Written by Gemma Cocomello on 18.07.18

A French Canadian gets up on stage, says a few dirty jokes, and becomes a force to be reckoned with in the world of comedy. This is a good way to begin to talk about Derek Seguin, a Montreal based comedian who’s been building up quite an impressive resume not only in comedy, but also in films and on the radio. With his charismatic charm, natural comedic delivery, and timing, it’s no wonder that Derek is becoming not only a Montreal favourite, but a hot commodity all over Canada as well.

Luckily for us fans, he’ll be performing at not one but two hot shows at the 2018 Montreal Just For Laughs Festival! He’ll be performing at this year’s ever so popular Nasty Show, as well as making an appearance in superstar Tiffany Haddish’s Gala. No stranger to Just For Laughs, Derek was selected to be a part of the Whitney Cummings Bleep Show in 2013, taped right here at JFL Montreal and then aired on HBO. This not only earned him critical acclaim internationally, but also a well-deserved standing ovation from the entire audience. Whether he’s discussing politics, dating, or life as a father of 3, there’s almost nothing Derek is afraid to talk about onstage. We caught up with him to discuss comedy in Canada, family, and what he’s most excited about for the Nasty Show.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today. We’re looking forward to seeing you at this year’s Just For Laugh’s Festival. For those who don’t know you or are new to your comedy, can you please give us a brief summary of who you are?

My name is Derek Seguin and I am the greatest comedian on the planet! I’m a smoker, I have 3 kids, I live here in Montreal, and I like drinking alcohol.

You were a part of the Whitney Cummings Bleep Show a few years back. How did that amazing opportunity fall into your lap?

Just For Laughs likes me and gave me the gig. It was pretty fitting that the gala that year was the only one being taped for HBO. It was an uncensored gala, which fits rights into my wheelhouse since I like to cuss a lot. They gave me a really sweet spot and I got a standing ovation. It was the most incredible experience in my whole career and the fact that it was in my hometown made it even more special and emotional. It was pretty amazing!

A lot of people think that they’re funny but not many feel that they have what it takes to make it into a career. When did you realize that you’re actually quite funny and can make a living off of this?

I started comedy late, when I was 31 years old, so I was a bit of a late bloomer. In 2005, I had done Just For Laughs for the first time only 15 months after I started doing stand-up. So I thought Oh my God I’m a natural! I’m so funny and I’m going to be so successful! I had quit my job to do Just For Laughs and when that finished, I went back to making 25$ a show and thought to myself, what have I done! Then 3 years later in 2008, I was finally able to earn a living off of doing nothing but show business. The first time I went onstage, I really didn’t realize that stand-up was that accessible. I had met a great guy named Kevin Gasior who told me he did stand-up comedy and I was confused as to what he meant. He took me to one of his shows and helped me start the whole Derek Seguin experience and I was immediately addicted to it and couldn’t stop. Even at that time I could’ve never expected to make a living doing it. But it happened and I couldn’t be happier. I’m the luckiest guy in the world to pay my mortgage off with d***k jokes.

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What are your favourite topics to discuss and joke about on the comedy stage?

Well d**k jokes for one! I also talk about everything that’s going on in my life. I will dabble in social and political commentary from time to time. When I started, I mostly talked about societal and political issues but now I mainly talk about my life. At a show, there’s always a good chance that I’ll talk about something that happened to me within 2 to 3 hours before getting up onstage, and then I give my own dirty twist to it.  I also talk about my kids a lot, about my recent ex-girlfriend, and my day-to-day stuff.

Speaking of your now ex: a very popular bit you do is tell the story of when you started dating and you give a lot of details about your second date. Does she have a good sense of humour about being the main topic of that very intimate story?

We just broke up recently and she joked with me by saying that I also broke up with the jokes and will have to pay her a royalty fee if I still want to tell them. She’s a great girl and has always had a great sense of humour and never minded the dirty material.

How do your kids feel when they see you onstage? Are they embarrassed, proud, or it is just normal for them to see their dad telling jokes in front of an audience?

They mostly don’t really care, probably because it’s just their reality since I’ve been doing it for most of their lives. They sometimes find it cool when I get to meet someone famous and in the public eye. They’re proud when a momentous event in my career occurs but for the most part, they’re also pretty embarrassed. Before I had kids I always thought I’d be the cool dad and have the coolest house but unfortunately, that’s not the case! I hope Johnny Depp’s kids feel the same way about him!

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When talking to you, it’s very apparent that you are French Canadian and you use a lot of Quebecois expressions. How do audiences from outside of Quebec or Canada react to your material? Do they understand it or do they just laugh at it?

I’ve been told that my accent and Quebecois personality add some charm. Sometimes, I do feel like they let me get away with things because they fall into the stereotype that oh he’s from Quebec, he doesn’t know any better. I’m thankful for it now that it makes me different, especially in Canadian show business where people often forget everyone’s name. I can be known as that French guy and club owners and producers will remember who I am.

Are you pumped for this year’s Nasty Show?

I’m so excited! It’s going to be the best. The Nasty Show is so great because you don’t have to worry about what to say. Sometimes I go up a little less organized than other comedians and I’ll go off on a tangent and I worry about what I said afterwards. But at the Nasty Show I don’t have that worry at all and can pretty much say whatever I want.

The Nasty Show is known to be a no holds bar and no mercy show that’s not afraid to joke about anything and anyone. We see in the news that more and more people are quite sensitive when it comes to comedy and tend to get offended very easily. Do you think that comedians are more cautious about what they say onstage or do they just really not care?

Some are very cautious. Right now there’s a whole breed of comedians that have taken it upon themselves to be moral judges. I don’t really like to get into the conversation very much. For me the only rule in comedy is the intention. If your intention with a joke or story or anecdotes is to hurt an individual person or any group, then it’s wrong. If the primary goal is to make people laugh then it’s fine as long as it’s not at the expense of somebody in the room. Nowadays we have certain groups of people who have also taken it upon themselves to let everyone know what we should be offended by. At the Nasty Show, we have zero tolerance for that. You can’t come to the Nasty Show and get offended; you know what you’re in store for.

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There have been a lot of changes with Just For Laughs this year with Gilbert Rozon stepping down and being replaced by Bruce Hills, as well as Howie Mandel now being part owner. What are your thoughts on all these changes?

As a Canadian comedian I’m trying to be optimistic that everything they’re saying will be true, and that nothing’s going to change. I was recently at a cocktail meet and greet event with Howie and the message he gave was that the festival will never be moved out of Montreal. They have a great team here and it hasn’t been the best festival for over 30 years for nothing. Bruce is a fantastic leader and is very good to his staff and to the comedians. I really hope they keep everything as is, and just make the festival bigger and better and in more cities globally. The only concern for Canadians is that we will be more ignored with the American involvement. But I really don’t think that’s going to happen given that we have so much talent in Canada.

What’s next for you after you wrap up with Just For Laughs?

Back to touring across the country and telling jokes. I’ll be also doing comedy at a wedding and charity softball tournament, another festival in Quebec City, and some Poutine-fests. I’m hoping that next year will be the year for me to explore more internationally. I’m working on getting a tour through Asia and definitely want to spend a couple of weeks in the UK and check out the comedy scene there.

A huge thanks to Derek Seguin for taking the time to chat with us. Follow him on social media to find out where and when he’ll be performing. Don’t forget to catch him at the Nasty Show from July 20th– 28th and The Tiffany Haddish Gala on July 28th. For more information and to get tickets, visit the JFL website!

Photos courtesy of Derek Seguin.

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