Comedian Arthur Simeon is the kind of voice we need more of. Born and raised in Uganda but now based out of Toronto, he brings his life experience as an immigrant and a black man in Canada to his comedy, while still managing to keep such a heavy topic light and funny.

His comedy album, The Blackest Panther, is a riff on the fact that Wakanda from the Black Panther film and comic book series is allegedly located in Uganda. I had the privilege of seeing him perform at Rick Mercer’s Gala in 2017 where he was one of the highlight performances of the evening, so I was eager to speak to him before his appearance at Just for Laughs’ 2021 hybrid festival.

Like most entertainers, Simeon’s ability to perform was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. He admits that he’s done everything but standup since it started.

“It’s been a lot of downtime, I guess. I mean I worked a little bit; I did some writing for myself and for others. I grow plants, or tried to, just to keep my mind off of things, I read a lot, caught up on a lot of reading that over that over the years I’ve sort of let slip, but I’d run out of excuses. I was reading fiction for a long time but I was convinced try non-fiction. I went back to a book I read as a teenager called The River Between which is a classic African novel that I hadn’t read in a very long time and it still holds up, is still wonderful… A bit of fiction, a bit of non-fiction.”

With the rise in awareness of racism in Canada during the pandemic, I wanted to know about Simeon’s experiences with racism as a black man and a Ugandan immigrant with an accent. Segwaying into the subject, I mentioned that Canadians like to think they’re immune to the racism problem. Simeon immediately shut that notion down.

“Obviously, being a performer and an entertainer and traveling in so many different places I have first-hand experience with racists.”

In terms of whether racism is more of a rural thing, Simeon feels that it’s a problem no matter where he is.

“I don’t like the rural idea of people because it feels like it’s a lot of white people trying to distance themselves from their own actions. When they say ‘oh it’s the country bumpkins’ it’s like no, it’s not. I’ve been threatened, and slurs have been used in the middle of two major cities in Canada, that being Toronto and Montreal, right in the middle of the city. I’ve also been threatened in rural Canada, so it’s both. I don’t think it’s a geographical thing, I think it’s a mentality thing, it’s an ideology thing. I feel like it’s something everyone has to reckon with and everyone has to wrestle with whatever bias they have especially if it manifests itself in hateful language or action that affects other people.”

Though Montreal has been the location of a lot of Simeon’s professional success, his favorite part of Canada is the Maritimes. He finds it picturesque and loves St. John’s Newfoundland, but quips that perhaps it’s because he doesn’t live there.

While I feel that stories and comedy like Simeon’s are especially important in this social environment of heightened racial tensions and the Black Lives Matter Movement, he doesn’t necessarily see it that way.

“I think it’s being received a little more openly because the conclusions we’ve had about racism have opened up from just the hate. I think everyone focuses on just the hate and rightfully so because as we’ve seen, a man can just plow through a family just going for a walk and purely just based on hate, so I like that we address the hate a little bit, but the hate is sort of just the culmination of a lot of other things that we’re doing: the lack of education, the lack of empathy, the lack of real understanding between people who are not the same as you, and so the conclusion we’ve had in the last few months have opened up about everyone’s individual responsibility.”

He calls on everyone to stop throwing blame around, the way some claim racism is just a problem among the ignorant or rural populations. He feels that every single person contributes to that hate that culminates in violence that kills people.

In terms of his plans for his Just for Laughs appearance this year, he plans to be more purposeful in his comedy with a focus on entertaining rather than sounding preachy.

“I think after this year and after all the stress, I think there will be genuine purpose to reach out to as many people as I can and try to entertain.”

Arthur Simeon will be appearing as Just for Laughs 2021 as part of an all-star lineup for Comedy Night In Canada which takes place tonight, July 28th, at 10pm at Club Soda, 1225 Boul. St-Laurent, and will be available free online as of July 30 at

Dear sir,

I am writing this letter as a former customer of your establishment. I regret to inform you that you will no longer be receiving my patronage or the patronage of anyone with any sense whatsoever who reads this letter, which I am also sending to all local newspapers and several national newspapers.

