Thursday night, SiriusXM hosted their annual Top Comic competition. The culmination of a half year long search for Canada’s funniest ended with Gavin Matts taking home the grand prize of $25,000 and the title. Gavin hails from New Westminster, BC and has been performing stand up for only four years.
“To be selected by the judges as the last one standing in this competition has been incredibly surreal,” said Matts. “I’m honoured to have had the chance to compete alongside my industry peers, it’s been an unforgettable experience.”
The finale capped off a nearly four-month journey for Matts. After hundreds of comics from across Canada registered for the competition in the spring, 60 contestants were selected to compete at the Toronto and Vancouver auditions over six nights in June. Judges then selected 18 semi-finalists to participate in a Canada-wide online vote, and the six comics with the most votes, as well as two additional comics who were chosen by a panel of judges, advanced to last night’s finale.
The competition finale was hosted, as always, by SiriusXM host Ben Miner and judged by Jack Whitehall, Kenny Hotz, Chris Kelly, Zoe Rabnett, and Kayla Schwartz. Before the eight finalists all took the stage, last year’s winner Chris Robinson did a set which he opened by declaring that he blew all his prize money on gold and sneakers. His accents are as sharp as ever!
First to take the stage was Ana-Marija Stojic who did a great impression of Blink 182’s singer as a baby. She also copped to looking a bit like a hipster Anne Frank. Edmonton’s Michelle Shaughnessy told the audience that she was fired from her last job because she stopped caring how she looked, and the odd HR situation that followed was hilarious. Gavin Matts admitted he was “not nervous” and already had the crowd giggling. He told us he spent a month without internet and it changed him, and had the audience laughing about the ways he dealt with his plight. Gavin also told us what it was like growing up with a deaf mother and the situations that arose from that. Gavin is hilarious and clearly deserved to win despite the tough competition.
Gavin was tough to follow, but Sterling Scott came out and announced that it was his mom’s birthday and that she was in the crowd and explained how she stood up to a teacher who put down broken homes. He thinks engineering society using astrology is a good idea, and says gingers are an oppressed people. He brought up a lot of great points as to why. Graham Chittenden was up next and had plenty to say about DIY. He pointed out that all those shows have montages that cut out the mistakes and long boring work that actually goes into these things. He has learned plenty by mistake. Graham could tell you that open concept is bullshit and that sometimes taking down a wall will also bring down the ceiling. So funny and educational. Graham was the runner up, and the choice was 100% deserved. He killed.
Kathleen McGee shared us that her mother thinks she’s an alcoholic, but she’s actually a drug addict. She also thinks she found the worst place in Canada, Wynyard, Saskatchewan. Kyle Bottom is proud of the fact the sea lion attacking the girl video took place in his hometown of Vancouver. We also learned that he used to work at a weed store and why you don’t want to be the oldest person working at the still-not-100%-legal weed store. Last up, Kelly Taylor came out and told us his son wrote him a letter before he left that just turned out to be an Xmas wish list. And had some very helpful information about waking up needing to pee.
While the judges deliberated, Todd Barry came out to do a headlining set. He came out and called himself the “Power headliner” and pointed out the flaws in comedy competitions. For example, having the only other people who understand you compete against you is a little cruel, he said. He also talked about a recent interview he did where a woman took his joke as a statement, and shared his new hobby of finding Yelp reviews where thay use the wrong word. Before ending, he admitted he uses his career to get as much free shit as possible then tried to squeeze the crowd for any free stuff. No real takers. Sorry Todd.
Ben came back on stage and announced Stirling Scott and Graham Chittenden were runners up, and when he announced Gavin Matts as the winner, Gavin could hardly stand he was so shocked! Everyone was happy for him and he could hardly say anything.
“We were once again blown away by the comedic talent in this country, including Gavin, who delivered an incredible set that wowed the judges and crowd alike,” said Ben Miner.
Today, 604 Records launched Matts’ first comedy album, “Premature” today and it already went to #1 on the comedy charts! 604 Records will host Matts in a live stream event from the 604 Studios sound stage offering excerpts from the album and new material on November 10th.
Good luck Gavin! Can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store for us!
How long have you been performing comedy and where was the first club you went on stage?
I’m in my fourth year of stand up. My first set was at an open mic in the basement of Goldie’s Pizza on March 1st, 2014. My first club set was at The Comedy Mix in September 2014, those are the 2 scariest sets I’ve ever done and I wish I could forget about them.
What club do you consider your home club? Where you’ve done most of your growth and work most often. Why do you love that club?
The Comedy Mix is definitely my home club in Vancouver. When I started, I would go every weekend to at least 2 shows so I could watch headliners. I’m there all the time now and I’ve been going there for so long that I just feel a different level of comfort than I do on other stages, which really helps me write new material and tighten up old stuff. It’s literally my favorite place, I love walking down the stairs and seeing all the staff, plus the crowds are the best in the city so that’s a huge bonus.
Favorite music groups right now ?
Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals is the best thing happening right now
Best celebrity sighting you’ve ever had?
I saw Owen Wilson biking in Vancouver and I yelled “Hey, Owen Wilson!” He was visibly upset that I had outed him because he was wearing this big straw hat, but I knew it was him because I know how he rides a bike from seeing Midnight in Paris like 10 times.
What comedian or comedians are your favorites- the people you saw and said- that’s what I want to do?
The first comic I ever saw live was Chelsea Peretti, she opened for Aziz Ansari in 2012, she crushed so hard and I had no idea who she was – I was like “oh, I want to do that”. I’m also a huge Hannibal Buress fan, both Hannibal and Chelsea have ideal careers in my opinion.
Who is your favorite comic who isn’t famous?
My favorite comics who aren’t famous are Andy Haynes, Dino Archie, Sophie Buddle, and Chris James. Another comic I really like in Vancouver is my friend Ashkon Mohammadi, he’s super funny and puts in a crazy amount of work.
What’s your comedy goal? Is it arena tours? Television? Theater? Touring clubs? A giant special? Getting on a late night television show?
I really just want to tour theatres opening for someone cool and then headline clubs. That’s the dream, but being on a sitcom would definitely be a bonus and a good end goal for all that.
What’s the best thing you ever ate?
Ramen in Japan.