Ryan Beil - Vancouver's Funniest ManWednesday, January 16, 2013
While I was born in Argentina, because I have lived in Vancouver since 1975, my porteño nostalgia is diminished. As a Canadian citizen I feel sort of Canadian. But since, besides Argentina, I also lived in Mexico and in Texas (an ancillary subtext of the United States of America) I feel other “things”.
Humor (and the Canadian version humour) is supposed to be pretty well universal I believe that humour can be local, national and subject to race perception.
As an example Mexican humour often includes making fun of a person’s flaws. A fat person will be called gordo. My Yorkshire friend Andrew Taylor (he lives in Guadalajara) back in our days at the University of the Americas, in the outskirts of Mexico City was called Helena (Helen!). It was a joke that played on the words el enano or dwarf.
My years in Mexico did not serve me well last night at the opening to Neil Wedman’s opening at the Charles H. Scott Gallery on Granville Island’s Emily Carr University of Art & Design.
I saw many people of Vancouver’s stratospheric art scene to whom I am a polar bear in a white in an arctic white out. There were also people I had last seen 20 or more years ago. One of them was saxophonist Dennis Mills who played for an angry avant-garde band in the early 80s called AKA. He was accompanied by his lovely partner who always had premature white hair which she always wore very short. But I put my Mexican humour foot in my mouth by saying that I had always seen her as Might Mouse’s girlfriend, Pearl Pureheart who had ears that were nicely upturned. I made it all worse by pointing to the lovely woman’s ears that in fact are upturned. I left in a hurry not knowing how to apologize.
My Latin American roots prevent me from completely understanding that people might pay to get into a bar where someone will be making Surrey, racial and sexist jokes. The concept of going into such a place to laugh is alien to me. Also alien to me (as much as that North American institution the roast/retirement bash) is the humiliation some of these comics go through when nobody laughs.
What this means is that I am no expert on North American humour, and in particular the tamer (my personal and most amateur perception) Canadian variety.
So my assertion that the funniest man in Vancouver, one I would pay to get in to listen to him talk, is Ryan Beil has to be taken with caution.