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This article was published 9/5/2015 (1922 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Derek Seguin is one of the rare comedians who can entertain his fans on a regular basis in between trips to their cities.
The Montreal-born funnyman is a regular on The Debaters, a twice-weekly show on CBC Radio that pits comedians against one other arguing usually ridiculous premises.
For example, some recent shows centred around whether comic books were just for kids and the merits of body hair.
Seguin, who is appearing all week at Rumor's Comedy Club, says the show is a little bit like debate club in high school where you're asked to argue a point that doesn't really mean much to you. But make no mistake, the comedians on the show care whether the live audience deems they won their debate.
During one show, Seguin was asked to argue Toronto was Canada's crappiest city. In Toronto. He won. "That means I was funnier than the other guy," Seguin says, just prior to sitting down for an interview at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café this week. "How else am I going to win that one?"
FP: Winnipeggers are insecure about a lot of things but the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, which took place last month, shouldn't be one of them, should it? This is a significant event on comedians' calendars.
DS: It's not the biggest one. Just for Laughs everyone knows is the biggest one in the world, but every comedian knows if they're going to Winnipeg they're going to be taken care of better than anywhere else. It's a very talent-friendly festival. We're excited about doing the (gala) shows because it's material we don't do all the time. There are teams to all of the galas. There's that nervous energy of doing material that we're not super-familiar with.
I played the Festival du Voyageur one time.... What moron came up with that idea? 'Let's have an outdoor music festival in February in Winnipeg!' The tuba player is stuck with the tuba on his lips for three days.
FP: You're a very regular guest on The Debaters...
DS: I think the most regular (guest). I have the most victories on The Debaters, that I know for sure.
FP: Where do they keep those stats?
DS: A fan of the show came to one of my shows and he's like, 'You're the most winningest debater in the history of the show.' I'm like, 'Probably, I don't know, maybe.' And he said, 'No, seriously.' He pulled out his phone and he had an Excel spreadsheet of all the statistics of every debate that ever happened. If you listen to the show, (host) Steve Paterson will randomly give away points if you say something funny or if you tell him he's a bad dresser, he'll take away five points. (The fan) kept track of all the points, too.
FP: So, you're the Wayne Gretzky of The Debaters.
DS: No, I'm not. Point-wise. Steve is my friend so I often insult him during the show and he'll minus my points.
FP: When you're at a comedy festival, are you also a fan? Do you go and watch the other comedians?
DS: I'm still a huge fan of comedy. When I'm in the club, I watch the other people. There are some comedians who say you shouldn't do that too much, which I tend to agree with. I'm a freethinker onstage, I let it fall out. The risk is if you watch somebody too much it will become part of your psyche and then (you might copy somebody else's joke). (Comedy) is the best entertainment form. There's never the same show twice. If you go to a play, it's going to play out the same, plus ou moins.
FP: Who are your favourite comedians?
DS: Right now, Louis C.K., Bill Burr, Derek Edwards, I'm still a huge fan of Steve Paterson, who is also a very good friend. Richard Pryor is my all-time favourite because he was the first comedian I see that -- oh, my God, you can say anything, really anything? I recently bought an autographed picture of his off the Internet.
FP: Do you look at comedians like Gerry Dee, who did standup for years and now has a TV show (Mr. D)?
DS: That's the dream for everybody, that's where I would love to be. I'm happy for him. His show is very good, his standup is very good. He's a very ambitious guy. A lot of us come and do TV interviews in shorts, flip-flops and a ball cap, not really thinking about the career too much (laughs). Anybody who is successful in Canadian showbiz, oh my God, it gives us hope.
FP: Are you going to call him up and ask for a guest spot?
DS: I've called him (and said) "Everybody needs a French teacher at the school." He said, "Yeah, we hired one, she's super-sexy" and I'm like "(Bleep) you!"
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