Arts Feature

Derek Edwards brings his Baloney and Wine Tour to the Grand on October 26

Shantero Productions presents Derek Edwards: Baloney and Wine at the Grand Theatre (471 Richmond Street), October 26, 7:30pm. Tickets are $40. Call 519-672-8800/1-800-265-1593.

Serving up some Baloney and Wine: Derek Edwards returns to the Grand 

- Amie Ronald-Morgan

Something that becomes abundantly clear when speaking with Derek Edwards is just how tuned-in the comedian is to his surroundings. 

Whether it's the changing terrain of a cross-country trek or the troublesome scent of millions of dust-covered gnats burning up in the ducts when we turn on the heat for the first time in the fall, nothing escapes Edwards' keen sensibility. Everything is fair game in his stand-up act.

It's these observations that have propelled Edwards to the top of Canadian comedy royalty, an impressive feat for a country famous for its comedic exports. With a pile of awards, accolades and other achievements stretching back throughout Edwards' almost three decades-long career, he is on the road again to share his singular POV with audiences across Ontario.

Edwards' October 26 engagement at The Grand Theatre is the first time he has performed in London since 2009 when he brought his last tour here. His new show, entitled Baloney and Wine, kicked off in Cornwall on October 16.

Edwards takes aim at the increasingly strange quirks in our daily routines, something he's been dimed into these past several years while enjoying a  self-proclaimed sabbatical. Bits and pieces will surely filter into his routine, but for the most part, he operates by stream of consciousness. This technique has caused Rick Mercer to proclaim "everyone knows Derek Edwards is the funniest man in Canada."

"I've been throwing out the dice over the years, trying to amass a quantity of funny out there. You can't lose the whimsy and you sort of go with the moment, but I'll be trying hard," Edwards said with a laugh.

Sure, he makes it look easy, never missing a beat. "I go with the momentum. A picture's worth a thousand words so I just keep a lot of pictures in my head and see where I stray to," he added.

Edwards' London appearance, or course, comes the day before the election. "There will be a palpable excitement in the air!" he said, just a subtle hint of sarcasm seeping through.

He's not much one for municipal politics, Edwards confesses, worn down by the antics of the Ford brothers back home in Toronto. 

"I'm sure everybody will be relieved in London when it's all over. In Toronto, it feels like they've been talking about an election for 18 months now. It's the notoriety of Rob and Doug that have made it incessant. The entertainment editors have been coming to town," he said.

Playing London is a sort of homecoming for Edwards, who came from Timmins to attend Western University. Living on Kipps Lane, Edwards and his friends were frequent patrons of The Ceeps and the Richmond Hotel.

"People had carved their initials into the tables at the Ceeps at some great length; a hell of a lot of effort was put into making those huge round tables very unique! It had some real character to it," Edwards remembered. 

Though his career has taken him all over North America, he retains a fondness for the Forest City. It was when he was at Western that Edwards saw George Carlin perform in the '80s, a performance that inspired him to eventually take to the stage.

And clearly, London likes Edwards too. His last show brought the audience to their feet for a standing ovation that seemed to go on and on. 

"I like London, not just for the pubs but the nice restaurants and the places to go, it has a nice friendly see-and-be-seen vibe. A very good social ambience," Edwards said. 

In classic Edwards form, an awareness of the hidden threats underpinning most human activities is never too far from the surface.

"These outdoor patios, they look wonderful to go and relax, but then there are the wasps. There is a series of pestilence coming through at different times of year. Seagulls always seemed kind of distant, now they're landing on your table while you're eating. They know when your fries are available!" 



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