It’s been three years this month since I first dove into exploring Hamilton’s comedy scene and it was at that first show that I met Mayce Galoni. It has been awesome to watch Mayce’s career take off – at only 22 years old, he has played major comedy festivals, including Just For Laughs in Montreal this summer. Locally, you can catch Mayce at various open mics around town and he hosts a comedy night at Emerson 109 on Tuesday nights. Mayce will also release his first comedy album Praying To See Boobs this September.
Mayce is one of 18 semi-finalists in the running for Sirius XM’s Top Comic! The voting process is on until August 22nd and the top 8 will advance to the finale in Toronto on September 29th. This year’s winner will receive the largest grand prize to date – $25,000 and a guaranteed spot at three of Canada’s biggest comedy festivals in 2017. This is huge, and Mayce is the only Hamilton contingent – let’s get him to the finals!
I chatted with Mayce to learn more about how he got into comedy and his experience so far. Read our interview below – and for more silliness, listen to our recent conversation on 93.3 CFMU!
I Heart Hamilton: You started performing stand-up when you were just 15 years old – how did you get into it?
Mayce: When I was 12 I decided I wanted to be a magician, but eventually started writing jokes for my act and realized I enjoyed that way more. Plus I read Born Standing Up by Steve Martin, and saw George Carlin’s “Jammin’ in New York” in the same week, and after that I was hooked. I was super shy, and was terrified, but I also just knew that I couldn’t not try it. So I started to look for places that would let me go onstage, and then my mom called one and booked me a spot at an open mic.
What was your first Hamilton show?
It was in a weird room above an office that Patrick Coppolino worked at. He was just starting out in stand up as well and organized an open mic there. The audience consisted of my parents, my sisters, and at least two homeless men. I was a hit with the homeless men.
What are some of the challenges of Hamilton’s comedy scene in particular?
The scene in Hamilton is amazing, and while it has challenges, they only help to make stronger comedy come out of it. For instance, several of the local shows take place in bars where people wander in without knowing that there’s a comedy show, and so the audience can sometimes consist of people that aren’t interested in hearing what you have to say. That forces us to write stronger, tighter jokes to catch their attention and then hold on to it, and only rarely results in being head-butted by drunks.
What has been your favourite show or a major highlight you’ve done so far?
While it wasn’t necessarily my favourite show, one big highlight was when I was 18, Gavin Stephens brought Jordan Scherer and I on the road to open for him in Kingston for the weekend. This was the first time I’d ever gone on the road, and to get to do it with two really good friends was awesome. I couldn’t believe that we were getting paid to goof around, watch YouTube, and eat fast food all day, and then get to tell jokes at night.
You’ve opened for some big names – Doug Stanhope, Colin Mochrie, Gilbert Gottfried. Who’s someone you were most excited to meet so far in your career?
Doug Stanhope. He’s my favourite comic of all time, and then also happened to be one of the nicest people in the world. I’ve been lucky enough to get to open for him a few times, and those where my favourite shows.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
When I was 17, I first met Stanhope and asked him for advice and he told me that when comics give advice they are mostly just trying to justify their own decisions and approach to comedy. Stand up is something that cannot be done well the same way twice, or else it’s hack. Every comic has to find their own way to do it. He said to only trust advice if it connects intuitively with you, otherwise ignore it and do what you want. He also told me “don’t forget that we all die at the end of this, so don’t take any of it too seriously.”
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Going back to this contest – it’s so hard with competitions because comedy is so subjective and it’s a difficult thing to judge. But it’s got to feel great to be a finalist in something like this! What does it mean to you to be part of it?
It’s incredible and unbelievable. Canada has such an amazing comedy scene and to be included in a group of comics that I look up to so much feels great, and also a bit like a fluke.
What would you do with the $25,000 prize?
Replace the chair at CFMU that smells like farts. But also, save most of it so that I can keep touring around, writing jokes, and eating McDonalds.
Favourite place to eat in Hamilton:
Favourite breakfast food:
East Side Mario’s Chicken Parmesan. I wake up at noon a lot.
If you were a drink, what would you be:
Your go-to karaoke song:
I’ve done it once, sang “Original Prankster” by the Offspring. And I butchered it. So not that one.
If you could speak flawlessly with any other accent, what would it be?:
Favourite concert/live performance you’ve seen:
What is on your playlist right now:
Aesop Rock, Biggie Smalls, Lorde
If you could take a detour to anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?:
New York City
Favourite mode of transportation:
What’s one thing on your bucket list:
Thanks, Mayce! And everyone keep voting daily for Mayce until August 22nd!