This weekend, Jon Dore performs in Victoria at Heckler’s Comedy Club, while his Comedy Special Big Questions, Huge Answers premiers tonight (February 8th) on the Comedy Network at 7pm!
I had the chance to talk to Dore about this new special, his history of form-breaking stand-up sets, and how he once almost brought a live bear onto Conan.
1. You’ve never seen anything quite like this comedy special
After originally airing on Comedy Central in the US in December, Dore’s home country will finally be able to catch Big Questions, Huge Answers on the Comedy Network. The result of a lot of work and brainstorming by Dore and his writing partners Adam Brody and Dave Derewlany, the show will air right as he takes the stage for his Friday night show in Victoria.
“We pitched this idea that was a bit of a satirical take on VICE… we borrowed a few tricks of theirs that we find amusing. It fits in [as] culturally relevant news satire, but it’s not necessarily political,” said Dore.
“There are two episodes in the one hour special and they’re linked together under a common theme called ‘How to keep America’s children safe’.”
The first problem Dore attempts to solve is Cyberbullying, followed in the second episode by ‘Predatory Teachers’.
After researching and experimenting with real people, he presents his ‘solutions’ to experts at the end of each episode, with hilarious results.
“We present our ideas to real people, and real people react to them. So, in the first episode, we have tech investors that know they’re part of a TV show but they come to hear a pitch and they think it’s a real pitch,” said Dore.
“They immediately poked holes in it and got very upset. They actually tried to sue us. Their lawyers called Comedy Central, but they’d already signed a release form so there was nothing they could do.”
2. Jon Dore is one of the greatest Canadian comedians right now
Becoming a household name as a Canadian comedian is notoriously difficult. For example, Netflix only just released its first few specials from Canadians in its “Comedians of the World” series, and even then, many Canadian comics choose to ply their trade in the U.S., despite the costs of green cards and visas.
But that’s exactly what Jon Dore did back in 2009, when he made Variety‘s 10 Comics to Watch list, which also included Donald Glover, Ken Jeong, Ellie Kemper and Kristen Schaal.
In the decade since, he’s acted, performed, and been the host of various TV Shows (including Inside Amy Schumer, The Baroness Von Sketch Show, and Funny As Hell).
3. Every time he’s on TV, things get more absurd
Take, for example, Dore’s appearances on Conan. His first came in 2010 and at first seemed to be a run-of-the-mill stand-up appearance, but a couple minutes in, things start to get a little unusual… in the form of lightning, thunder, and actual rain. You’ll see what I mean below:
Dore revealed that originally, the set was going to be much more high-stakes.
“The initial idea was to get a bear, a real live bear to walk in the background. It got too complicated because it’d need a handler and they were going to try to get plexiglass. That was too complicated so the next best thing was thunder, lightning, and rain.”
The following year, he returned with fellow comedian Rory Scovel to do a convention-breaking “double act”. Conan O’Brien began the segment by announced that unfortunately he’d double booked two stand-ups, but that they’d graciously agreed to share the stage…
Then, in 2012, the pair returned to perform another form-breaking stand-up experiment. This time, even Conan and Andy Richter got involved.
Though the exact Conan version of the place-swapping act could only be done the one time, Dore and Scovel’s part had actually been done live many times before.
“The way we did that one [live]… there was this venue in Los Angeles where we got to do some really fun things,” said Dore.
“They had a window behind the stage and I would do performances outside… we always had big fun creative ideas. The essence [of the place-swapping bit] was the same, I would say ‘You think this looks easy?’ and then he’d say ‘Oh, you think this looks easy?’ and we’d swap positions,” he said.
“Then we just thought ‘How would this work on Conan?’ and creatively, between the two of us, we start giggling at the idea of ‘What if Conan interrupted us?’ … But that’s what happens, you perform it live and then you add to it when you try and bring it to Conan.”
And finally, Dore made a more recent solo (kind of) appearance in 2017, to promote “Hercules: The Musical” and a new energy drink.
When asked what his next Conan set might feature, Dore said he doesn’t have any specific plans at the moment, but that that could change soon.
“To be honest with you, Rory and I should probably talk and try and do something. That would be fun,” he remarked. So, stay tuned for the pair’s next harebrained comedic idea.
4. You can do a deep dive into his sketch comedy
Along with the new Big Questions, Huge Answers show, and his incredible wealth of stand-up appearances, Dore has written and appeared in several hilarious sketches, many of which are available online. Most recently, he’s acted in The Baroness Von Sketch show.
Along with his astronaut role, Dore has also been on Baroness as a stubborn bouncer, a horny passenger on the Titanic, and a not-so-horny AirBnb guest.
The first two seasons of the show can be seen on Netflix.
He also played a version of himself on an absurdly funny first date in the Adam & Dave sketch “Unfortunate Cookie”.
Plenty more of his sketches can be found across YouTube and Vimeo!
5. He’s at Heckler’s Comedy Club this weekend!
Sure, both the Friday and Saturday night shows have sold out, and I already mentioned this at the top of the article, but just knowing he’s in town is fun, right? Right.
Plus, if you don’t already have tickets, you can just stay home and turn on the Comedy Network to watch Big Questions, Huge Answers at 7 pm PST.
Or, if you’re reading this in the future, head to the Comedy Network’s website and watch the special on demand.