"Early on in life I realized I gotta figure out what I want to do. I started having all these little ideas of what I want to do. I really didn't like working for a living. So the idea of standup comedy was in my head. People always said, You should be a standup comedian. I always rolled my eyes. I thought they were just complimenting how funny I was. But I figured let's try it."
– Lachlan Patterson
Guy MacPherson: Lachlan, it's Guy.
Lachlan Patterson: Hey, buddy, how's it going?
GM: I'm calling from my landline, in case you didn't recognize it.
LP: It sounds like a landline.
GM: Yeah, it sounds clear, right?
LP: Well, I'm on a speaker phone, right?
GM: Yeah, that's true. I have to record it, you know.
LP: I can tell you're, like, in an office and it's cold and there's not much on the walls. Am I right?
GM: I'm at a dining room table, I'm looking at a Christmas tree, there's stuff on the walls.
GM: Where are you?
LP: I'm in a garage in Venice, California. I turned my garage into my own little sort of haven.
GM: Like Marc Maron.
LP: Yeah. I have a garage and it was full of stuff. I ended up building a loft so I could turn this into a living space and I have a podcast now that I record in here. Anytime I have to do something creative where I need to be alone, I come in here.
GM: What's the podcast?
LP: It's called The Kooks of Comedy. It's a surfing comedy podcast. I moved to Venice and there were surfboards in my place. I picked one up and started learning and I fell in love. It's my other favourite thing.
GM: I can see you as a surfer.
LP: Yeah? I'm a little tall but I'm learning.
GM: Do you do the podcast with anyone?
LP: Yeah, I do it with my friend from New York who's a comedian and a surfer as well. We started surfing together and doing comedy and we were like, Let's create a podcast that nobody will ever listen to.
GM: It takes some time. Who is it?
LP: His name's Joe Praino. He's a good dude. He's a younger comedian than me, but we make a good pair.
GM: Is it always about surfing?
LP: You know, we make sure that we try to get guests who are surfers. In fact, I don't think we've had a non-surfing guest. Maybe one. We usually split the show into half-comedy, half-surfing. But anyone can listen to it and understand it. It's just a lot of times we'll go off on a rant about the ocean or something. We have listeners all over the country that are nowhere near any ocean and they seem to love it.
GM: You could have Tim Reikert on.
LP: I'd love to have Tim on. I've reached out to Tim. We've surfed up in Tofino together and I said any time you want to come down here, I gotta place for you. And he's like, I don't get out of here. He likes where he lives and he should. It's amazing up there.
GM: I know he surfs almost every day.
LP: Yeah, Tofino's got Hawaii-like breaks up there. It's beautiful. I want to go back for sure.
GM: I saw you on Last Comic Standing, except for the final episode and here's why: I thought you were the best...
LP: Oh, thanks Guy.
GM: ... and I PVR'd them all. Of course, you can't avoid the outcome because every website out there tells you the winner. So I knew you didn't win. I still have the last episode on the TV and I haven't watched it.
LP: Thanks, man. When someone says they haven't watched a show, it's usually an insult. But thanks, buddy. I hope you do watch it because I had my best set of the whole show. Our final set, I came out and just kinda had this feeling of let's just give it everything. And then when it was a tie, and we had to go back into our dressing rooms and come out again to do another set, I wasn't really prepared for that so I had to kind of put a set together in my dressing room. I think if I had more time, I would have been able to give Rod a run for his money.
GM: So that was in the final where it was a tie?
GM: Spoiler alert.
LP: Spoiler alert three months later.
GM: The week before, is that the one where Roseanne was iffy on you?
LP: Yeah. The show doesn't show you going through week. That's one day of the week and that particular week I was just having a rough week.
GM: I don't know, I thought you had the best set. I thought it was really good.
LP: Thanks, man. I mean, you know my style is a little more laid back and that doesn't really lend itself to a competition. So the final set I said, Screw that, man, just give them what they want. I walked out there and if you watch it, you can see the difference.
GM: I liked Rod Man a lot. But over time I felt, okay, I get what he does.
GM: It's always the same kind of thing: He has these long run-on sentences where he emphasizes odd words and it's really funny to listen to. But it's always just that style rather than the jokes that are funny. Sometimes his jokes are great – like I say, I liked him – but sometimes he would just get laughs based on the way he talks.
