cinqque5tion with Rebecca Reeds (by: Jovin Tardif)
Today, my guest is Rebecca Reeds. For some reason, I had a flashback. When I was a teenager, I was blessed to go to summer camp. From what I can remember, my parents would drive east and leave us at a school in Quebec. It was a chance to meet other people, practice our french and wear a purple shirt. In the past, I would go up with my brother. For two years, we were both asked to host the summer camp talent show together. We had so much fun.
I was so stressed to perform, but I figured if my brother was going to be on stage, I should be fine. The next year rolled around and I was alone at camp. I met up with some old friends and I was telling jokes in the hallway when a teacher dropped by to talk to me. “Are you willing to host the show again this year?” he asked.
I slightly hesitated and replied: “ummm…I’m not sure if I can do it alone.” This teacher was also a football coach who I highly respected and we kept talking. I explained to him how I get slightly anxious on stage but I suggested: “well… what if we went off script.” He looked at me slightly puzzled. In the past, I was given cue cards to read. Part of what really stressed me out is that I had to learn these cue cards in a short period of time.
I continued: “I want to change the way we introduce everyone.” He seemed open to the idea. The talent show would consist of singing, dancing, magic, lip-syncing, acting, poetry, comedy or other activities in order to showcase everyone’s skills. I told ‘Coach’ “if you can tell me who will be on the show, I will go talk to everyone and see how we can make the magic happen. Coach gave me the green light. He also added: “you are going to help with the dance right? We would love to see you be the DJ again …” I must say, ‘Coach’ really knew how to persuade me to do things I wasn’t comfortable doing.
Normally, I would hang out behind-the-scenes and keep a low-profile but I smiled and nodded in approval. It’s weird, I always felt like a different person at summer camp. I always enjoyed meeting new people and finding out their stories. In 2019, my wife organized a double date to head over to the Comedy Bar at 945 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON. to check out ‘Totally!’. ‘Totally’ is LA’s newest hit stand up show. The host of the evening was Bryan Hatt. We got to watch several acts from Mark Debonis, Allie Pearse, Ben Miner, Rebecca Reeds, Geoff Plitt and Eddie Della Siepe. We had such a fun evening but my wife noticed a look on my face. “Oh no,” she said. “What are you thinking about now?” I smiled: “You will see…” I’m sorry but after the show, I had to know… Who is Rebecca Reeds?
Rebecca has this presence on stage. I’m not sure how to describe it. It’s different. The topics discussed were hilarious and were performed in a way I have never seen before. I suppose when you open for comedians like Beth Stelling, Matt Braunger and Tom Green, you learn a thing or two, but Rebecca Reeds sort of has her own spin of storytelling. After some research, I learned that Rebecca has appeared on SiriusXM, Fox, and CBC Comedy. Rebecca has also performed at several festivals across the country including Toronto’s JFL42, Winnipeg Comedy Festival, NXNE, SheDot, and the Cottage Country Comedy Festival. Today, I have the honour and privilege to present to you cinqque5tion with Rebecca Reeds. Please enjoy and tell others.
1. Rebecca Reeds, your first gig was at age 21. How did you feel after the first show? What did you learn?
After my first show, I felt like I could explode. The rush of adrenaline was insane and as I now know, extremely addictive. I was a complete mess before the show. I couldn’t feel my arms. I had thrown up in the bathroom. I could hear my heartbeat in my ears. Somehow I managed to get a couple of laughs in a very tough room but later found out it might have been because I yelled my entire set. So the main lesson is nervous people yell and don’t try standup comedy unless you’re prepared to let it ruin the rest of your life.
2. How would you define comedy? How did you know you wanted to get into comedy?
I am honestly not sure how to define comedy. There are so many different variations and versions. My idea of comedy is simply anything that was designed and intended to make others laugh. I didn’t know I wanted to get into comedy until I had already started. I was in an improv group at university and enjoyed the creative outlet. I should mention that I was terrible at improv. I’d get some laughs but from doing all the wrong things and not following any of the rules. Standup seemed like something that might be a good hobby, something fun to do. Unfortunately, after I tried it I became completely obsessed and dropped out of school. Sorry, mom.
3. Great storytelling often leads to better results. Rebecca Reeds, how long do you typically work on your craft to get the end result of laughter?
All jokes are different and require different lengths of attention. Sometimes it feels instant. Some jokes never feel done, you work on them for as long as you’re telling them. I have bits that took one week to write and have others that were two years. Sometimes if a joke just is not working for you it is best just to put it down and come back to it later.
4. Do you have anyone that you consider as a mentor? Were there any comedians that inspired your career?
Before I started doing standup I worked as a server at a comedy club. I applied for the job specifically so I could try and figure out how everything worked. I could pick the brain of every comedian that came through before I even stepped on stage. I had a huge advantage when I started. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had a mentor but I will say there has been a collection of comedians that gave me invaluable advice over the years. There are lots of comedians that have inspired me. Not all turned out to be good people but what can you do? The one memory that stands out in my mind is watching George Carlin with my dad. I was probably a bit too young to be consuming that type of content. He blew this kid’s mind
5. Where can we see you next? Rebecca Reeds, do you have any projects that we can check out?
If you’re interested in checking out my comedy I recently released my debut album, Buddy. You can check that out on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and wherever else you grab content from. I also have a podcast with the wonderful standup comedian Craig Fay, The Villain was Right. We review movies and tv from the perspective of the villain and it’s honestly a super fun and silly hour every week. We just got nominated for three Canadian Podcast Awards so definitely check that out. If you’re looking for a show follow me on Instagram (@rebeccareeds) for show dates.
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