Jenn Grant and Julien Dionne at Hecklers Bar and Grill
Friday, March 15th, 2013
A nominee for "Best Female Comedian" by the Canadian Comedy Awards, Jen has her own half hour TV special on CTV - "Comedy Now". She has performed at virtually every comedy festival in the country; including, The Ha!ifax Comedy Festival, Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, Hub Cap Comedy Festival in Moncton, Newfoundland Screech, Sudbury, and the Uptown Waterloo Comedy Festival.
Jen has been on CBC's The Debaters, was a finalist at the Great Canadian Laugh Off and was the first Canadian to be a finalist at the Boston Comedy Competition. One of her greatest honors was to entertain the Troops in Egypt and Israel.
Jen has just moved back to Canada from New York City where she lived for three years and had the opportunity to play major comedy clubs with such legends as Robert Klein, the famous Jim Breuer and the great Louis CK.
Comedian Julien Dionne has called both New York City and Toronto home but when it came to the recording of his first CD/DVD, there was no question where taping would take place: his hometown of Moncton.
In the past few years alone, Julien has been nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award, walked away a winner at the Hubcap Comedy Festival competition while also winning the New Brunswick heat of the Great Canadian Laugh Off.
Entering into the realm of recorded material is a whole new bag of tricks for Dionne, but one that is he anxious to undertake.
This Saturday night, Julien will perform a pair of shows at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (1005 Main Street, Moncton). The first show begins at 7:30 pm while the second show is slated to start at 10 p.m. Also performing at both shows will be comedian Jen Grant.
Many in the crazy world of show business will say that performing for a hometown crowd comprised of friends and acquaintances can often be more intimidating than being on stage in front of a room of complete strangers.
Dionne is looking forward to having the opportunity to get on stage again in his hometown, crediting a number of local companies and individuals including Botsford Productions, Broken Coast Media Group and Hubcap Promotions with helping him pull his show together. ‘I have typically performed in Moncton once a year for the last little while, performing these little shows where the support is just overwhelming,’ an affable Julien says. ‘People in Moncton are just so friendly and really into the shows. When I was setting up these shows, I thought there would really be no better time to capture that energy on camera.’
‘Am I nervous about the prospect of performing in my hometown? Not at all. I have found that it actually helps me to see some familiar faces in the crowd. Every time I have performed here, there is a comfort that I take from being on stage in Moncton that doesn’t always happen in other cities. I think that once you get past the mental barrier of performing in front of people you know, you will be good to go.’ Stating that his performances on Saturday evening is comprised of material developed and performed all over North America during the course of the last six years, Julien is looking forward to committing some of his material to CD and DVD, effectively allowing him the opportunity to bring new material into the mix in future shows.
‘I just want to be able to move past some of these bits and by recording them, it is a great opportunity to document them and then move on. It is really how comedians measure their body of work, to be able to look back and see exactly how far you’ve come.’ As Maritimers, we hate to see ‘our people’ have to leave the regional nest in the interest of seeking further career opportunities.
But had Julien not taken this leap of faith, there is a very good chance that he would still be a financial advisor. He would arguably be the funniest financial advisor in the city, but the fates had different plans.
Since speaking with The Times & Transcript in October 2010, Julien had spent much of his time living in New York City. After the expiration of his American immigration papers, Julien decided to make Toronto his adopted home. He is grateful for his experiences in New York City, but is glad to be back on Canadian soil.
‘I feel that moving to Toronto has been a good career move in a lot of ways,’ he says. ‘It seems as though I am working non-stop.’ Stating that he is fortunate enough to have a respectable amount of work coming courtesy of the Yuk Yuk’s comedy chain, Julien says that, if nothing else, his move to New York City inadvertently showed Canadian talent buyers that he was serious about making comedy his profession.
‘In this business, much like any business, you have to make your own moves and I think people respect when you take the leap to further and to better yourself. When you start out as a comedian, your routines are far from consistent and the only way that you can improve is to be on stage as often as you can be to really focus on your craft. It’s like so many people hear about jobs they want to apply for; the job position says that you need experience but how can you get the experience if you don’t get the jobs?
‘I wouldn’t trade my experiences in New York City for anything and it ended up helping me further my skill set. Having lived there for a period of time helped to show people that comedy is something that I take very seriously.’