Canadian Comic Sophie Buddle is Done with Second Place

Photos by Joseph Fuda

Sophie Buddle has done Just for Laughs twice, writes on National T.V is approaching her 10th anniversary in stand up and this year might just win $25K.

Buddle first caught the industry’s attention in 2016 when she made the prestigious homegrown list at the Just for Laughs Festival. A moment she still remembers as her first thumbs up in comedy. “I told Zoe (referring to Director of Canadian & international programming Zoe Rabnett) I loved her….we didn’t have a relationship yet but she did my podcast last month and we talked about the bachelor so I think we’re okay.”

Later that year Buddle accomplished another major industry feat. She snagged the runner up spot in the annual Top Comic competition in which one comic wins $25k and spots on all Just for Laughs branded festivals. She did not win but it was an experience Buddle regards as another turning point in her career. “Comedy competitions are so weird because it’s not necessarily the funniest person who wins it’s usually the person who has the best set that night. The first year I did it, I got runner-up. I don’t think that year I got any cash but I got a spot at all the Just for Laughs festivals and my first Just for Laughs taping and that’s everything in comedy you need that so I’m grateful there is a thing in place where you can win your way into Just for Laughs.” Buddle also was runner up in the competition in 2018.

2019 has been a year for Buddle long in the making. She landed her first TV writing job on the long running Canadian political satire program, “This hour Has 22 Minutes”, independently released an album entitled “A little bit of Buddle” and hosted a podcast “Obsessed, with Sophie Buddle.” And in the weeks leading up to Just for Laughs can add another career milestone– a tour of Yuks Yuks comedy clubs as a headliner. “I am at a place now where I can give comedy the attention I want to give it, the time I want to give it.” Writing on the tv show has also given her the opportunity to work alongside one of the most talented female television writers in Canada, Heidi Brander “She is incredible! She is so talented she made me feel so welcome. She is going to be head writer this year; it’s so nice seeing someone who is so funny, so talented and has been doing it so long, move up.”

Buddle’s drive and focus are evident while discussing something that is as vital to Comedy as an act itself: a comic’s ever-evolving philosophy to the craft.”I just keep falling more in love with comedy. I’m trying to only say things I believe. There’s no such thing as an easy laugh but there are things you can do for an easier laugh. I don’t want to do that. I’m trying to write jokes to get my point across. It’s a lot harder because I have to figure out exactly what I think. I’m approaching my 10 years in comedy and really understanding my own voice. Everything I’m doing is taking steps to do comedy more and on a bigger scale.”

Buddle is well aware her aspirations have and will require sacrifice but she has placed importance on surrounding herself with those who understand that. “I think it’s important to find friends who respect ambition as a priority in your life.” Her parents are also an unwavering source of support. “They are both artists working regular jobs and put such an emphasis on doing what I wanted to do in life…. and this is so clearly what I wanted to do.”

Buddle ends her album with a dedication to her mother in which she encourages her to publicly show her paintings for the first time. The album also has jokes about them and is a collection of work she is proud of. “I didn’t really build it up with the intention of making an album; it’s just the comedy I’ve been acquiring over the past 10 years. I wanted to capture it. I think that the jokes that I did on that album are the perfect form of those jokes.”

In a few weeks Buddle is headed back to The Just for laughs festival for a taping on “The Stand Up Show with Jon Dore” (A reboot of Dore’s HBO Canada specials “Funny as hell”). She feels good about what she is bringing and says writing the material was an expansion of her voice. “I want to make sure I’m getting everything I want to say into jokes and making them funny enough to be jokes not just preaching opinions. That’s something I’m trying to stay away from because I am someone who wants to use my comedy to speak about things like that. But I want funny to come first. I want to be funny. I want to be correct. But the emphasis is on making people laugh over being an activist.” Ultimately she came out of the writing process challenged and better with a set she feels is ready for everything that Just for Laughs is and can be. “Material is always first if I’m in a good mood it is because I have a new joke that I like. My jokes for Just for Laughs are the best jokes I have ever written. They haven’t been approved but if they are I’m going into Just for Laughs with confidence ”

A few weeks after Just for Laughs, the online voting portion of “Top Comic” in which people can vote once a day on every device they own begins again. “I’m doing Top Comic again this year. You would think that not winning would deter me. It doesn’t. You can’t be scared to lose. You can’t be scared to fail. You have to keep trying and eventually something good will happen. I am going to do top comic till I die or till I win.”

If Buddle wins “Top Comic” she will be the first woman to do so and speaks very frankly about the subtle and not so subtle sexism she has experienced in Comedy. “Before Yuks Yuks headlined me I left another club in Vancouver that wouldn’t headline me and basically said they would never headline me. We think of someone not being a feminist by patting someone on the bum or saying they look nice instead of a real compliment. But it’s more subtle than that a lot of times men just won’t invest in a woman the way they will invest in a man. A newer male comic will get that headline spot so he can become a better headliner. They won’t invest in women comics the same way. Yuks Yuks headlining me has made me feel so much more respected.” Unphased by opposition, Sophie Buddle’s methodology for success is simple and evident.

“It’s my time to work hard I am going to work hard until I don’t have to work so hard.”

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