LP: You've been studying comedy for a long time. You're a connoisseur of comedy. I do the comedy I do because it's my favourite kind of comedy to listen to. I grew up listening to guys like Norm Macdonald. Clever, almost silly. I do like it when comedians get really quote "real" but I'm a sucker for a silly joke. It just gets me unexpectedly.
GM: So the show did well for your career, I have to assume. Did you notice a big difference after it? Or during it?
LP: It's funny, I was in Edmonton during the first weekend that it came out. I was replacing somebody. I was doing a Thursday thru Saturday, or a Thursday thru Sunday. They never took his name off the sign the whole week! I remember two people came up and said they watched me and they think I'm really funny. And I was like, Okay, so the show doesn't really... No one cares. That's what I thought. And now, when the show ended, I had to fly. I was flying actually while the show was on to Nashville. When I got on stage the next day after the show ended, I walked out to a standing ovation. People brought me flowers. There was definitely a huge difference. People like me. (laughs)
GM: Name recognition.
LP: It's funny, they still screw up my name on all my radio interviews, but I guess that's not their fault. My dad named me this.
GM: Obviously you got some cash out of it. Is that how you have a place with a garage or did you have that before?
LP: I've always had this place. I got a really sweet deal. It's very rare to get a garage in LA. But so far the landlord hasn't raised a stink. I've actually converted it, put a loft in it, and there are surfboards hanging on the walls. I find things in alleys, like furniture, and I've decorated it with really cool furniture that I've found in the alleys. Not shitty couches and stuff. Really cool wooden furniture. And I've a Craftsman tool box. One of those steel tool boxes. I put all my dvd's in it and all sorts of stuff. I've got a mid-century coffee table. I collect stuff from the alleys.
GM: That's Hollywood right there: "That guy from Last Comic Standing is rooting through our stuff in the alley!"
LP: I don't go inside the garbage cans, that's my rule. But if something's just sitting out there, I'll kick it, see if it withstands a kick.
GM: Are you touring more? Getting better venues?
LP: The contract had us obligated to do a tour, which was 55 cities in 65 days. That was theatres of about 2500 seats.
GM: How many of the contestants were on it?
LP: Five. The top five. That was wonderful to be able to perform in theatres and experience that dynamic of people who literally are staring at you and the stage is huge and four levels and two spotlight guys. The highest level of performing, I think, is theatres. I guess stadiums would be bigger. But I'd always wanted to perform in a theatre. I do miss clubs. I really love doing clubs, which I'm doing now. And I'm pretty much booked through till the end of next year.
GM: Almost every weekend?
LP: Pretty much almost every weekend. It's exhausting. It sounds really exhausting. I'm trying to keep optimistic because I won't be surfing as much as wished I was. And I'm going to try to sneak some Canadian dates in there. When there is a week off, I'm going to try to get up to Vancouver or Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton. I was just in Edmonton last week. Trying to get a few Canadian dates in there, too.
GM: As you should.
LP: Yeah. My agency's goal is to really keep me down here. I try to explain to them, Look, I grew up in Canada, that's where I learned, I gotta get back to my country. It's my country. They don't get that down here.
GM: Are you doing any acting work?
LP: Yeah, I'm actually developing a show right now. That's as far as I want to say about it because it could go horribly wrong. But I am currently working with a production company in developing a show and I'm really excited about it. It's my first ever.
GM: Is it an acting show or more of a reality thing?
LP: I would be acting, for sure. I've always wanted to dip my feet in the acting business. I've been given a few opportunities down here with guys like Daniel Tosh and Jim Jefferies who've put me on their shows and given me just a little glimpse into what it would be like to have my own show and I liked it. And obviously it would keep me here in LA, which also would be nice so I could surf.
GM: You did their two TV shows. Did that come after Last Comic?
LP: No, that came before. Tosh put me in a couple of his sketches and Jim put me in a few episodes of his FX show Legit, which I don't think they actually really got up there. It didn't air up there.
GM: I think it's on Netflix.
LP: Yeah, it's on Netflix. Like standup comedy, I've always been really critical of my performances so I haven't really seen those episodes. But I'm just happy that comedians have given me an opportunity. In developing my show, the first thing I said was I want to employ my comedian posse, my crew of comedians. I want to make sure that my show employs a lot of comedians that I like.