I am not one to complain regularly, and I’m usually a very tolerant person, but the experience I had with your store was just too much for me to ignore. It was unpleasant and offensive to me, and I’d like to go over all the details of the experience so you may realize the full extent of its egregiousness.

First of all, the colour of your store is gaudy and I don’t approve of it. Did the person(s) who designed the look of the building buy the cheapest colour of paint they could find, or were they just colour blind? It is an eyesore. Also, the smell inside the store is sickening and too strong. The product you use to keep your aisles so clean is bothersome. I have a very sensitive nose, and my wife, before she left me, said once that the smell gave her a headache. And while on the topic of clean floors, I feel that you keep your floors too clean. The glare of the lights reflected back off of it causes discomfort to my eyes.

As for the products you sell, there are simply too many. I do not have the time or patience to sift through all of these items, nor do I agree that I should have to choose from among several varieties of the item I’m looking to purchase. I have enough to think about without having to spend hours deciding between different brands and styles of things. I am a busy man.

The music you play in your store is inexcusable and vulgar. Maybe these loud and lewd songs are all right for a dancing club where people are using cocaine and buying condoms in the dirty bathroom stalls, but this is supposed to be a family-friendly establishment. I can’t even fathom the amount of damage done to a poor innocent child when he or she is browsing through your toy section (which I also have several major issues with) and the latest rock and roll track from Bob Dylan or Mike Jagger and the Rolled Stones starts playing. Why not some soothing whale song instead? Or better yet, no music at all. My wife and I used to listen to music on compact discs and then she left me for another man.

And then there are your employees. Wow, what a sorry lot these people are. Where did you round them up from? Did you lift up the closest rock and hire whatever scurried out? After knocking over and smashing several expensive items, an employee of yours came rushing over to clean it up, as if he had been just waiting for me to break them. As if just because I had broken some items a few days before, and once before that, I was going to do it again. And his name tag said “Chip.” Chip! What kind of name is that? That’s not even a real name! Don’t you have any kind of screening process for the people you hire? As he was cleaning it up, this “Chip” had the audacity to look me right in the eye and smile. He told me that it was “okay” and “no big deal” and “not to worry.” Like I’m some kind of child.

After shoving him a few time and demanding to talk to his manager, I was directed to a man I was told was the assistant store manager, who had a moustache. A moustache! Do you realize what kind of men have moustaches? Degenerate men, that’s what kind. Sleazy pervert men. The kind of men that other men’s wives run off with.

This is when things got truly unacceptable. After some more shoving and yelling, “Chip” and this brute, whose name I never got because I was too blinded by his deplorable moustache, began trying to bribe me. They said they were sorry and that they were “sure we could work this all out” and offered me a free gift card if I’d just stop “making a scene.” That we could talk about this rationally, like “calm, reasonable adults.” They didn’t seem to be very reasonable to me. Acting like they could just pay me off with a gift card. Like I’m some kind of whore. A whore like my wife who ran off with one of the employees of this store.

The whole ordeal ended after an entire shelf got knocked over and fell on a little girl. Ambulances and police were called and I figured it would be best to get out of there. There was no use in trying to deal with these people. It would be much more productive to skip town and contact the source of all this. And that’s why I’m writing this letter to you.

As you can see, I have had nothing but bad experiences with this location in your chain of stores. I will never buy anything from your company again, nor had I ever before. I expect a formal, written apology from you and from everyone else involved. No, I demand it. And I also demand that you tell me which of your employees is the one who stole my wife. Was it Chip? Was it that moustached goon? Was it you, you son of a bitch?! I fucking know it was one of you!


Photo by KennyThong Candid via Flickr


Star Trek. Seeing those words flash across a backdrop of stars used to light up my face. I loved watching Star Trek, the original version on the CBC. The tapes were out of whack, the colour was usually off, but I was in nerd heaven.

I was just kid watching those shows on Sunday morning, I was outcast loner, an unappreciated young man that was looking for escape out in the stars. There were very few male role models I could relate to, but one of them was Mr. Spock. I wanted to join his culture of Vulcan logic.

