June 27, 2012

Comedy: Ian Bagg loves his work

Ian Bagg might, perhaps, be the funniest Canadian of all-time … especially when it comes to stand-up. He’s met three Presidents of the United States (Ronald Regan, Jimmy Carter, and Bush #1); he ended up on the cutting room floor in the film Coyote Ugly; and, by his own observation, he’s “the only man to work with Judd Apatow and not become a billionaire. He’s appeared on Comedy Central and HBO, and spent the better part of two decades as a road dog performing weekend after weekend in clubs all over the world. It’s possible that you may have caught his late night appearances on Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, Carson Daly, and Jay Leno, as well. He will be in town, rocking The Improv all weekend — it would definitely be a shame to miss this show.

LEO: This isn't your first time in Louisville is it?
Ian Bagg: I've been to The Improv once before.

LEO: Did you get to see any of our town?
IB: Yeah, I saw a little bit of it. I saw the Muhammad Ali Museum, which I'll be doing again, because I love it. But I've been to Kentucky a lot ... I've played Lexington a lot.

LEO: I've lived most of my life here and never visited Keenland. Everyone says it's nice.
IB: Yeah, it is. I actually dated a girl from there a long, long time ago who knew I wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby, and she tricked me into thinking the Kentucky Derby actually took place in Lexington.

LEO: In Louisville, she could be sentenced to death for that sort of thing.
IB: I know ... right.

LEO: Do you remember your first time on stage?
IB: I remember bits and pieces of it. I remember I wrote the bullet points of my act on my hand, and I was so nervous they all sweated off.

LEO: Canada seems to have a long history in comedy. What is it about the culture up there that breeds good comedy?
IB: I don't know if we do ... or if our population is so small it just looks like we do. If we grew our population to the size of America's, we would probably have less than you guys. And we don't mind performing in front of nobody, because the population is so small.

LEO: Is it still fun being on the road?
IB: In some ways yes, and in some ways no. I got into stand-up to do stand-up ... some people get into stand-up to get to other places in their career. Not me, I'm in love with the art form of stand-up. But I'm also married now, so that can be a drag, as well.

LEO: Does the wife ever get to go with you?
IB: Yeah, but she only goes to fun gigs. She picks and chooses. She's going to Australia with me in August, but nowhere else this summer.

LEO: She's like, “Screw North Dakota ...”
IB: (laughs) Yeah ... she's never been to Omaha, Nebraska

LEO: Do you write your material or is it more improvisation?
IB: It's prepared ... it's like a plane, you should prepare for disaster. You let it go where it goes, but if you're crashing you do all of the necessary procedures to get the plane back in the air.

LEO: If you had any advice for young comedians, what would it be?
IB: Just enjoy it. Don't worry about making money in comedy, take the stress off of it. Spend time making money other places so you can enjoy the art of being a comedian. It will make you funnier, I promise.

Ian Bagg
June 28th – July 1st
The Improv
441 S. 4th St.
improvlouisville.com
$15; Times vary