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This article was published 11/4/2012 (3485 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
There are a lot of bold claims that could be made with the intention of raising eyebrows in the comedy community.
World's funniest comic? That'd be hard to prove.
World's smartest comic? Also hard to quantify and, some might argue, not all that much to brag about.
World's dirtiest comic? Fuhggedabouddit -- there's just too much competition constantly lowering the bar.
But how about this? World's sexiest comic. Now, there's a declaration that requires a little bit of nerve, a whole lot of attitude, equal measures of self-confidence and self-deprecation, and the pinup-quality photo gallery to back up the boast.
Well, then, welcome to the comedy festival, Nicole Arbour.
In a life that has always been inclined toward the performing arts, the blond, brash and unapologetically beautiful 29-year-old Hamilton native has been a theatrical performer, a competitive cheerleader, a Toronto Raptors dancer, a musician and recording artist, a choreographer, a Mensa member, a model and a commercial spokeswoman -- as well as, since experiencing one of those "A-ha!" moments when she discovered Humber College's standup-comedy program, a rather successful comedian who somehow had the aforementioned cheeky titled foisted upon her by observers of her career.
"It just kind of happened," explains Arbour, who will appear in the Winnipeg Comedy Festival's Saturday Late Night Gala, Women Who Kill. "It was what people were saying about me, so I decided to just embrace it rather than trying to fight it. I figured I might as well run with it, and try to have as much fun with it as I can."
"Running with it" has included producing three editions of The World's Sexiest Comedian Calendar, which pokes gentle fun at pinup-girl modelling while providing a month-by-month showcase for some of Arbour's standup-comedy one-liners.
"I just think it's fun," she says. "I get to make fun of myself, and poke fun at pretty girls, and it gets more people to come to my shows."
In Women Who Kill (Saturday, 9:15 p.m., Pantages Playhouse Theatre), Arbour will share the stage with some of Canadian comedy's most formidable females, including host Caroline Rhea and fellow performers Debra DiGiovanni, Nikki Payne, Rebecca Kohler, Sherri D. Sutton, Cheryl Hann and Evany Rosen.
Arbour, who started dancing at the age of three and made her professional debut in a Hamilton Place production of Cats when she was five, said she knew early on that she was going to be an entertainer, but it was that trip to Humber College, and the discovery of its comedy course, that helped propel her full-speed into the diverse career she now enjoys.
"It really was a light-bulb moment," she recalls. "My parents weren't happy about it, but I knew it was what I had to do."
In very short order -- a matter of weeks, really -- Arbour was performing at Yuk Yuk's, creating the act that would eventually prompt Playboy magazine to suggest the "world's sexiest" label as an apt descriptive.
But it's not solely about the image, says Arbour. It's about continuing to get better at the all the various avenues she has chosen to explore.
"I've been doing hard-core rehearsing since I was a kid," she says. "I have a built-in work ethic, so I just had to figure out how to do it all."
In addition to comedy, Arbour is also a musician and producer, and a creator of subversively funny videos such as her naughty spin on Mrs. Claus (for a Virgin Mobile ad), a fake public-service announcement imploring pretty girls to "Stop being b -es, and a pair of amusing videos in which "Nicole responds to creepy e-mails."
"Comedy is one of about 10 things I do," she says. "I'm going to keep pursuing as many different things as I can -- I'll blend them all together, so I don't see any reason for it to end."
For a look at Nicole Arbour's comedy, calendars and video offerings, visit www.nicolearbour.com
Saturday Late Night Gala: Women Who Kill
Hosted by Caroline Rhea; featuring Nicole Arbour, Debra DiGiovanni, Nikki Payne, Rebecca Kohler, Sherri D. Sutton, Cheryl Hann and Evany Rosen
Saturday at 9:15 p.m.
Pantages Playhouse Theatre
Tickets $39.95 at Ticketmaster
After three decades spent writing stories, columns and opinion pieces about television, comedy and other pop-culture topics in the paper’s entertainment section, Brad Oswald shifted his focus to the deep-thoughts portion of the Free Press’s daily operation.