Vancouver smarty-pants Ivan Decker is definitely serious about comedy.He says he doesn't do bait-and-switch set up and punch line jokes — for him it's a little slower, more of a story.
"The humour in my act comes from doing examinations of the world around us. The term 'observational' for me is an old-fashioned comedy term. Every comic is observational. You're observing something and you couldn't have an act that doesn't make some kind of a statement," he says.
"My comedy came from the way I view the world. You get to test if an audience feels the same way you do on a certain topic. It's also an interesting social situation... I've always been interested in sociology and having your finger on the pulse of the average person."Take Vancouver winters: it snows, you get on a bus, and spend the most entertaining $2.75 ever — with the bus driver editing the route because he doesn't know what to do. He calls it a hostage situation.
For Decker, less is more. He hates to see comics release their work on live albums too often or too early.
"Obviously you want to stay relevant and have your fans stay your fans, in order to do that you will need to keep releasing content. But what ends up happening is that these comics have to do a new hour (of comedy) every year. It is so much material. There is nothing that can replace time spent doing bits," he says.
One of the misconceptions about doing stand-up comedy is that people think they make it up on the spot, he opines.
"We're not though, we've tried hundreds of times to really refine and hone the optimum way to make this idea as funny as possible. Then you record it, then you perform it. That's how you become a great comedian," he says.
"Your material is so important... Around the end of the 90s was a time for really great comedy. Comics had specials once every three or four years. They worked hard to develop their work." YouTube has also made it harder, he adds."It's totally changed the speed at which the public wants artists to create material. It's a reasonable demand as consumers, but it's very hard as an artist to create at such a rapid pace. A lot of the time I will change my jokes, it might be the same kind of topic, it might be the same idea for a bit but a lot will change over the course of time."That said, Decker is popular on YouTube, what with performances at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and Just For Laughs in Montreal. He was also voted Funniest Comedian Under 30 — an age milestone he has just passed.He started standup at age 19.
Decker has performed in Whistler before, but not for at least four years. He and fellow comedian Katie-Ellen Humphries are performing at Comedy Kitchen, part of Cornucopia, at Buffalo Bills on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 8:30 p.m.
Squamish comic Kelly Dyer is set to host the event.
Decker has definitely never been to Cornucopia —neither for fun nor profit — but he knows that it is mainly about food.
"You've got to have something to look at while you're chewing!" he laughs.
Decker says he has had a fun year, recording a special set at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival that is coming out in May on CBC.
And there's his new album, I Wanted to be a Dinosaur.
"I recorded it this summer at the Comedy Mix. It is coming out in January or February, as soon as I get the photos done," Decker says. "The title comes from my transition into adult life and into the city of Vancouver. I grew up in the suburbs (Ladner). I went from being a small-town guy to a more cultured person who gets to travel the country. It's very fun."
A regular on CBC Radio's The Debaters, Decker says his honed act mixes with spontaneity in a live audience.
"It a great example of a really fun way to create new content. We're given this framework to work within. It's really easy for writing. You're given a topic that you're going to research and talk about. I find it very fun — it's cool to see what the other comedians do. My favourite part of being on that show is that I get to watch it live from backstage," he says.