Did you hear the one about the funny man who walked into a wedding?
Standup comic Jason Beck and his longtime girlfriend Chantal Viallet are getting married this weekend. The service will combine Catholic traditions, dogs in tuxedo collars and rubber chickens. And that's just the part that takes place in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.
"It's a serious commitment, but we're going to have fun with it," Beck says.
The pair met 14 years ago and moved in together four months later. Viallet knew her boyfriend was marriage-phobic. A large part of his routine deals with his fear of commitment. He has told a lot of girlfriend jokes over the years. She didn't care.
But on the eve of Viallet's 40th birthday, Beck marched her into a jewelry store and told her to pick out a ring.
"Was I surprised? I couldn't believe it," says Viallet, a massage therapist. "It did matter for a number of years and then I accepted it wasn't going to happen."
Beck says it ultimately made sense to get married.
"I've been talking about it onstage for 12 years. I just felt bad that she's with this guy who is anti-marriage. The whole formal thing just scared me. A lot of it is people get married and things change."
It's a first marriage for the 41-year-olds.
Viallet was ready to get married in Vegas. Beck wanted something a little more formal. He'd been avoiding marriage for years, but now it was time to do it right. The couple knew they didn't want to have a stuffy affair.
"I think a wedding should reflect the couple," Beck says. "We want to make it special and interesting for people."
They started with their wedding invitations, which were sent out on behalf of their three dogs. One dog was put in charge of the RSVPs. Their own parents got no mention.
"I don't think they're surprised by anything we do," Beck says.
At the church, seven bridesmaids and seven groomsmen will walk down the aisle. They are wearing long strapless dresses and tuxedos, followed by Tazzy, Chewy and Lola Beck, the couple's dogs, dressed in tuxedo bibs. Viallet is wearing a traditional white wedding dress. The groom is wearing a tux.
Beck doesn't want to give away too much about the service. It has the blessing of the Catholic monseigneur who is marrying them in Beck's church, where he was confirmed and his brothers married. All he will admit is that, in addition to the traditional Bible reading, there will be a parable called True Love is Like a Rubber Chicken.
Beck's wedding ring is stamped with the Pittsburgh Penguins logo.
When the service is over, the dogs (who will be kept in the children's crying room) will walk down the aisle with the newlyweds. They'll also be in the wedding photos.
It's at the reception that things start to get really funny. Three comics —Big Daddy Tazz, Trevor Boris from Much Music and Dan Licoppe from NBC's Last Comic Standing will roast the couple. Well, really, they'll roast the groom. The bride figures she'll get off easy until the night her husband decides to tell wife jokes onstage.
The party favours are rubber chicken key chains. Guests who want to see the couple kiss will have to pull one of Beck's jokes from a container and deliver it.
The best part is the cake. High Tea Bakery is paying tribute to Beck's notorious fear of marriage.
"The cake will have exact replicas of us and the dogs. Chantal is on the top. I'm on a ladder going down."
The first dance? It's a mix. Please Release Me morphs into the Beautiful South's Something That You Said. It's pure coincidence that the same group has a hit called Don't Marry Her.
The result of all this fun and games? The couple hopes the punchline to this joke is "happily ever after."