Alan Cho finalist for Canada’s Next Top Comic

So you’re in the top eight for Canada’s Next Top Comic?


What was the process for getting to this point?

We had to submit video auditions and I think they got 150 from Calgary alone. From there they chose 12 of us to go audition at Broken City in front of a live audience. From the 12 the judges picked three and from the three they opened it up to the Internet and that’s how they picked one from each region. We all fly out to Toronto on September 19.

Are you nervous about it?

I don’t know. I used to really play a lot of head games when I did standup and now I’ve just gotten over it.

You’ve been doing it for a while.

For a while but you get really nihilistic about it. A friend of mine his whole thing he tells himself “I am just a speck in the universe and I mean nothing.” That’s what he tells himself before he goes onstage. I don’t use those exact words but it’s almost like realizing that it means nothing.

Are you still working with Kaboom… Hooray!?

Yeah occasionally. I’m not as involved as I used to be. Jeff [Kubik] usually runs that ship a lot tighter than I do — I have kids and working it’s kind of hard.

Do you get to do standup very often?

I try to go out at least two or three times a week. I just watched a video of an open mic performer in New York and she goes out 42 times a week.

Jesus that’s seems unreasonable.

Yeah. And you’re doing these rooms going to bars where there’s one person in the audience and he’s the person that runs the room. I don’t know how great that is. I think as a comic that’s almost detrimental to do that because you need an audience to respond.

It’s a good challenge though. Can you keep the momentum up and be funny for one person?

I guess. It’s sad though. I’ve done those before and it’s just the saddest thing in the world. It’s a guy who’s just drunk enough that he doesn’t want to leave. You know he doesn’t want to be there but he just wants one more beer so he’ll tolerate you onstage. It’s sad it’s crushing to be in those situations.

But doesn’t comedy stem from depression and anger?

I don’t think it has to it just ends up that way. You know because you’re faced with such awful odds to work on your craft. Are you really becoming a better person subjecting yourself to that kind of self-abuse? I don’t know it’s interesting. It’s something I ask myself a lot. How much self-abuse makes me a better person? I don’t know.

How would you describe your comedy?

It’s so hard. How do you describe yourself? You know if you’re a musician it’s like “I play jazz” or “I play punk.” But comedy it’s just funny or not funny that’s all people care about. I used to be super dark in a way that would upset people and I learned not to be that guy anymore but I still have that. I guess darker family stuff.

Is it more straight-up standup observational kind of stuff or are you more of a storyteller?

One of my big influences was Mike Birbiglia. He was a guy that does storytelling but he always makes sure he has a joke like every 30 seconds — not like one of those guys who tells a really long story and it’s just like he shit his pants. Twenty minutes to hear you shit your pants? It’s just sad. I do storytelling yeah that’s what I like to do but sometimes standup audiences aren’t really up for that. It’s strange who goes to comedy? I know people who go to music I don’t anyone that goes to comedy who is not a comedian.

Are you looking forward to performing with anybody? Have you checked out your competition in Toronto?

Yeah a lot of the people I’m competing against are headliners like people I’ve opened for. So it’s just kind of interesting to briefly be put up to their level. It’s people I respect a lot. Pete Zedlacher and there’s a guy named Chris Locke from Toronto he’s just hilarious. He’s done a lot of Funny or Die videos.

How do they pick a winner is it judges?

Yeah it will be a judges panel. Now talking about it I’m getting a little nervous. Before I was like fuck this whoever now I’m oh my god.

Find out more at nexttopcomic.siriusxm.ca