Despite 26 years of experience, Brent Butt still waits in the wings before a comedy show not knowing what will happen on stage.
"The reason it never gets tiring is every time you get hundreds of people into a room together, hundreds of individuals combine to create one unique animal," said the Tisdale, Sask. comedian in a phone interview with the Source.
"You don't know what that animal wants, you don't know what it likes. You don't know what it hates and your job while you're on stage is to figure that out and start shaping the show to what's going to work with that particular animal.
"It's different every night. A joke that killed the night before can fall flat on the next night."
It's that uncertainty that drives the comedian, actor, writer and TV show creator when he's performing stand-up like he will be on Feb. 13 at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium on his Almost a Movie Star tour.
What Butt loves about stand-up is what he calls the perfect combination of artistry and craftsmanship.
"There's art to it; there's ethereal intangible art to it and then there's this tangible craftsmanship that goes on and it really puts you in the moment and it's my favourite thing in the world to do," he said.
The Almost a Movie Start tour has Butt touring the country for the month of February and it's the longest comedy tour he's done since before Corner Gas, which was created and headlined by Butt, premiered in 2004.
And at that time, Butt thought Corner Gas would probably last one season.
"Historically, Canadian sitcoms don't have a long glorious track record," he said.
Six seasons and 107 episodes later, Corner Gas said goodbye and Butt created Hiccups, a sitcom that went for two seasons.
And while Butt finally had time to get back out for a prolonged comedy tour, he's also promoting the film he wrote and stars in – No Clue.
Its theatrical release set for March 17, No Clue is a comedic mystery thriller about a man, played by Butt, who is mistaken for a private investigator and stumbles into a murder mystery.
It also stars Amy Smart (Road Trip, The Butterfly Effect) and Anchorman's David Koechner.
A fan of the detective genre, Butt didn't want to write a zany, whacky comedy about a bumbling detective.
"I wanted to create a movie that was dark and gritty and true to that genre and it just happens to be funny because the main character who is trying to figure out the mystery is in over his head," he said.
"He's not capable of solving it ... He has no experience with anything of this magnitude or gravity."
Writing for Corner Gas and Hiccups was a means of telling jokes, but in No Clue, Butt said there is real danger and real stakes.
"My character is still a guy who glibly comments and makes funny jokes, but he's also a guy who's getting strangled and getting shot at," he said.
Butt takes the stage at the Auditorium on Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the TBCA box office.
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