Apr 24 2009
The voice of Canadian stand-up comedy has found it’s new voice. That innovative gut-splitting style of non-hilarity belongs to yours truly. Enjoy this exclusive review, provided by Earnest Canuck and gifted satirist Lyle Neff, written without malice on the day of our sober-minded antics at Yuk Yuks comedy club in downtown Vancouver.
The Stand-Up Comedy of Jonathon Narvey
Narvey’s subversive set always opens during the endgame of the preceding comedian’s. The comic on the Yuk Yuk’s microphone will be yelling something like, “Am I right, people? No Canadian would ever bodycheck a doughnut, am I right? Thank you!” — and behind him Jon will wander onto and across the stage, wearing a headphone mic, muttering into his netbook, smartphone on his belt.
As the unfortunate opening act says his farewells, Narvey’s shtick rehearsal lines start becoming audible. “There is something amusing about the yellow pages,” he might be heard to say, “and I have to say what. In a funny way. Funnily, Jon. Oh my. Oh lord, I’m not ready for this.”
Narvey sometimes clears his throat at this point and asks himself in an unnaturally deep voice: “Have you ever noticed that the yellow pages are not, ha-ha, actually yellow in colour?” Or he might whisper: “Fine, Jon. Mohammed. Jesus. In a bar. Where’s the rhyme? Jehovah, inshallah, your mother… yo mama, Jon. Yo mama. Yo mama.”
JN’s real set only begins when an amplified offstage voice suddenly booms out his act’s cherished catchphrase: “HOLY BUTT OF COCK, SHUT IT, NARVEY, I THINK THAT MIC IS LIVE.” At which point Narvey will “notice” the audience and freeze, like a deer that is anxious about public speaking. The Narveyheads in the front row — cultish fans of the comedy of unfunniness — will then, ritualistically, boo him off the stage for a lengthy period.
Post-intermission, if the vibe is right, Narvey will return to the stage and do a legendary routine wherein it appears the PA is broken and no one can hear his lengthy gag about how you can’t recycle bicycles. On the comedian’s most notorious YouTube video, Narvey inaudibly mocks a heckler for complaining about the club’s acoustics; the audience member then clambers onstage and, in eerie silence, breaks the funnyman’s jaw in four places with a lead pipe.
More typically, a Jon Narvey set is a meta-exercise in anti-hilarity, sobering punchlines and decent respectable behaviour. The Narveyheads who follow him from nightclub to nightclub do so expressly in order to take him seriously — or so I was told by the president of his fan club in an interview. “Jonathon Narvey is as acceptable as clowns get,” Jane Good averred; “his shirts are frequently ironed, and no one in his family is ticklish.”
Here are some samples of Jon “Narvey” Narvey’s immortal comedy stylings, including dialogue from his short-lived sitcom, Mutually Respectful People Having Minor Misunderstandings.
“What is it with people holding doors open for me? They must think I am a non-door-opening guy. It almost makes me want to say something.”
“Waiting Politely who?
“Waiting Politely… to see if you’ve finished speaking.”
“So I read in the paper that women wear skirts. Well, believe you me, men wear skirts too sometimes. Folks, I’ve even seen women wearing pants! It’s just crazy.”
“God walks into a bar. ‘What can I make for you, sir?’ inquires the barkeep… goes the publican… the bartender asks. So God says, ‘Hey, I already made everything in here. I’m omnipotent. In fact, I’m already drunk!”