Award-winning playwright, author, comedian, singer-songwriter and all around Canadian funny man Lorne Elliott doesn’t mind hecklers at all.
In fact he finds new material in the quips and comments received from his audiences.
He hangs his comedy show these days on his attempts to live off the land.
Based on the family farm outside of Montreal, passed down the generations, Elliott says he and his wife, Francoise, plant a big garden every year.
They also forage for mushrooms and berries that grow on the property along with wild grapes.
While they try he says they haven’t managed yet to live off the land through an entire year yet. Problems arise with overwintering produce and perhaps some pilfering from his brother who lives nearby.
Still, they try. He is still looking for the perfect recipe for sauerkraut.
When he was in Williams Lake about five years ago, Elliott posed the problem to his audience. He said he had heard that juniper berries add a nice taste to sauerkraut.
One audience member piped up that the juniper berries in this area ruin the sauerkraut.
Across the room someone else quipped, “How can you tell with sauerkraut?”
They also have wild grapes (vitis riparia) on their property which they turn into wine — 75 gallons this year.
His show deals with questions of aging, attempts to live off the land, and the eternal questions of what life is all about.
At 63 he says, “I’m old there is no doubt about that,” adding that looking back he can’t believe how much he has done in his life.
“You don’t think you are doing much at the time,” says Elliott, who as a CBC.
Six months after retiring from CBC, Elliott says he had a heart attack, but he doesn’t equate the attack to a delayed reaction to the stress of the job.
“Apparently cigarettes are bad for you,” Elliott quips. “I wish they had told us that.”
He says his doctor told him that smoking is actually harder on the heart than it is on the lungs.
While political comments creep into his show, Elliott says he tries to find mirth in things that people will find funny 10 and even 100 years from now — “this thing about being human on the planet.”
Still he may weave in a joke about Donald Trump or other political figure, but note something political said one day can completely change the next day.
“If I make a joke about something Donald Trump has said, 24 hours later he will say something else to joke about.”
Elliott credits his wife Francoise for a lot of his success as a comedian. “She does all the real work, I just get on stage,” Elliott says.
He plays guitar, with some ukulele creeping into the mix and looking forward to what his co-entertainers the Cariboo Chilcotin Fiddle Society will have in store for him.
“We call it diddle di di music down east,” Elliott said he used to play fiddle until it became obvious that he wasn’t any good at it.
Elliott says he and his wife Francoise are a team and he credits her for doing all the real work to prepare for his tours and shows.
“I just get on stage,” Elliott says.
Of late, Elliott has been writing novels and plays to positive reviews, and never seems to tire of touring.
His latest one man-show muses about the uncertainty and caution of living in these charged social times.
It’s a touch of politics and current affairs, a glance at how it is we get our information these days, and musing on how we’re going to get through it all.
Elliott will be on stage at the Gibraltar Room Wednesday, Oct. 19 brought to the community by the Williams Lake Community Arts Council.
Tickets are $20 general admission and $15 for seniors and students and can be purchased at The Open Book, Kit and Kaboodle and The Station House Gallery.