, I had no idea you were so funny!' So it's kind of a weird thing where you have to reintroduce yourself to someone who specifically came out to see you."

For the benefit of those who fall into that only-from-TV category of Rose recognition, it's worth mentioning that the Oshawa, Ont.-born performer has been touring as a comedian for more than a decade, and was a nominee for best male standup at the 2011 Canadian Comedy Awards.

As for the title of the tour -- a followup to last year's Chasing Manhood roadshow, which bypassed Winnipeg -- Rose says he chose it because his comedy act focuses mostly on his personal journey as a man in an increasingly complicated world.

"It's about me growing up with my dad and my brother -- it was all guys in our house, which was a very testosterone-rich environment," he says. "My brother's an iron worker, and my dad sold steel, and I'm an adult who still reads comic books. So the show is really about trying to fit in with their very specific ideas of what it is to be a man.

"My dad has all these rules -- like, 'Don't drink from a straw.' Why would that be a rule? How could that make you more or less manly? It's just one of all these things that I don't quite fit in with."

Rose is one of a limited number of touring comedy acts to book themselves into the Park Theatre, a rather intimate Winnipeg venue that affords a theatre-show atmosphere in a small-ish room with a capacity of 250. It is, he says, part of a plan to transition his act from clubs to soft-seat theatres.

"I've had the opportunity to go out on four Just For Laughs tours, playing the biggest theatres in each city, and I thought, 'Wow, I've got to get here,'" he says. "So playing these smaller theatres is a way to work up to larger ones.

"There's sort of a different kind of comedy that happens in theatres, because there's a difference in what people expect in theatres as opposed to comedy clubs.... In clubs, you're often dealing with people who are hammered and more focused on ordering nachos than on watching the show. I think my kind of comedy, because it has a lot of callbacks and planting of ideas throughout the act, is more suited to a theatrical setting, because it's not going to get derailed by people yelling or somebody getting hammered and getting into a fist fight. That never happens in a theatre, because people come there with a sense of purpose.

"And all the chairs face the right way, which is also very helpful for comedy."

You can sample Darrin Rose's comedy at http://darrinrose.com/site/comedian/videos/

brad.oswald@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @BradOswald

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 30, 2013 C3

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