It isn’t that Newfoundlanders are any funnier than the rest of the country, it’s just that other people are not as funny, Jonny Harris said.
“There is still a sense of humour everyone has here, but in Toronto is seems to be absent,” says the Newfoundland-born comedian. “I find it very odd. It’s very weird to me that people don’t have that.”
A member of the group Dance Party of Newfoundland — which performs at the SuperNova Festival — Harris said it could just be people in Toronto are too consumed in their own lives. “It doesn’t leave room for a kind of preoccupation with humour — which is just a normal thing out here. It’s a part of every day life.”
Harris, who appeared on Mary Walsh’s Hatching Matching and Dispatching, was recently in town for the Ha!ifax Comedy Fest. Among his material was a story about irritable bowel syndrome and the power of passing gas.
“That went over really well, I was happy with it,” said Harris, who took his time to tell the story and build the joke.
This time in town, Harris will be joined by fellow Dance Party of Newfoundland members Dave Sullivan and Steve Cochrane. They, along with Phil Churchill, knew each other from the St. John’s theatre scene. When a friend was looking for someone to perform at his small theatre, he approached Harris and the others.
“We had always talked about getting a sketch show on the go, but never got around to it. We now had a deadline, so we held a meeting and threw together our first show. We were all surprised at how well it went over.”
That initial success has evolved into appearances with Kids in the Hall’s Kevin MacDonald and on CBC Radio, along with rave reviews in Toronto and Chicago. While Sullivan and Churchill still live on The Rock, Harris and Cochrane call Toronto home.
It’s a situation with makes rehearsals difficult.
They usual squeeze them into the schedule in the days leading up to performances.
“We thought it would be the death of the group, but we’ve managed to keep going,” Harris says.
“But it managed to keep going. It refuses to die.”