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Justin Shaw makes me laugh.
Whether he’s poking fun at his sensitive "New Age Guy" appearance or describing his first job – “mowing the lawn at Canada’s smallest library in Cardigan”–I can’t help but giggle whenever I see this P.E.I. native perform.
Once, when I saw him don a hat and his face instantly disappeared, there were even more laughs. I finally understood why Shaw never wears anything on his head.
I’m not the only person who thinks he’s funny.
This comedian has been making people laugh across Canada, opening for Mike MacDonald and winning the Triple Crown Award at Comedy Works in Montreal.
He spent last summer working with Lorne Elliott in the Canadian comic’s play, “Culture Shock”.
“Lorne was a big influence on me. He’s kind of got that old school quality of silly and storytelling,” said Shaw.
So was Cindy Rivers, a rising stand-up Canadian comic. He performed with her in Edmonton, Calgary and Fort MacMurray this past year before she was picked up for shows in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
“We were able to bond as friends. Things (in the stand-up comedy world) can be pretty crushing, at times. The lows can be quite low, so having someone to bounce ideas off and share encouragement and support is a real lifesaver.”
Acting is also a passion for Shaw. A graduate of the National Theatre School and the University of Prince Edward Island, he has served as the artistic director of Just Because, a theatre company in Fort MacMurray, Alta.
But, last week, his world changed completely.
Call in and win:
- The question is: Where is Justin Shaw’s home community?
- The prize: A pair of tickets to An Evening of Comedy with Justin Shaw tonight at Bar 1911 in Charlottetown.
- Last week’s winner: No winner
- To enter: Call The Guardian’s Phone and Win contest line at 902-629-1707.
After a successful career in Alberta, Shaw has packed his bags and moved to Ontario where he hopes to work in comedy in Toronto and Hamilton.
“I’ve taken the plunge. I want to grow. I want to be better. I want to be a funny as I can be,” says Shaw, who is signing up to take classes with Second City and other comedy workshop environments.
“I want to surround myself with funny people.”
But before he starts the next chapter of his life, he’s returned home to P.E.I. for a show in his home province.
“I love it. It’s a great opportunity to connect with an audience who perhaps hasn’t seen me in quite a while,” says the stand-up comic, who is presenting “An Evening of Comedy with Justin Shaw" today at 8 p.m. at Bar 1911 in Charlottetown.
He will be sharing the stage with local acts including Sam MacDonald, Taylor Carver and Doyle MacLellan.
He can’t wait for the doors to open at 7 p.m.
So much has happened to him as a performer and a writer since his last show on P.E.I. in December of 2019.
“I’ve had lots of new experiences and worked with a lot of different performers. And it’s impacted my work in large ways. So, it’s interesting to share a lot of the influences that have affected me as a storyteller and silly person.”
Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns. She may be reached at [email protected] guardian.pe.ca or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.