Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a first-generation Irish-Canadian. My father is Irish born in Cork and my mother is also first-generation Irish; her father being born in Dublin. I love them but addiction is a disease in my family. I lived in a trailer park, areas where people were regularly shot, I have dumpster dived for necessities, abused in nearly every way imaginable. I am a haunted man but also overwhelmingly positive. Throughout all the turmoil that I was raised in, I always have been a fighter and an extreme optimist. As long as there is a glimmer of hope that’s good enough for me. My upbringing gave me grit. I have an addictive personality but I choose to be addicted to work and success. The way I see it, if you have addiction in your DNA, you will inevitably spiral in life but the choice is yours whether that is a downward or upward spiral. I choose the latter.
How did you first become interested in comedy as a career?
I have wanted this since before I had memory. When I was about 5, I had a diary called, “My Life as the Next Jim Carrey” where I would write out little funny scenes and skits. My first time trying stand-up I was 12 years old. I bombed horribly. My father actually came up on stage and started dancing and singing to embarrass himself thus saving me. I didn’t lose hope though. I joined an improv team in grade 8. Became team captain in grade 10. Joined a professional improv troupe at 16 making $100 a night. Started teaching improv to my high school then to other high schools in my region then started teaching improv seminars to adults. I was starring in every school play and also writing plays for my high school to put on. I ended up selling my scripts to notable theatres in Toronto – I wasn’t even old enough to have a beer yet. At home, there was a lot of violence, so comedy sort of saved me and kept me away from the house. My success in improv gave me the confidence to try stand-up again. At 16 I entered myself into the Durham Region Comedy Festival and I ended up winning funniest comedian in my region beating out comedians 20 years in the game. Still wasn’t old enough for a celebratory beer yet. By winning the festival, I got to open for The Trailer Park Boys and then Nikki Payne at the Regent Theatre in Oshawa. When my dad dropped me off to open for The Trailer Park Boys, he told me this is the last show I was ever allowed to do. Things weren’t good at home and I had jokes that were airing dirty laundry. Him saying that ignited something in me. Classic teenage rebel. My foot has been pressed flat down on the gas pedal ever since he said that.
What comedians served as inspiration for you?
Richard Pryor is what made me realize comedy can be way more than dick jokes (not that there’s anything wrong with dick jokes – I have plenty) but also, it can be art. Pryor nearly killed himself by lighting himself on fire. 2 years later during his special, Richard Pryor Live at The Sunset Strip, he had a joke acknowledging that he knew everyone was making fun of him for lighting himself on fire while on drugs. He then lit a match and said, “What’s that! It’s Richard Pryor running down the street”. Pryor took his pain and turned it into art for the millions. He bled for us so we didn’t hurt as bad when we faced our daily troubles. I saw this and realized comedy can take peoples pain away. Archetypically Pryor had aspects to him that were very Christ-like. I approach comedy similarly. I would say I am a good mixture of dark and silly because of him. I also am inspired by Bill Burr, Jim Norton, Sarah Silverman, Anthony Jeselnik, Dave Attell, and Doug Stanhope
What led you to create Renegade Comedy?
In 2015 I auditioned and got accepted into one of the top comedy clubs in Toronto, The Corner Comedy Club. I became a main act there and before long, the owner Joe Tuccitto gave me my own night of the week with a door deal. Joe gave me complete freedom to create whatever I wanted. At the time, comedy was so political. A lot of people weren’t saying what they wanted to say but rather, what they thought they should say. I wanted to go the other way. Make comedy honest. Let people be themselves the same way Joe let me be so free. That’s why I called it Renegade Comedy. The very definition of renegade means to dessert a set of principles. I wanted to do just that. Have comedians connect to themselves again or at least give them the permission to do so. The show was a success at The Corner Comedy Club and became one of the hottest shows in Toronto. As demand increased, I toured it across Canada at sold-out Casinos, Comedy Clubs and Theatres. It was nice to see my baby grow!
When COVID hit, what was your first reaction? Were you working on alternative plans to continue doing comedy right away or did it take a bit to figure something out?
At first, I lost so much. I had plans to do another Western Canada tour for fall 2020 which I had to cancel. That sucked. But when things go south, I try to not waste energy feeling bad about myself. Instead, I use my energy to improve my damaged position which will ultimately make me happier and limit any situational negative feelings. So, in March 2020 I launched a podcast and shortly after that I started writing, filming, editing and acting in my own original sketches. My videos have gone viral several times because I didn’t stall. If I would have waited to put out content, I don’t think I would have had the same results. It was nice to create content my way. I’ve been acting in TV/Film for years but it was cool to say lines that I wrote for a change. That was so much fun.
Tell us a little bit about The Secret Show and how you see it evolving over time.
