To call what Dave Merheje does on stage "stand-up" isn't entirely accurate. At times it feels more like confrontation and catharsis than comedy. His material is fearless, manic, and long-form. He's given to oversharing about his anxieties, insecurities, and embrarrassments. You'll probably learn more about the guy than you feel comfortable knowing, but, rest assured, you'll be laughing a lot in the process. We had a few words (very few, in fact) with Merheje in advance of his three shows at The Kung Fu Komedy Club this weekend. Get your advance tickets right here.
City Weekend: Your act is pretty intense, almost manic. How to you maintain the energy levels for an hour-long set? How do you feel after a show?
Dave Merheje: I am tired after my sets. Sometimes more then others. But when I am up there I love it. So I am in a place I want to be, so I don't think about it much. I just want to give the best performance I can.
CW: How meticulously do prepare your material? It almost seems like you just come up with a few beats from you personal experiences and just let it pick up momentum and develop into a full-on rant on stage.
DM: I write things down sometimes throughout the day. But I like working it out up there. It takes me days, weeks to get it right where I want it to be.
CW: Stand-up comedy seems to have evolved from observational bits about how bad airplane food is to longer-form material based on personal—sometimes even embarrassing—experiences. Your material definitely fits this mold. Why do you think comedy has taken this turn.
DM: I think like everything evolves. I personally want to draw from real things in my life because it feels better.
CW: How much does your stage persona bleed into your off-stage personality? Is there even a difference?
DM: I am the same, I would say. But up there I am a bigger version of myself.
CW: How old were you when you realized that you were funny?
DM: Maybe 14. I made fun of my aunt in front of my mom, and she laughed. But I didn't realize until I was 14.
CW: What did it finally take to get you on stage to do stand-up?
DM: Just told myself when I was 19 I would go up. That's the legal age to go to bars/clubs in Canada. I thought you had to be that age to go up. I could have asked my parents to take me, but wasn't aware.
CW: Tell us about the worst time you bombed on stage.
DM: I was riffing with an audience member for too long, and a dude snapped said, "For the love of God, tell a joke!" He kept repeating it. I didn't listen and did 10 more minutes of no jokes. I told him, "This doesn't hurt my feelings. Instead will be a story I tell to other comics and friends."
CW: What city has the toughest crowds?
DM: It varies, to be hones,t on the person or persons in the audience. People can suck anywhere.
CW: What made you decide to come to China?
DM: A comic friend recommended it to me. And I know other comics who would come, and I thought it would be a cool experience and time to come myself.
When: 9pm, Friday November 17; 8 and 10pm, Saturday November 18
How much: RMB170 (pre-sale), RMB200 (door)
Where: Kung Fu Komedy Club 4/F 1 Xiangyang Bei Lu (near Julu Lu) 襄阳北路1号4楼 (近巨鹿路)
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