Ladner's Darcy Michael makes comedy seriously funny
Ladner's Darcy Michael knows comedy can be funny. But it also has a serious side.
First off, as a comedian, it's his livelihood.
Second of all, it's a form of self protection—something he learned from his father, a retired police officer, who Michael says is the funniest person he knows.
"One hundred per cent, it was my dad," Michael says. "I come from a big, boisterous, loud and obnoxious family. And my dad was king of the hill and single-handedly is the reason I have this sense of humour."
Michael, who recently completed filming a TV talk show called The Skinny with Darcy Michael that is being shopped around the networks, says cops have a dark twisted sense of humour that as a youngster growing up can shape who you are.
"You can't be in that line of work and not find a way to cope with it, and I think humour is the best way to cope with anything, whether it be your job or your health. It just kicks into second gear for me. I find I'm the funniest at the darkest of hours, which is terrible at funerals. Anyone sitting next to me at a funeral is just a dreadful situation for them."
Michael was born in Pickering, Ontario and moved with his family at age eight to Lynn Valley in North Vancouver when his father retired from police work.
Michael became the proverbial class clown in school.
"As a short, fat, gay kid at eight you gotta start somewhere," he says.
"All of at us some point or another in our lives have been bullied and if anything it makes us better human beings, you know. Like, I have an amazing life. I make movies, TV shows and travel the world, and people pay me to talk about my feelings. If anything, I want to go and thank my bully, you know. I just don't know what McDonald's he works at."
In high school Michael took to the stage at Argyle Secondary school to express himself.
"I lived in the theatre at Argyle. I think it's the only way I got through high school, being able to have that outlet, and just know that's what I wanted to do, be an actor or a singer. But I'm a terrible actor and I can't hold a note to save my life. But I can make people laugh."
The epiphany for that as a career came while making his wedding day speech eight years ago. That was when husband Jeremy told him he should give being funny for a living a try.
"Little did he know the beast he created," Michael says, adding he draws on his unique lifestyle for the majority of his comedy material.
"Some of you still look confused. If you're confused now you should have been at my wedding. Poor grandma still hasn't figured out why I was holding hands with my best man."
"It's 100 per cent real life. I don't sit down to write," he says. "I used to. But now I acknowledge things that are happening in my life with a little note like falling off the treadmill at the Ladner Rec Centre the other day trying to check out one of the lifeguards that was in the gym."
Gay parenting is another subject for humour—his now teenage daughter Grace is from his partner's pervious relationship.
"Our daughter is 10-years-old and when she was younger we didn't know how to address the whole gay parent thing, so we wanted to wait until when she was older so she could understand it. But when she was five she came home from school one day and walked right up to Jer and I and she goes, 'Are you guys gay?' And Jer and I both look at each other, and we're like, 'No, we're Scientologists.'"
Appearance is another target. About two years ago Michael weighed in around 300 pounds. Today, 120 pounds or so lighter, he is a shadow of his former self.
The secret to the weight loss? Michael—who also has Celiac disease and has to eat gluten-free foods—started by eating a healthier diet and went for long walks. And as he dropped the weight he upped the intensity to the point where he does mini triathlons each day—a swim at the local pool, bike ride to Deas Island Park, and a session on the treadmill.
"A lot of my old act used to be about being a big fat guy and being an undercover gay," he says. "Now look at me, I'm a screaming queen."
"I got hit on when I was in Toronto. And I always get creeped out when people flirt with me, because instantly in my head I can't help but think what has gone wrong with your life that led you to this moment. What did your daddy do that you've got to replace him with a hairier version?"
Today, with a cross-Canada tour booked, the likelihood of going into the second round of producing his talk show, and a just released comedy show being sold online, spare time can be pretty scarce for Michael who says he cherishes the quiet, suburban family life he has in Ladner.
"It took a little while to adjust to things here, but I couldn't imagine living anywhere else," says Michael who adds, "But the closest Ladner is going to get to its own pride parade is if 'Jer' and I go to the mailbox together."