It was fate that one day Scott “The Double Threat” Porteous, Frank “The Face” Russo, and Mike “Fat & Loud” Payne would come together and hit the road on an “epic” country-wide tour of Canada.
The three Canadian comedians befriended each other in recent years and that sprouted into the DIY Comedy Tour a few months ago.
“Me and Scott have known each other a while and during the pandemic he was running some online comedy courses, which is where he met Mike,” said Russo. “I’d run into Mike awhile back when I was producing shows in Toronto and so we decided to get together and do this tour.”
The first leg of the tour was in May with the trio doing shows in Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba. The second leg began Sept. 11 in Simcoe with shows set across Ontario into October, including at Ten Gallon Bar & Grill in Newmarket Oct. 2.
The three of them gravitated toward each other not because they align with their version of comedy, but actually because they don’t, said Russo.
“We’re such a variety of different comedy styles,” he said. “Scott has his split personality set up (with his character Herbert Henries), with Mike it’s more of a narrative of his life, and I’m more observational humour.”
The three of them have equally impressive resumes to lean on with Porteous having performed at The Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Russo at Laugh Out Loud Festival, and Payne having worked with Rick Mercer, Russo said he thinks the Newmarket crowd will really enjoy the show.
“One aspect of the show they should be excited to see is that Scott, well I guess it was actually Herbert, was on Canada's Got Talent,” Russo said. “We have a bit of something for everybody, so if you’re not sure if you’re going to like the show, there’s most likely something in it for you.”
Porteous’ style is described as “quick, and quirky, with a hybrid of intelligent and just plain dumb jokes,” while Russo has the “unique ability to take the mundane and drag it into the absurd,” and Payne’s comedy has been tagged as "self-deprecating virtue signalling.” Those differing styles are the big attraction, Russo thinks.
“I find it important,” he said. “Some places just like to do theme shows, I prefer the variety of it. Like I said, we’re all about having something for everybody.”
After recently starting the Ontario part of the tour, Russo said that they “haven't started hating each other yet,” and they’re excited to hit each town.
“It’s a lot safer to drive here at night than it was in the mountains! But I’m originally from Ontario, so this is all familiar for me because I started in Sudbury about 10 years ago and have been to most of these places already,” said Russo. “For me, it’s fun because I get to come back and see old friends.”
Russo said when performing in so many towns and in front of so many differing crowds, every night brings something different.
“At the start of the show, you hope you’re the funniest person on stage, but when you do comedy in Newfoundland that crowd is funnier than anybody you’ve ever met,” he said. “Some people like to try and figure out the crowd, but for me, I like to just dump my insanity onto the crowd and make them experience my universe for a little while.”
The key, Russo said, is not trying to be the funniest person in the room, but try to be the most entertaining and that’s how you win the crowd.
“When the crowd is vibing with what you’re doing, that feels amazing,” he said. “There are times you feel like you’re standing three-feet behind yourself and assessing it as you ride the wave. It’s a very cool out of body experience.”
Having never performed in Newmarket and with some family coming to the show, Russo is hoping that he gets to experience that feeling on Oct. 2.
Get tickets and learn more about the DIY Comedy Tour here.