Except I added a cult-type twist, I called it Logica. I would have everyone dress like we were going through a Kolinahr ritual, which meant the total purging of one’s emotions. Meaning anyone who joined the group had to wear a white bathrobe. Think of it as comparable with mainstream eastern religious philosophies:closely resembling the loss of self but subject to a methodically applied logic to all situations.

Star Trek, when you think about it, is a religion. Set in a perfect society, virtuous and good, with a social order based on equality where all the nations of the world come together and eventually establish the Federation.

After seeing every subsequent show since The Next Generation, I turned to reading stuff about Star Trek online, but lately, I realize, I’ve become a bit bitter as a Star Trek fan; I feel that while Paramount has been way too focused on catering to mass audiences in an attempt to make more money than even the Grand Nagus. I’m also still a little ticked off that JJ Abrams destroyed Vulcan without my consent. Dude, that was my homeland!


And now Abrams, the man who has been entrusted with the franchise, turns his back on us Vulcans and Earth and even the Klingons! He’s going to make …dare I write it.. a Star Wars movie and he’s going to do it in a galaxy, far, far away!

But seriously Abrams, if you’re going to do Star Wars, don’t come crawling back here to Star Trek apologizing with Wookie fur all over your clothing. Everyone knows that Star Wars fans and Star Trek fans don’t mix, but since he is a catch all director, let’s just get over with and call the next movie Trek Wars (written by William Shatner). We all get it, you want the franchises to meet, in a  epic movie that will vaporize the summer movie competition.Trek Computer

I divert. Anyways, to celebrate the release of the latest movie, which by the way (Spoiler Alert!) if you haven’t seen, I plan to spoil it for you and all of its seceding prequels, I’m going to check out the word Star Trek in this here boxy search engine.  Ahem…Computer, analyze data keyword Star Trek…Star Trek - DS9 - 4x06 - Rejoined

 Wired/The Lost LGBT Crewman

One of the big questions surrounding the new Star Trek movie was whether or not it would have an LGBT crewman?  Will it or will it not happen? It’s not like it hasn’t happened on other sci-fi shows?

Well I don’t think I spotted anyone who was particularly gay on the enterprise, except I knew that Zachery Quinto (Spock) is gay, but his character digs, oddly enough, Uhura for some reason. During the new movie it seemed most of the crew members were too busy running in panic somewhere on the ship or falling out into deep space to focus on their sexuality. And I do recall thinking that one of the crew members looked like a man wearing a dress, but I’m not quite certain.

An LGBT crewman was suppose to be in Star Trek: Into Darkness…but where? Even shows like Battlestar Galactica have had LGBT characters, like Geata.

It strange that Star Trek, which claims to be on the cutting edge of progressive values, has not had one gay character on the Enterprise, while it has, specifically on TNG, had many episodes dedicated to issues of sexuality and gender. It’s not like there are that many religious people who watch the show and may be offended. And how could there be, after the time Deanna Troi dealt a blow to evangelicals when she immaculately conceived a star child?

Well, this wired post has really opened my eyes.

Star Trek on Etsy

Get your Federation Emblem pasties ready! If you don’t have any, they’re on sale. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting excited by the thought of a yeomen burlesque troupe somewhere in our galaxy. Star Trek fanatics will usually treat memorabilia as relics, but new and innovative ways people are using SCI FI lore in their products is fascinating.


The Trek Collective

What’s the difference between a shuttle on a constellation class starship and one on a Galaxy class starship? Find out through blueprints available for all the ships. You can also get quite a few models through the Trek Collective site.

The Problem with Khan and Star Trek/Feministe

Whatever happened to Spanish/Mexican Khan is a good question. We all know that Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan Noonien Singh…but are there any Mexican-type male actors that could have been just as good for the character that was originally played by mexican actor Ricardo Montalbán and supposed to be from India? The strange casting on this one will be debated, but I think that the Into Darkness blog on gave a really superb explanation.

