The Podcast The Website The JFL Show - HomeGrown Competition - July 26th, 9PM The Weekly Show (In Calgary) - "Going To Hell Sundays" TF: Who are you? Where are you representing? Tell us in brief your journey to get into the Homegrown Competition? DS: I am Derek Sweet! Who am I representing? I guess would have to say the SouthEast Calgary crew but I don’t know how to make that gang symbol. Haha… ugh... After being selected for the Homegrown competition I kept saying that I was happy to be representing Calgary, but the Just For Laughs people made it clear that the Homegrown Competition isn’t like that anymore and that now they just pick their favourite 9 people no matter where they are from. That being said I’m proud to be representing Calgary just with my presence there, as it’s a great city to live in. My journey into Homegrown was pretty standard, I think. Last October I was told that the talent agent from Just For Laughs hadn’t seen me in a while so was interested to see how I’d progressed. Having just passed my 5 year anniversary of performing comedy I told myself that this was the year to make some movement or it was time to start considering other things. I pushed myself really hard to have a good showcase set, made sure to stay real to who I was and not clean up like I was going to grandma’s house for dinner (which is what I used to do for showcases), and I think it worked out! TF: Now I happen to know you, so this is going to be fairly informal, but you're one of the rare comics who has financial and career success in the real world. Tell us a bit about your day job. What keeps bringing you back to the stage? How do the two world's intertwine? DS: Yeah, I do OK. I have a degree in Computer Science from the University of Calgary, and lived in California for 4 years as a consultant, and still work for the same company. It pays the bills and is extremely flexible in terms of hours, so that helps with comedy a lot to know that I don’t need to take a shit gig just to pay my rent, and I can take a day off work to go on the road without really reporting to anyone so long as I make the time up later. I’m not sure I’d be able to get away with that at many other jobs, so I’m super appreciative things have worked out like they have. TF: According to my facebook feed, you recently got married on a floating raft in the middle of the Great Calgary Flood... or something like that. Tell us your harrowing wedding tale from your perspective. DS: Yeah it was a nightmare, bro. We were supposed to get married at the zoo, which was like ground zero for the flood in Calgary. I understand hippos even escaped and shit. So that didn’t work out. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the sound a woman makes when her dream wedding at the zoo gets flooded and cancelled, but I can only compare it to a female camel having a hysterectomy with a weed whacker. So when I heard the love of my life make that sound, I knew I had to fix it. We re-planned everything to be at the Telus Sparks center, that got flooded as well. With 24 hours notice we found a THIRD venue and we made that shit happen! We actually had wedding crashers from other weddings because our live band was so good, so given the circumstances I am really happy with how it turned out. How many other couples can say they had their wedding photos taken in front of one of the worst natural disasters in Canadian history? TF: Talk a bit about the Calgary comedy scene and what that's been like for you. It's always amazed me how supportive and nice to each other you guys are as a comedy community when compared to .... errr... other cities.... who shall remain nameless. DS: I won’t lie, it’s pretty fucking awesome man. Calgary in general is just filled with very kind, happy people. That extends directly to the comedy community here, as we are a pretty tight bunch. I can only think of a handful of people that don’t get along, and even then if those people show up at the same venue they don’t have any outwardly negative interactions. TF: Comedy competitions are always strange, and usually filled with vote rigging scandals and other dramatics of the occasionally friendship-ending variety. What do you expect at Just For Laughs, where the stakes are higher, and the stage is bigger? Any big plans if you take home the coveted top prize won by K. Trevor Wilson won last year? DS: I dislike comedy competitions mostly because I never do well in them, haha which is sad but true. I once made it all the way to the final 3 in an Alberta-wide contest, but so did a girl that had never performed comedy before and has never returned to comedy since… and she was a cop, like in her day job. So yeah that kinda sums up contests right there, do I need to say much else? That being said, Homegrown is a completely different thing. They can call it a contest all they want, but for me it’s an amazing opportunity to travel to Montreal for the first time and perform for a bunch of people that might otherwise never get the opportunity to see me. Industry people as well as the comedy fans of Montreal: a city world-renowned for comedy. If I win the contest, for sure I would leverage that somehow into some TV pitches, or maybe getting an appearance on something like Video on Trial, but honestly I’m not going to be upset if I lose to the likes of Bryan O’Gorman or Graham Kay. Those guys are two of my heroes; it is an honour just to appear alongside them. TF: You're a fairly edgy comic, our favourite kind, as is Bryan O'Gorman. It's nice to see you guys representing the dark side on this line-up. In general seems to be a very mixed bag of styles and regions represented here. Will you be toning it down, amping it up, or just doing what you do? DS:I think I’m toning it down. I’m not sure. I have selected my bits such that they have worked everywhere I’ve performed, from Vancouver, to Halifax, to small-town Alberta. I will definitely be talking about my cock for at least 1 minute, so there’s that. I find that some bits work geographically, while others work everywhere, so having never performed in Montreal I am going with what I know works for almost any audience. TF: Talk a bit about your competition here. You've got a guy like Ivan Decker, who routinely kills with the cleanest of material... and a fairly clean and accessible host in Darrin Rose. Does that affect your gameplan going in? DS: I haven’t seen a lot from quite a few of the contestants, but those I have seen are some of the best new comics in the country. I already mentioned O’Gorman and Kay, and yeah you brought up Decker who is also one of my favourite guys in Vancouver. In fact, Ivan was the MC when I went to the Yuk Yuk’s open mic in Vancouver for the first time, so that gives you an idea of how much more experience all these dudes have on me. It’s intimidating, I’m not gonna lie, but I’m also just really happy to be alongside them. But no, it hasn’t affected my gameplan at all. I can only do what I do. I have no other option. I’m going to pull out what I think is the best set I can, in front of that particular audience, no matter who I’m up against. TF: Who are you most excited to meet or see perform during your time here at JFL? What do you hope to take home from the experience? DS: Oh man, even though I have that VIP pass to stand at the back for any show I want, I bought tickets to see Maria Bamford as well as Marc Maron. I need to make sure that I see those acts in good seats. Maron is on during what would be my Saturday night show if I come in first or second in the competition, so it will be bittersweet if I end up advancing and have to miss that. I’m really looking forward to checking out the nasty show too. ***Editors Note: Derek has since found out that Dave Chapelle will also be there this year and he has subsequently shit his pants...*** I think it’s entirely possible that this could be the biggest night in my life for comedy, I have to be open to that possibility, so I’m going into it with the hopes of just not eating shit. If I can go and have a good time, just live in the moment and not get too worried about the competitive nature of it all, then I’ll come away with a life experience I’ll never forget. TF: Open ended question. Talk about whatever you want, or plug something you're working on that you're excited about. Political Manifestos acceptable... go nuts. DS: I think we should all be able to agree that Stephen Harper is kind of a dick… and that Lara Croft is kind of awesome. Derek Sweet produces a weekly comedy show in Calgary called Going to Hell Sundays that features Canada's best comedians performing their darkest and dirtiest material. Every Sunday, at Juliet's Castle, 440 16th Ave NE, 8:00PM.