Brent vs. the bikes

Corner Gas star tells us about experiences from early in his career

Comedian Brent Butt said he considers himself “crazy lucky” to have had a successful career in TV with his shows Corner Gas and Hiccups.
Comedian Brent Butt said he considers himself “crazy lucky” to have had a successful career in TV with his shows Corner Gas and Hiccups.

When you’re on the comedy circuit, you must be wary of bikers with knives.

That’s the cautionary tale Corner Gas comedian Brent Butt tells me about one of his scarier experiences back when he was playing gigs in the 80s.

“Me and a bunch of other comics played at a biker bar in the woods outside of Hamilton and at one point, a guy pulled a knife out of a sheath he had,” Butt said.

Experiences like that motivated Butt to plan a quick escape route.

“We would park the car near the back door and in case things went sideways at the gig, we could exit quickly through the kitchen and avoid the front entrance,” he said.

Lucky for Butt, his comedic career has been extremely successful. He created and starred in the CTV hit series Corner Gas for five years and is now starring in another Canadian comedy series entitled Hiccups.

Suffice to say, he won’t have to have an escape route for any of his upcoming tour dates.

“It’s a week-long run that we’re doing with six shows on six nights in six cities, including Chatham, Burlington and Markham,” he said.

While some comics may have to get themselves in a lively mood before going on stage, Butt said the only thing on his mind before a performance is his stomach.

“I just want to have a snack. Usually halfway through the show I start thinking about having a snack,” he said. “I’m thinking about having a snack right now.”

Celebrating his 25th anniversary of doing stand-up next month, Butt said he’s “crazy lucky” to be doing what he’s always wanted to do.

“Stand-up is the only realistic thing I’ve ever wanted to do since I was a kid, other than play in the NHL,” he said. “Those early days touring the country, it really seemed like the realization of the dream — it was a very romantic time.”

Throughout his career, Butt has claimed several surreal moments, like his first performance at the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and even making royalty laugh.

“Performing for the Queen of England was pretty surreal. I’m on stage and thinking to myself, staring at her and Prince Philip, ‘How did this happen?’”

Brent Butt performs at the Grand Theatre on Friday at 8 p.m.

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