Comedian and actor, Eric Johnston, has had one hell of a run - and he has zero intentions of stopping anytime soon. In fact, Eric is taping a stand-up special in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario on May 12th titled "No Bull". I recently was lucky enough to catch up with him to chat about his journey, thoughts on today's comedy scene and the exciting special.
Check it out below:
What and when was the exact moment that you knew you wanted to pursue a career in stand-up?
I have been an entertainer my entire life. My father was a Canadian Professional wrestler (Bullwhip Johnson) and watching him perform nightly made me realize at a young age that I wanted to entertain some way, some how! At age 6 I started with dance and musical theatre and transitioned into theatre acting and film and television shortly after. Technically my first stand up comedy set was when I was 7 years old. I performed impressions at the St. Francis Xavier Elementary School talent show and came in second place! 13 years later in 2010 I was in Vancouver attending the Vancouver Film School for Acting for Film and Television. Some class mates of mine told me they were going to check out an open mic comedy night around the corner from our school and I jumped at the opportunity to go. While watching the show I was sitting in the back of the room and my leg was shaking. I was watching the comics perform on the stage and I knew that this is what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I signed up to perform the next week and I haven’t stopped since. 8 years, thousands of sets, thousands of audience members and thousands of kilometres travelled and I’ve loved every minute of it.
How do you feel about the state of comedy in today’s day and age?
Comedy is experiencing a boom in popularity with the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Youtube but at the same time it’s experiencing a boom in controversy. The definition of funny and what’s acceptable to say is changing daily. Comics are getting in trouble for jokes and their actions both on and off stage. Thankfully and fortunately I have been virtually unaffected by these changes. I’ve always worked “clean” on stage. “Clean” doesn’t mean I’m a “Christian” comic or anything like that. I still swear on stage (pretty often actually) but I’ve always stayed away from anything too controversial like sex, drugs or anything like that which is considered working “blue” or “nasty”. I’m a story teller. I just tell stories about my life. My friends, my family, my relationships, my neighbourhood, MY story. No one watching can say that I was saying anything not truthful or attacking any group because it’s MY story. I can attack myself, I’m allowed!
Why should people come out to “No Bull”?
People should come out to “No Bull” because it’s an accumulation of over 20 years of hard work. I’ve traveled close to 100,000 kilometres practicing my craft (8,000 in 2018 so far!) I’ve worked for countless hours both on and off stage creating this hour of material I’ll be performing at the Zoetic. This Taping is more of a celebration than anything. I want to celebrate in my home town with all my friends, family and fans! I am proof that if you set your mind to something and work hard you can make anything happen. With comedy there is no finish line. Just little victories, but you never stop running. I don’t know where this special will go. It could end up on Netflix (here’s hoping) but for me it’s a little moment in time that I can capture and share with you all. And that’s NO BULL!
If you're in the GTA, you're not going to want to miss this show so be sure to grab tickets here before it's too late!