Vancouver-based record label, 604 Records has expanded its catalogue to include comedy albums, launching with a new stand-up album from Canadian comedian Kevin Banner titled “Dreamboat”. The album was released on Friday, October 21 and is now available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and online through 604records.com.
Dreamboat is Banner’s first comedy album, and was recorded at the Comedy Mix in Vancouver over three evenings this past July. A finalist in this year’s SiriusXM’s Top Comic contest and winner of Bite TV’s “Stand Up & Bite Me” People’s Choice Award in 2011, Banner has quickly established himself as a rising star in Canadian comedy, performing with such notable comedians as Doug Stanhope, Bill Burr and Norm MacDonald.
I had the pleasure of chatting with him today about his comedy album, where his dark sense of humour stems from and what kind of drink his comedy resembles.
Jo: So was being a comedian a plan or did it just happen? How did you get into comedy?
Kevin: It wasn’t a part of the plan. Anytime you’re a funny kid, people always say you should be a comedian but I knew that meant I would have to write my own material and as a kid, I didn’t think I could do that. My real introduction to comedy was with my dad. We would watch boxing on HBO and after the match, a comedy special like George Carlin or Chris Rock would come on. I remember watching those thinking “I could never do that” because they did a lot of social commentaries.
So for a few years, people kept saying you should be a comedian and I didn’t think I could. One day, I went to see a comedy tour going through BC. I remember sitting in the crowd saying “I could probably do that!” And 6 months after that, I started doing stand-up comedy, in 2005.
Jo: You’re known for your dark sense of humour. Which I love and like you say, not everybody is into dark jokes. Where did your dark sense of humour come from?
Kevin: That came around later. I remember as a teenager, there were jokes that offended me. I don’t know what the trigger was that opened my eyes and said: “it’s just comedy so you can laugh about anything.” I do lean dark sometimes, but what’s dark to me is not for others. I don’t want to be dark or shock people for the sake of it, that’s not my goal. I think anyone can write easy jokes. I try to write a little harder because there is a certain level that I try to write and want to achieve.
Jo: You’ve traveled all across Canada performing, what is the difference from east to west?
Kevin: In the city, it’s pretty much the same for the most part. It’s when you get out into the sticks, people tend to like the raunchier stuff. If I go back and listen to tapes from a set in the middle of nowhere, you can definitely tell what material they like more. Usually the dirtier stuff.
Dreamboat promo video
Jo: I watched your promo videos – How surprised were you to get signed to 604 Records, Chad Kroeger’s Record Label? How did you feel & How many jokes instantaneously came into your mind?
Kevin: It was exciting! I met Kevvy from FakeShark, the guy in the promo video, years back when he had recorded a few friends of mine album. It just so happened he was in the crowd when I opened for Bill Burr in January. 604 Records had told him to be on the lookout for a comedian that would fit the label. So at that show, he called the label, I got called in for a meeting and everything was great and it sounded all good. Nobody is getting wealthy off their comedy album but it was a great move to be able to get it into as many hands as possible. Distribution is key.
Jo: Titled Dreamboat, the album debuted at #1 on the iTunes comedy album charts on October 21 – Where did you come up with the name?
Kevin: It means nothing which is what I wanted. Because I know a few guys who have named their album something wacky and regret that decision, especially when they’re out promoting it and have to keep repeating the dumb name of the album over and over again. So I didn’t want that. I had a short list of things that I wanted to call it and Dreamboat came out on top.
Jo: What is it about performing stand-up comedy that you love?
Kevin: I love the feeling that anything can happen. Not that I necessarily like to deal with audience members or hecklers, but there is that feeling when you’re in the moment and someone pipes up, you can have a room full of strangers laughing at you making fun of an idiot. In the end, that’s all I want. That instantaneous love.
Jo: If you could describe your comedy as a fruity cocktail, what would it be?
Kevin: I used to enjoy drinking Seabreeze and as a man, it’s not the manliest drink to order at the bar. But I used to work as the house MC at Hecklers Comedy Club in Victoria, and I had an understanding with the bartender that when I ordered a Dangerfield, I wanted a Seabreeze.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with the mob Kevin!
With appearances at Just For Laughs Northwest, Pemberton Music Festival, Blue Bridge Comedy Festival, and Bumbershoot, Banner’s self-professed “dark” sense of humour tackles some tough topics while his personable storytelling and self-effacing charm leave audiences laughing at everything from the mundane to the grotesque.
Watch Kevin Banner from the comfort of your home! He’ll be headlining a live-streaming event at 604 Studios, a new state-of-the-art, custom-built production facility on November 7th, 2016. Hosted by Vancouver comedian Ivan Decker and featuring the music of 604 recording artists Bucko & Toad, the event will be streamed on 604records.com at 5:30p.m. PT/8:30p.m. ET.
See you there!