David Heti’s been in Montreal honing the craft of the laugh since way back. I remember first meeting him at Grumpy’s open mics back in the day.

His first comedy album was independently released last year, but got picked up and re-released by StandUp! Records. He’s best known for his curious sense of humour that leaves nothing untouched, he probably has a joke about touching you.

Jesse Chase: How was it coming up as a comedian in Montreal?

David Heti: I think the comedy community is really open here because there’s not a lot at stake. But, there’s a lot of energy and potential because of Just For Laughs— although, it’s not as competitive as Toronto. The people here are here for the good reasons and I’ve never had a three minute set, or had to pay like in LA or New York.

Ok, I’m not going to avoid it. I can get the Yoko Ono reference in one of your jokes, but the John Coltrane/Thelonious Monk slavery bit was pretty gratuitous. How does your black audience receive your use of the “N” word?

It goes over great and better in a room with people of colour in it. And there’s a difference between a place like New York where there’s tons of black people and places like Portland where it’s mostly white. I mean I think someone could tell a good holocaust joke if they’re not Jewish. I can make a poem or something about something I never experienced.

You can make any joke with your friends right. They can trust you, they know where you’re coming from and so if I think that an audience knows you’re a good person they’ll allow you to go to more touchy places.

Chris Rock said when it comes to white people using the “N” word it’s basically no.

I’m surprised he said that. What’s Chris Rock not allowed to say? Everything’s partially objective, everything’s partially subjective…

Author’s Note: Sometimes, there is a “pass” granted to a performer who uses taboo terms in his bit. In my opinion, as a man of colour, David Heti doesn’t get that pass. He uses the “N” word to irresponsibly and childishly segue into his joke about owning John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk as slaves. It’s not cool, or funny. In his defense Heti jokingly says he can say that because “he’s a comedian and he doesn’t own anything,” but I feel it’s more an issue of white privilege.

It’s cool you’re teaching comedy at McGill. How did that come about?

A friend of mine was working in the writing program said she knew someone who could do a course, so I wrote up a course and they let me teach it.

Personally, I understand a joke is a joke and I know how to take a joke, but sometimes I find some people are trying to be funny and it’s uncalled for. Like sometime I say to myself, that wasn’t even funny. Do you ever experience that?

One time I got off stage and this guy was really like, man, that was great, I have some jokes for you. And I say sure.  And then he went on a tirade of anti-semitic jokes. I thought okay, well, why are you telling me these jokes?  And he said well that’s what you do. I said that is not what I do, you don’t understand what’s going on, you’re telling me these things and it’s highly offensive and inappropriate. That guy was just incredibly ignorant, I don’t think it was ill-willed. If I see someone on stage and hear them say something hateful, they’re telling the joke for the wrong reasons.

David’s album can be found at davidheti.com

You can sign up for his course via the McGill Website

We can all agree that late night talk shows are very popular in the U.S. and in Canada as well. For decades, there have been numerous talk shows hosted by different television personalities talking about current events in a humorous way and interviewing different guests.

Personally, I indulge in a little late-night binging myself every now and then, right before I go to bed. I guess it’s the combination of comedy and celebrity interviews that keeps me relaxed. But not all shows are alike.

This past Wednesday, I purposely stayed up to catch David Letterman’s final Late Show after being on the air for 33 years. Although the show has had high ratings throughout the years, Letterman has never seemed to interest me. Unless he has a guest on his show that I actually like, I’ll tune in; otherwise, I don’t find him to be all that funny. I’m more of a Tonight Show fan (since Leno, not Carson) and the current host, Jimmy Fallon, is one of my favorite comedians.

Fans of the show will miss David Letterman, his monologues, and the sound of breaking glass every time he would throw pencils and index cards (ok, I’ll admit that was pretty funny). But what viewers will miss the most is Dave’s Top Ten List, a regular segment of the show that consists of humorous topics. During Wednesday’s program, a star-studded cast, including Barbara Walters, Jerry Seinfeld and Steve Martin, took part in presenting the Final Top Ten things celebrities always wanted to say to the host (again, quite funny). 

So as Letterman says goodbye, America will be saying hello to Stephen Colbert, as he will be the one taking over the Late Show this fall. Once again, I don’t think I’ll be watching the show even with Colbert as host but I will tune in to the first few shows just to see what he will bring to the table.

However, I would’ve liked to have seen a new face enter the prime time slot. Perhaps a daytime TV host or a female comedian. Did CBS make a wise choice in picking Colbert? Or should they have gone with someone else?