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Standup Star K. Trevor Wilson Takes Another Step Up With Comedy Special
Canada has produced some of the finest comedians working today, many of whom got their start in standup. Jim Carrey, Howie Mandel, Norm Macdonald and Russell Peters all launched their careers on Canadian stages.
The next generation of stars may be found on Homegrown Comics, taped earlier this summer at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal. The hour-long special premieres Monday, Sept. 3 on Comedy.
These young performers boast cultures and backgrounds as diverse as Canada itself. Adrienne Fish, Brandon Ash-Mohammed, Cara Connors, Hoodo Hersi, Jacob Samuel, Jarrett Campbell, Kyle Brownrigg, Nick Nemeroff, Pat Burtscher, and Paul Rabliauskas will all be showcased.
This is a lineup where faiths, ethnic origins, sexual identities and genders are all thrown into a giant Tim Hortons blender.
Introducing them will be one of the rising stars in Canadian comedy, K. Trevor Wilson. Six years ago, on his first trip to Just for Laughs, he won the "Homegrown" event when it was still a competition. He’s been back every year since, a top draw after emerging as "Squirrely Dan" on CraveTV’s Letterkenny.
"It’s crazy," says the 37-year-old. "I had to have a talk with my girlfriend earlier this year because it’s the first time in my comedy career I’ve been financially stable and we’re not worried about the next paycheque. I have to get myself out of that mindset of needing to take every job because I have to put food on the table."
"Winning that ‘Homegrown’ award really put me out there," says Wilson, who followed the Montreal success with a show that same fall at Toronto’s JFL42. "That led to me opening for Louis CK and Patton Oswalt. Once I had that on my resumé, people started returning my phone calls."
That led to opening for other established laugh-getters such as Sarah Silverman and Paul Provenza, then more shows at Just for Laughs and JFL42. "Every time I’ve done Just For Laughs it’s opened new doors, which have opened new doors."
Eventually, the big door that swung open was Letterkenny, renewed for a whopping 42 episodes earlier this year. He’s also an integral part of the Letterkenny Live cast showcases that took place across Canada at the start of this year, with another mini-tour scheduled for December.
"K. Trev or ‘Bae Trev’ is a one-of-a-kind actor," says Letterkenny star and creator Jared Keeso. "I’ve had the pleasure of seeing his standup 50-plus times and no show is the same. He is constantly looking for new ways to stimulate and engage his audience."
Executive producer Mark Montefiore echoes Keeso’s admiration of Wilson. "He has a unique ability to counter the super-fast one-line chirps of Letterkenny with a perfectly paced, hilarious story."
Wilson can also zing one-liners with the best of them. For two years in a row, he was a quarter-finalist among a field of top North American comedians at Jeff Ross’s annual Roast Battle competition.
"He comes in with a bit of a swagger, which is fun to watch," Ross noted at last year’s competition, held in Montreal. "He’s also lovable," he adds. Roasters are usually "spitting venom, but he has a heart under all those clogged arteries."
Wilson’s girth made him a big target for fellow comics. At last year’s Roast Battle, celebrity judge Wanda Sykes called him, "the brother who was too fat for Duck Dynasty."
The Toronto native doesn’t duck those jabs — he actually encourages them, noting how he and his fellow comics will give each other ammunition heading into roast events, "because we’re all buddies and we wanted to put on a good show."
Besides, Wilson has the last laugh after shedding 36 kilograms over the past year-and-a-half.
"The diabetes agreed with me," says the comedian, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and successfully adjusted his diet to the point where he no longer has to take medication.
Wilson knows that the first job of every Canadian comedian is survival.
"There’s not opportunity around every corner for a Canadian comedian. You really do this because you love it, because you’re going to spend most of your career playing in the middle of nowhere, for OK money. You do it because you want to do it, because you love making people laugh, because you love doing standup."