Comedian Chris Locke remembers fondly the days he spent along the Beach boardwalk learning about life from his dad.
His parents divorced when he was young, but his world was still the Beach, back in all its “dudes drinking Molson Canadian while listening to ‘Tattoo You’ glory.”
Throw in a little Triumph or Chilliwack for the CRTC requisite Can-Con and you’ve got a bluer collar than the current gentrified suit blend that quilts the Queen East landscape now.
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Locke lives in High Park these days, but his earlier life in the Beach was formative, especially with his dad, Mike St. Pierre, who was “the silly one,” he recalls in a mellow voice.
“In my stand-up, there’s a lot of talk about nature and being free and that comes from him,” he says. “All my weird, heavy, serious life chats happened there. He was a free-bird kind of character. All those life chats along the boardwalk and the Beaches were an inspiration.”
The 41-year-old is taking part in the semi-finals of Sirius XM’s Top Comic, and he’s hoping to earn his way to the grand prize of $25,000 cash, or international exposure with a guaranteed spot to perform at JFL Sydney in Australia with his brand of humour.
That self-deprecating humour tends to focus on his outer self, and then, thanks to the element of the absurd gifted to him by his father, he takes it to another level.
“It does come a lot from real life. Most of my jokes are centred around me,” Locke admits. “I’m the butt of the joke. There’s a lot of me to make fun of (and) I take it to absurd places as fast as I can.”
In a past stand-up at Absolute Comedy at Yonge and Eglinton, he focuses on fatherhood, bodily functions, role-playing and teenage memories.
As a father to two young girls, he’s well aware of the vast array of material he has for inspiration. He also has plenty of inspiration from his wife, Kathleen Phillips, who is a writer for Working Moms with Catherine Reitman.
He’ll be appearing on an episode later this year, and he’s appeared on shows like Mr. D and The Baroness Von Sketch Show.
But what he really wants to do, with the award money, is developing his own show to pitch to CBC or Bell.
“My aim is to bring joy, smiles and laughter to the world. Whoever is into that, I am grateful,” he says.
After the semi-finals, a whittled-down cast of eight finalists will compete at the Top Comic event, headlined by Deanne Smith, on Sept. 26.