This post brings up a fascinating points about how Star Trek inserts persons of different nationalities in roles, like John Cho as Sulu. It also goes onto a critique on the dominance of white male captains in Star Trek and poses a real challenge to the standard ways of thinking about Star Trek as a liberal TV show.


Star Trek Fan Fiction

Star Trek Fan Fiction is a forum where zealots can freely exchange fictional writing. I think it will not only make you an excellent Star Trek writer but might, in turn, expose your outlandish Star Trek writing to the world. And I have so say, there is a a lot, and I mean a lot of freaky nerd fiction here.

And  just a note: it wasn’t always like this. When the internet started picking up steam, Paramount use to actually threaten fan sites with class action lawsuits, oh how far we’ve come.


Star Trek Fan Made Episodes

There are countless episodes of fan-made Star Trek out there. Star Trek Fan Film News will keep you up to date on all the new episodes you can find on YouTube and elsewhere on the web that will fulfill your Star Trek fix.

I found a locked briefcase. It was just sitting there in the parking lot of a closed-down Arby’s. There was no one around, but I didn’t take it right away. I didn’t even approach it at first. It could have been a trap. What kind of trap, I don’t know, but whoever was devious enough to know I’d been coming every day to lay a single rose on the doorstep of the ghastly shell of this empty Arby’s would likely be devious enough to know my proclivity for stealing office supplies. It was almost too perfect. I don’t know exactly how long I studied the briefcase from afar, but judging by how far the Arby’s shadow had moved across the lines of the parking spaces, I’d say about three hours. Eventually good sense overcame me, and I ascertained that the potential risks involved in snatching it up were far outweighed by the potential boons.

It was heavy. Heavier than I’d expected. As I quickly vacated the lot, eyes darting, my mind reeled with the possibilities that it could contain. Nazi gold? Bricks of heroin? Illuminati mixed tapes? Maybe it was full of Fabergé eggs, and was just a really heavy briefcase? Whatever was contained within it, I had to get it safely home before I could attempt to open it. But first, and more importantly, I had to go across town to get some Beef n Cheddars from the Arby’s that wasn’t closed down. Yet.

Once I was home, and my craving for processed deli meat and cheese sauce was sated, I set about the arduous task of trying to open up the locked briefcase. At first I made the foolish assumption that it would be easy, no more effort than pulling open a Jr Deluxe to fill it with Horsey Sauce. Oh, how wrong I was. It turned out to be darned near as difficult as straightening out a curly fry. I tried everything I could think of. Jimmying it with a flat head screwdriver didn’t work. Neither did jimmying it with a Philips head screwdriver. I thought for sure jimmying it with a Robertson screwdriver would do the trick, but it remained as unyielding as trying to order a Chocolate Molten Lava Cake after the conclusion of its limited-time run.

I stepped things up. I threw it against the walls, I hit it repeatedly with a hammer, I ran it under hot water, I tried cutting it with those scissors that cut through cans and boots on TV. Nothing. It became an integral part of my life. I clutched it tight to me when I slept, I practiced reading lines with it from the play I was auditioning for (the director said I wasn’t Biff Loman material, but he admired my intensity), it talked me through a particularly bad acid trip. But no matter what I did, it would not part its halves and reveal to me the crispy breaded secret contents of its Cravin’ Chicken Sandwich.

After a few days I began to realize that the people around me were part of something larger. Something sinister. I still didn’t know what was in this briefcase, but whatever it was, it was important. There were people out there who didn’t want me to have it. When I walked down the street I was tailed closer than Bronco Berry Sauce on a Jalapeño Bite. My phone conversations were being monitored, I know it, and my bed was bugged. The heat was on, and things were spicier than a fresh-made Arby-Q®.

Then, in a flash of clarity as eye-opening as an egg and cheese croissant on a groggy Monday morning, I had an epiphany. I knew how to open the briefcase. It was so simple. What was the only thing as strong as this mighty locked briefcase? Another locked briefcase.