GM: You also did The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
LP: I did. I did The Tonight Show in 2010. I was actually proud of that. I was very proud of my performance. I got a little love from that. Nothing like what I got from Last Comic Standing. I tried to get back on and Jay had pretty much retired and all the staff had found other jobs by the time I was ready to get on again. Back to the grind. I actually am going to be doing The Late Late Show on January 5th.
GM: With the new host?
LP: With a new host.
GM: Who's the new host?
LP: A guy named James Corden but they're going to do interim hosts and I'm doing the first interim which will be Drew Carey. I'm really excited about that because I have worked with him before and I think he's just great.
GM: Do you remember when you were back in town and you were in a real down period in your life? You got booted back to Canada for a few weeks.
LP: Yeah, I do remember. It was horrible.
GM: You've come so far from that. At the time, what were you thinking?
LP: That was really tough. I had to get a job landscaping. I remember plucking weeds on the Olympic ring flowers at the airport. I had done television appearances and I really felt my comedy was going to carry me and I had a wake-up call. I was also mad at myself for letting it happen. I know the government was constantly changing their visa requirements and what they were asking of me was just unreasonable. I didn't give up but I think my motivation to get back down and really push myself had dropped. Ugh. I ended up getting the swine flu. Remember that? And when you have a landscaping job and you get the flu, you're just fired. They just need to replace you. If you can't show up, we have to replace you. It's not like a career where you get sick days. So I didn't have a job. I was living on my cousin's couch. I was just kind of piecing together some credentials to try to get back down to the United States. I applied for a three-year visa and they sent me a 21-day visa. I talked to my lawyer and she was like, There's not much we can do because if we complain that'll put a red flag on you and that could make it tougher in the future. So I had to reapply for another visa and it got very expensive very fast. That was shitty. I'm not going to lie to you, that was a pretty shitty point in my life.
GM: Because it cost so much to apply each time, were you ever wondering if it was even worth it?
LP: I'm sure. I was probably thinking can I just stay in Canada and start over again? But I had tasted the good life a little bit in comedy where I'd worked with all these great names. I really saw what I wanted and my future really was and doing American television at the time, so I just wasn't happy. I had toured across Canada and there wasn't a lot of opportunity. I'd lived in Canada and performed in Canada and I found the only way to survive as a comedian in Canada was to have a day job. There's very few comedians in Canada who are able to support themselves on standup comedy alone. So it was almost a tougher life to stay in Canada.
GM: Was that 2010?
LP: I came back in 2010, that's right.
GM: How long did you have to stay?
LP: Well, I came back in 2009 and I stayed for six months but I thought I was going to be there just for a month. So I didn't really book anything just thinking I was going to come back. I had a bunch of gigs in the United States. So when it didn't come through, not only did I have to cancel all my gigs in the United States, I couldn't get work in Canada. All the clubs were already booked. And it was the summer so you know it's just much slower. There just was no work for me so I had to get a day job.
GM: I remember talking with you at the comedy festival and you finally said, "Let's go up and spin this wheel." WestJet had a prize wheel.
GM: You went first and got the hand sanitizer. Then I got the trip anywhere WestJet flies.
LP: Oh my God, yeah.
GM: And I thought I should give this to Lachlan. But I didn't.
LP: No, you didn't. I appreciate that you didn't. I don't need your sympathy. I was going to be fine.
GM: But you should also appreciate that I entertained the thought.
LP: Did you take that trip yet?
GM: Yeah. We went to Disneyland. I had to buy two other seats.
LP: WestJet was smart. They had you book two more flights probably at full price.
GM: You went to West Van high school, right?
LP: I did. I went to Prince of Wales and then we moved to the North Shore and I went to West Van high.
GM: Were you thinking of comedy then? You said you tried it at 19.
