Dylan Billings claims to be the “gayest the straight man you’ll ever meet.”
Whether that’s true, false, or politically correct, it doesn’t matter—stand-up comics have never been the kind to worry about such things.
Billings is a second-year Trent student in the Concurrent Education program studying drama, a little History, and English, too, just to make sure he has “some back-up teachables.”
He would really like to be a drama teacher, he says.
What makes him different from other students is his desire to get up on-stage. Billings has been doing improv for quite a while and recently decided to take a leap into the world of stand-up comedy.
On Jan. 10, in front of a small audience at Be At The Trend pub’s Friday comedy night, he performed stand-up for the first time.
Billings was well-received in his debut. His set included jokes ranging from how he was like extra virgin olive oil, but now he’s more like virgin olive oil, to real stories like the time his father took him to a strip club.
His stage experience gained from improv and drama was evident in his set as he was quite at ease with the mike.
Local comic Sean Quinlan was impressed with first set.
“You could tell he’d been on-stage before, you could tell his background in improv helped,” said Quinlan, who also organizes Trend comedy nights.
“He was really strong for his first time, I was surprised.”
The theme of Billings’s show starred around his trouble meeting women and being mistaken as gay.
“One night I was out, I was getting hit on a lot by a lot [of] guys, but I had no shame and I was taking the free drinks. I did wonder why it was happening. I also get asked a lot if I’m gay. I think it’s because I’m sometimes flamboyant and the fact that I’m into drama adds onto it, too.
“It happens a lot, so I thought I’d make a joke of it. That’s where that joke comes from,” he explained.
A lot of comics say their jokes come from places of pain, but not Billings. “No pain. Just awkward situations that I find funny.
“Like today, the bus was pretty full, so I had to sit next to this girl, and then later on, seats opened up in front of us. So, I was sitting there wondering, ‘What’s better? Do I get up and move to those seats, or is that awkward? Or is it more awkward if I stay here? Okay, I’ll just stay here,’ ” Billings said, laughing. “It’s situations like that where my jokes come from.”
Billings first thought of trying out comedy while watching a Robin Williams show in Toronto. “I was laughing so hard. He was so funny and I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I can be that funny, too.’ Maybe not Robin Williams funny, but funny enough to make people laugh.”
After enjoying his first show, Billings has no plans of stopping. On Friday, Jan. 31, he performed in Trent’s Got Talent in the Wenjack Theatre.
The Trend pub at Traill college will be having another comedy night on Friday, Feb. 7, starting at 8pm. Event organizer and comic Quinlan encourages students to come out and spectate, and, if you’re one of the braver ones, you can even perform!