I stood over the locked briefcase for the last time. I held in my hands a new locked briefcase I’d bought from the Briefcasery. This was it. The moment that this entire ordeal was building to. I swung it down, and there was a loud crack when the two briefcases connected. Then, with an almost imperceptible creak, the briefcase I’d been trying so desperately to open opened. Ever so slightly. I seized it, and held it close to my face. My entire body was trembling. I pulled the lid open, and for a second my heart sank. There was nothing. Then, suddenly, cheese sauce. It sprayed out of the depths of the case, filled my mouth, my stomach, my lungs. Warm, thick cheese sauce washed over me and began to fill up my apartment, the world. I blacked out.

I don’t know how long I was out, but I’m okay now. The doctors here are quite nice, and come talk to me a couple of times a day. They told me there never was a briefcase, that it was a manifestation of trauma due to a catastrophic loss that I suffered and was unable to healthily cope with. I think that’s nuts. I’m not supposed to say that things are “nuts” around here though. They told me I have to stay here a while, which is probably a good thing, because my apartment is filled with cheese sauce.  They also told me that if I’m really good, maybe one day they’ll have one of the aides go out and get me some Arby’s for lunch.


Photo by Johnny Scott

I have, thus far, very much enjoyed the privacy of my own home. I am single, without roommates and the cat and I co-exist with – in a “you don’t pay/you don’t say” kinda way. This affords me the freedom to walk around in various states of un-shaven, un-coiffed, un-bathed, un-done un-glory with no-one to see it. Or rather, it did.

I remember watching The Jetsons thinking, “How cool is that? George calls Jane and she can see him. That’s gonna really happen in the future.” As a kid, I was very stupid – I also street-luged without a helmet. If I knew then what I know now I’d have been more careful about courting the danger of both head injury and technology. I can avoid street-luging, but I fear, in a 1984/Brave New World kind of way, video calling as with Skype and GoogleChat will completely replace telephones that have thus far allowed us to be on the toilet or naked or not at all where we say we are or all of these. I am so completely tech-tarded that I had to have an intern show me how to download a movie (and then I had to call him again to tell me where it had gone). I only recently got a computer with a built-in camera. And while I am sure I should be most afraid of the Big Brother is Watching aspect, I am more afraid of Big Brother watching me digging for emeralds!

As seen on Star Trek, Star Wars, Buck Rogers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman and, of course, The Jetsons – all very reliable sources of future technology – the video simply turns itself on, not giving me the chance to cover up the ProActiv Solution “before” picture that is my morning face. George had to hide behind the sofa, and he was used to the video phone, for Pete’s sake!

I work from home, my business attire is Superman Underoos or a onesie (think newborn baby outfit fit for an adult) – really, not what one would wear while negotiating an international contract face-to-face. Jane, STOP THIS CRAZY THING! I cannot be seen like this! I am the girl who wakes up before her “overnight guests” to make sure they wake up to the same face they went to sleep with. I break out the curling iron to go to the grocery store. I put on my contacts to sign for FedEx packages. Home is the one place in this city where noone will look at me with that doesn’t-she-have-a-mirror? face that apparently comes standard with a woman’s metro pass.

Technological avances prove, time and again, Foxy’s Self-Serving Paraphrasing of Newton’s Third Law: for every great positive use there is an equally great negative use. Visual technology can be awesome- breast and colon cancer scans, Xbox360 Kinect, Kermit riding a bike in The Muppet Movie:

Unfortunately, it has also been used to propagate horrific sights, like military torture or the Liza Minelli-David Gest wedding kiss (click and grab yer barf bag @ 30 secs).

And while I love that I can see my mom more often, she can’t even figure out how to end a video call (in her defense, the red phone icon does require the skill of a person who is trained in both the colour red and what a phone looks like*). My luck she’ll forget to turn it off and wind up uploading some sort of weird video to my Facebook page where she’s knitting while dressed like Ke$ha.

* As well as being a genius, Foxy’s mom is trained to identify all three primary colours, as well as phone icons from the 1950s to today. It should also be mentioned that the Ke$ha scenario is very possible as she is a world-class knitter and they share a strange affinity for Jack Daniels.