I live in Toronto, Ontario and as the world knows, Ontario went through some of the world’s strictest lockdowns. Our mental health was declining and even though we all knew that locking down was saving lives – the way we were living was no life at all. But in June 2021, the Ontario government started allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people. With every comedy club in Canada closed due to COVID, I was already playing around with the idea of throwing a comedy show in my backyard. So, when it was safe to do so, I rounded up some chairs and turned my residence into a comedy club overnight. We made sure it was all done safely with COVID protocols in mind. Our first show sold out and every week after that sold out too. With so much uncertainty and fear in the Ontario air, everybody needed to laugh. Comedians out of work needed to get paid. The Secret Show gave us our livelihood back.
Now in Ontario, we are allowed up to 30 people inside. I have since retitled the show back to Renegade Comedy and moved the production to the legendary music venue “The Bovine Sex Club” to meet with increased demand. Our first show in our new home sold out which makes it 13 weeks straight of sold-out shows. It’s quite incredible to be driving this big crazy ride I’m just so grateful to be able to do comedy again. I do see the show evolving. At our new venue, unlike the secret show where the vibe is very hush-hush, Renegade Comedy at The Bovine I want to do it big!!! Like a 1-night festival type thing. When people go to Lollapalooza they go for the music and the party. I want the same feeling to be at Renegade Comedy. An unforgettable event. Lockdown’s over. Let’s Party!
One of my biggest fears is that comedy will become watered down because jokes are increasingly starting to be taken out of context from sensitive audiences. Do you ever worry about people getting offended by or has anyone given you a hard time about some of your darker jokes?
If it’s funny it will work. Usually, if a darker joke doesn’t do well, it’s because it wasn’t uttered with the intent to make the audience laugh but rather to just say something crazy. I am someone with a dark sense of humour because I honestly see the humour in the darkness. To quote Bane, “I was born in it… molded by it”. And when I tell these jokes to the audience, I am letting them into my weird little world. The audience can smell the honesty and truth in my speech. They aren’t watching someone trying to agitate– instead, they are watching a man who’s dead inside cry over his shortcomings – everybody loves a freakshow! Even though I’m X-Rated, I rarely offend people. Instead, I get a lot of people coming up to me after the show saying, “I can’t believe you made me laugh at that”. That being said, if you want to be a comedian who doesn’t water down their content or regurgitate the agenda, be prepared to have your haters. Be prepared to “get cancelled”. Just know all of that is fake. Pay zero attention to it. The woke mob has a quota to cancel 8 people a day the same way racist cops have a quota to arrest a certain number of people for nothing. They will both plant something on you to fit their narrative and gain power for themselves. If you know in your heart you are a kind person, put your blinders on and keep doing you. The results of your work will transcend all of their falsehoods.
What’s next for your career?
Right now, I am in talks to have my own weekly show at one of the biggest comedy clubs in Canada, Yuk Yuks Toronto. It should be every Wednesday. The fact that the founder Mark Breslin is considering me for the job is such an honour. Mark made it possible to be a working comedian in Canada with the Yuk Yuks comedy club chain being the largest in North America. I really look up to Mark he’s an absolute legend in comedy and I’m looking forward to starting the production. I’m also a full-time actor. I’m auditioning multiple times a week which is keeping me busy. It would also be cool to tour Canada again before the year ends, I’ll probably do that as well. The way I see it, I spent over a year doing comedy intermittently so now I’m going to gorge on gigs till my belly bursts!
What advice would you have for aspiring comedians?
Find yourself first. Lots of comics rush to get 5-7 minutes so they can start showcasing but they’re just polishing a turd. Their material is dishonest and the audience can tell. When you first start, you’re going to suck anyway. You’ll have your good moments and you’ll taste little flickers of brilliance but it’s going to take you a while. Use your time to connect to your soul. That warm gooey centre that is your essence. Your state of being. When you are able to make you funny, you will not be denied. If you work hard, are consistent and professional, nothing will stop your ascent.
What’s your life like outside of comedy?
I’m actually big into martial arts. I have been training Muay Thai 5-7 days a week for a year and a half now. I recently enrolled in TKMT (Toronto Kickboxing and Muay Thai Academy) and I spar multiple times a week. It would be cool to have a couple of fights in my lifetime but I recently took a knee to my head which gave me a mild concussion and wicked scar just above my eye. So now, I’ll continue my training but might be a while before I fight. Thank God it looks cool or my acting agent would be furious! I could play a perfect villain now. I’m also a personal trainer and I train a number of clients. Fitness is a great passion of mine.
Let the readers know where to find you online.
I am mainly active on Instagram because I have a small following to entertain. My Instagram is @kyleluceycomedy. All of my sketches and podcasts are available on YouTube and everywhere you’ll find podcasts – my YouTube is also Kyle Lucey Comedy. Everyone who follows me I am extremely grateful for. I post daily to entertain in return. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours… so long as we’re 6 feet away and both wearing masks.