Written by Ian Sirota
How did you get into comedy is a question I often get asked from audience members and first year journalism students.
It was all because of a movie called the English Patient. At the time I was in Medical school and dating the daughter of a judge who would end up being on the supreme court of Canada. Well Charlotte really wanted to see the English Patient. If you’re not familiar with this movie, it was one of those ‘Chick Flicks’ (if you’re still allowed to call it that). A romance period piece that ran four hours long, but it felt like 45 hours. It won several Academy Awards including Best Picture. It’s the kind of movie that my then fiancée takes you to as a test to see if you’re worthy of her intellectual and emotional level and let me tell you I was batting way above my average with this one.
Long, never ending story short, The English Patient opens on a pilot crashing and then spending his dying moments in a cave remembering this long, lost love. It was the kind of movie that meant something to your partner; so, you just had to sit there and take t because they sat through all your crap Bruce Willis movies. Pretty quickly you realize the movie is going back in time and when Ralph Fiennes finally gets in his plane again, you know not only is he going to crash but this epic pile of boredom is about to end! So here I am in the movies with the first girl I ever loved, and I can hear women crying and some men snoring as Ralph Fiennes on screen gets back in his plane.
I couldn’t resist.
I don’t know if it was the devil in me or the Don Rickles, but when Ralph Fiennes got his skinny ass back on that plane I yelled out as loud as I could…FINALLY!
At first the laughter was muted but then it grew like Biden’s election mail in vote. It just got bigger and bigger and then this overwhelming thunderous applause from all these brave men that risked everything to say, ME TOO!
My first applause break. I was hooked.
On the way home Charlotte let me have it, “life and love are not a joke, you just had to go for the laugh, didn’t you? Who do you think you are, a comedian?”
Suddenly a light lit in my mind like (I would later learn) the red light that tells you to get off stage.
And right then, right there, I decided that’s what I wanted to be, and I told her, You know what? I’m going to quit med school and become a Stand Up Comic just to show you. What do you think of that?”
And that’s when she left me.
She didn’t even answer my question to tell me what she thought. Never spoke to me again. Not even a Facebook friend request.
I heard she married an investment broker, 3 kids, 4 cars just finished renovating the kitchen in their 3rd Muskoka cottage. I know, sucks to be her when here I am telling you this story to cover the cost of a Big Mac AND fries.