Around Grammy time, I am reminded of two young upstarts who, being moderately attractive but wholly lacking in talent, were ultimately humiliated and ostracised. I’m speaking, of course, of Milli Vanilli. Over 20 years later, they are still regarded as the epitome of raw talentlessness and having been stripped of their Grammys. And over 20 years later, Grammys and the like are still being bestowed upon the attractive and talentless who enter the studio with the voice of Rosie O’Donnell or Chris Tucker and come out sounding like Jennifer Hudson or Otis Redding or Roger bloody Daltry.

Being as it’s also Oscar time, the acting equivalent to this would be Andie MacDowell in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, a pretty face moving her mouth to the voice of Glenn Close. Presumably this is because that southern accent of hers wouldn’t have matched the upper-class, noble, Englishwoman she was chosen to play. Honestly, who would you rather look at for 2 hours?

And from the same movies but having little to do with my point:

I gave up on Oscar when Gwyneth Paltrow won for Shakespeare in Love. As endearing a character as she may be, she maintains that same look in every film- the look of trying to suppress the fear that someone will finally crawl out from one of Harvey Weinstein’s chins and yell, “YOU SUCK” and she’ll be forced to teach high school drama in a part of Brooklyn without an American Apparel or a bar serving PBR in a can for 7 bucks (yes, there are parts of Brooklyn like that!).

The 90s were a shameful era for the Oscars, not the least of which was evidenced by the win of the sulking vanilla jell-o pudding pop that is Ms. Paltrow. Interestingly, most actors who Milli Vanilli-ed their win or nomination just disappeared into the straight-to-DVD world of obscurity and in-flight entertainment.

Some learned from their shame and some just never came back again. Like Jennifer Tilly who parlayed her losing the 1994 nomination for Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway into quite a lucrative career as a professional poker player. This is what I’ve dubbed the “close-call latent admission of talentlessness”. To put this in perspective, imagine Keanu being nominated for his work in Much Ado About Nothing, or his modern-day counterpart, Luke Wilson.

Others went away for a while and came back to retroactively deserve their win. Marisa Tomei’s 1992 win for playing Fran Drescher was cemented by roles in such films as The Wild Thornberrys Movie, Only You and A Brother’s Kiss. So, until the 2000s, you would only have seen her on Nickelodeon, Lifetime or Moosejaw local TV at 4am.

And still others remain an anomaly: Cuba Gooding Jr’s win in 1996… well, besides unleashing a catch phrase with a shelf-life second only to whatchutalkinboutwillis, what about that performance was Oscar worthy? Before you answer, let me remind you that his co-nominees were:

William H. Macy Fargo; Armin Mueller-Stahl (who, besides being an amazing actor is also named Aaahr-min Moo-lahr-Shtaaal) Shine; Edward Norton Primal Fear; James Woods’s face Ghosts of Mississippi

Good thing he made such a great awards speech because it was the last time that many people wanted to watch him do anything having to do with acting. And lest you think I’m being too harsh, I give you… the trailers:
Rat Race
Boat Trip
Snow Dogs

And the final Oscars atrocity of the 90s- Angelina Jolie for Best Supporting Actress without a Supporting Undergarment Eating a Cherry in Girl, Interrupted. If you saw this movie you were either an angsty teenage girl or a dude dating an angsty teenage girl hoping when she decided to get even with her parents she’d do it by having sex with you; you’d also know that Brittany Murphy was robbed. Probably because she was wearing a bra… and Angelina Jolie wasn’t.

The Academy Awards may be a farce of a popularity contest, but not watching has never stopped me from entering an Oscar pool I enter sports pools too without being able to tell my sack from my hat-trick. Here’s the Oscars secret: only really, really pretty women playing ugly women and really, really ugly men playing really, really ugly and intense men, ever win these things. The nineties were an anomaly (The Academy was probably being aggressively apathetic at a Pearl Jam concert or something).

So find an Oscar pool between now and Sunday- without seeing any of the movies, you still have a better chance of winning than the Ugliest Actress in a Leading Role.

I’m Tania Fox and as the only winner of the Kermie Award, I believe it is the last award based solely on merit.