THE Olympics may be over, but for a group of elite comedians the games have just begun and one of North Vancouver's own is a top contender.
Jane Stanton won the first round and also came out on top in the semi-finals of Patrick Maliha's People's Champ of Comedy. The contest continues until Aug. 25, with a top prize of $20,000.
"I've done well in quite a few (comedy) competitions, and then done not so well," says Stanton, who likens the unpredictable competition experience to doing an acting audition. "Do an awesome job, and walk away and let it go."
Stanton grew up in North Vancouver and studied theatre at Capilano College. She was voted the class clown in high school and spent family dinners cracking up her three siblings and parents. But she didn't start to do standup until she was 30 years old and an acting teacher asked her to do something that scared her.
"I did a couple of shows, and it was OK then I took some time off," says Stanton.
She impulsively said yes to a request that she appear in a comedy competition where - terrifyingly - audience members can boo the performer off the stage.
"I did it and the three people that went on stage before me had done stand-up for a while and they got booed off, and I was like, oh my God what did I get myself into?"
But her performance went so well that she tied for first place. Stanton's been hooked ever since. Even though the inevitable bad shows "Suck, and you question why am I doing this?" Stanton has stuck with it to become a seasoned performer.
"Those make you a better comedian, the really hard shows," she says.
Growing up her comedy idols included Richard Pryor, Dennis Miller and Eddie Murphy, with a healthy dose of British comedy like Fawlty Towers.
"I remember watching Eddie Murphy Raw (when I was 10), and thinking I don't know what they're talking about, but it's funny."
Describing herself as equal parts confident actress and awkward adolescent, Stanton finds hilarity in her own bumblings through everyday life.
"Stupid things happen to me." For instance?
"I am an idiot if I like a guy . . . I act like you don't think I would act, I don't have game, I'm like that person who would walk into a wall."
Naturally Stanton has mined her adolescence for material, at times reading from her teenage diary at a comedy event she hosts every Wednesday at Corduroy restaurant in Kitsilano.
She has just returned from a stint in London (where, Stanton says, she had to change the endings of one of her jokes, because no one knows what poutine is). She's currently working on a pitch for a TV show.
Stanton continues her grueling People's Champ contest performance schedule next week at various Vancouver locations.
The following is a list of some of her upcoming shows: Monday, Aug. 20 at the Kingston Taphouse and Grille; Tuesday, Aug. 21 at The Corner Pub; Wednesday Aug. 22 at The Kozmik Zoo; Thursday Aug. 23 at the Sin Bin Sports Bar; Friday, Aug. 24 at the Edgewater Casino; and Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Rio Theatre.
All shows start at 9 p.m.