Doing standup is hard work, but some do succeed
Go to a comedy night in any Canadian city and you will notice that many people on the bill are young — often barely out of college and sometimes just old enough to get into the bar.
With shows like MuchMusic’s Video On Trial and CTV’s Comedy Now!, the spotlight is shining on fresh-faced comedians who aren’t quite jaded — yet.
However, most young Canadians who do comedy acknowledge that only a small percentage make a living from stand-up alone. The vast majority of people who call themselves comedians do it as a hobby and not a way to earn money.
The few others, like Toronto’s Sabrina Jalees, use their comedic talent on stage and wherever else it will take them. The 22-year-old is probably best known for her commentary on MuchMusic shows like Video On Trial and Video on Demand and CBC’s Sounds Like Canada. She also has a column in the Toronto Star.
Jalees started going to comedy shows when she was 14, obsessed with the idea of doing stand-up.
“I would feel something inside of me, like a little midget thumping inside my heart when I saw comedy,” she said.
At 16, she was performing at amateur nights and two years later, Jalees became the youngest member of Second City’s touring company — breaking Mike Myers’ record.
Her early start has paid off. Last summer she bought a house with her “comedy money.”
“It’s normal to be a comedian and living in your parents’ basements because you have no other choice,” she said. “So it’s convenient that I did that when I was supposed to be living in my parents’ basement.”
However, like so many other Canadian entertainers before her, Jalees plans to go stateside for more opportunity.
Later this year, she’s moving to New York, where she already has a television gig lined up.