In the latest installment of Calgary’s Funniest People I had the pleasure to sit down and chat with Doug Mutai.
Doug is a hilariously dry comedian whom I immediately liked the first time I saw his act. He has a combination of social commentary, and self-deprecation which combines into absolute hilarity.
I asked him to grab a cup of coffee on a fine Friday morning at Deville here in Calgary. This forced him to wake up early to get to the 10:30 meetup. (Comedians are not generally known to be morning people.)
We took our seats, talked for five minutes, decided there was a better table, moved, then chatted some more. End of interview. I know; it sounds terribly interesting when I put it that way.
BP: Doug, you’ve had some successes so far in your career. You’re touring and making a living as a comedian. How long have you been doing comedy for?
DM: This is now my fifth year of doing stand up. You know what though, it really doesn’t seem like longer than a year. You know how when you love doing something, time really passes quickly? Well it’s like that for me with comedy.
BP: Where do you think you got your passion for performing from?
DM: Well, I don’t really know, but my dad was a preacher that could have played a part. Every Sunday he was performing for the church. When you think about it, preachers are really just performers with a religious topic.
BP: So you could say that Jesus, Moses, and Mohammed were some of the greatest performers to live?
DM: Well, you can’t say they didn’t create a following! And before social media too.
BP: Well, let’s address the elephant in the room, you’re from Kenya, how does that affect your comedy?
DM: I’m actually working on a bit about elephants in a room. Why is that term exclusive to elephants? Why can’t we address the pride of lions in the room? Or the giraffe? You’re going to notice a giraffe in a room, no? And giraffes are weird. I don’t see them as really African animals. They’re too high brow. I wouldn’t blink an eye if I saw a giraffe with ankle bracelets and an LV handbag. Annnnyways, back to how being from Kenya shapes my routine. I find that I use. There are bits which are dependent on the fact that I look and talk slightly different than many in the crowd. However, every comedian brings their own background to the stage. Whatever you bring to the stage, you should work with. I like to think, however, that if you took away my accent and being from Africa, I would still be funny. Funny’s funny. You can never really know though.
BP: Definitely. You’re a funny man Doug Mutai. There’s no doubt in my mind you’d bring the funny no matter how you spoke or what you looked like. Sorry, I’m a little distracted here. Too many good looking girls in downtown on a summer morning.
DM: You’re always looking, aren’t you?
DM: I try and not. I know that people already think men are creepy, especially if you are from another culture. so I try to be very coy about checking out girls. I don’t want to come across as “that guy” even though I might be that guy.
BP: That’s what these are for [pointing at my sunglasses.]
DM: Ahhh yes. Creeper shades. Aviators, that’s what they’re technically called, right?
BP: Man’s true best friend. Moving on from that worthwhile distraction, what pisses you off about society right now?
DM: Have you heard of Tyrese Gibson? Well, he had this video that went viral of him telling his daughter she’s beautiful in a really aggressive way. Just drilling her that she is who she is and beautiful no matter what. I think personality in kids is developed and taught by example not being incessantly told you are awesome. This is an undoing of the self esteem movement age. Basically implying that you can be awesome without doing anything to earn it. If you think you’re awesome: prove it to me. Until you prove that you’re awesome, you’re not. The bigger problem obviously is that a few years down the line she might get so entitled and never understand why the world just isn’t giving stuff to her on a silver platter, just like that Eliot Roger kid. The world will engage you the way you engage it.
BP: Well Doug, you’re awesome, and you’ve proven that. Thanks for the chat. What are your near term plans?
DM: I’m done touring for the summer. I just want to get on stage as often as I can and work on some new material.
BP: Keep on progressing. Love it. I can’t wait to see your new stuff.
DM: Yes. It’s awesome.
I would like to thank Doug Mutai for getting out of bed to sit down and chat comedy with me for over an hour. If you get a chance to catch one of his shows, please do. He’s, well, awesome.