LP: Early on in life I realized I gotta figure out what I want to do. I started having all these little ideas of what I want to do. I really didn't like working for a living. So the idea of standup comedy was in my head. People always said, You should be a standup comedian. I always rolled my eyes. I thought they were just complimenting how funny I was. But I figured let's try it. And at 19 I gave it a shot. I invited everyone I knew to the show and they all laughed. So I thought I had just conquered standup comedy. And I stopped doing it. I went back to my job working at Home Hardware. Everyone at Home Hardware came to the show and I noticed over the next couple of years that nobody was mentioning that show and how funny I was. I woke up to the fact that, hey, you weren't funny. They were laughing at you. It took a while for my ego to let that soak in. I probably got mad that I let myself think something that could have been so off. I needed to prove that I was right and they were wrong. I went to Langara and I was taking all sorts of courses to do something stupid that I didn't want to do, and I saw these night school classes. My dad always put me in night school classes as a kid and I found them much more fun so I saw this one for standup comedy and I took it. I've said this before: I performed in front of the class and when I sat down people were coming up to me after class and going how did you do that? So I think that's when I knew maybe this is what I'm supposed to do.
GM: Was that a David Granirer class?
LP: Yeah, it was a David Granirer class for sure. It was one of his first, if not the first one he ever taught, back in, like, '96 maybe.
GM: Were you at New Faces in Montreal?
LP: Yeah, in 2003 I went to New Faces. But I wasn't ready. I'm the first to admit it. I was green. Like most people at New Faces, they throw you on the grill and hope that you cook. But if you don't, that's it for you, kid. And you're left to deal with the industry thinking you're terrible.
GM: I saw you then.
LP: You did?
GM: I didn't know you were from Vancouver. I think it was at the artists vs industry basketball game where you told me you were from Vancouver. Yeah, I didn't think you did very well.
LP: You know, I still have the tape. I should have a look at it
just to punish myself.
GM: I have no memories of it other than that. You see all these new faces and you don't know who they are. Then you moved back to Vancouver and started working on it, then you became really good.
LP: Even when I moved back to Vancouver, I struggled to get work. The clubs wouldn't book me. The Yuk Yuk's wouldn't book me. I couldn't get any work so I ended up getting a day job as a waiter at the Mill Bistro there. I couldn't even get their amateur night. And then one day I called and the manager wouldn't speak to me so I just said, 'Can you tell him that if he puts me on, I'll bring like 20 people?' She left me on hold then she came back and she was like, 'Okay, you're going to go on Wednesday.' I think I brought 40 people. I performed and those people knew my struggle because they knew I was a comedian; they saw me do these tiny little coffee shops but they knew the club wasn't booking me. So when they came, they laughed and screamed and really supported me and the whole crowd got on fire. I did jokes about working at that restaurant. It was such a contagious laugh that the club manager said okay, I'll bring you in for a couple days. It was really slow. It was very slow going. I really thought it would be quicker given that I'd been to the Montreal Comedy Festival and I'd put in six years. But a lot of people up there didn't think that that counts for anything. I've always believed in myself more than everyone else. You're supposed to. So I kept my mouth shut as best I could and worked. I've always been better at struggling. It pushes me. To be honest, I'm glad I didn't win that contest. I think I still might have a little underdog status and I work better from there. You know, some racers work better from the back. They don't like the lead. I think I'd be one of those.
GM: Well I haven't heard from Rod Man since he won.
LP: (laughs) We all have our own journey. I really want to be a great comedian. I think if your intentions are pure in comedy and you just want to be great, then who cares if it takes you longer? I think if you just want to be great, if your intentions are pure, then you'll do well. As soon as the show ended, I got rid of that material and I started fresh. I've written a whole new 45 and I'm adding to it every day. This Playhouse show, I'm hoping to give the audience a completely new set that they haven't seen before.
GM: I remember going down to LA and seeing you headline at the Improv.
LP: Oh, right, dude, yeah!
GM: You were on it, Toby Hargrave was on it, Alex Nussbaum was on it. Peter Kelamis was in the audience. I felt like I never left home.
LP: I did a Canada Day show and it was all Canadians. It was pretty funny. Yeah, that was a coincidence because it's rare that I run into those guys anymore. It was so cool, though. But they'll be back in February. All the Canadians come down to visit.
GM: You say you've written new material.
LP: I have, yeah. I'm excited about it. A lot of people want to hear all the stuff from the show. I should probably put an album together of that stuff. Someone told me I should put an album together even if I don't want to do that stuff. I think I should do that just because a lot of it can't be found anywhere. I loved that material. Those were my favourite jokes. But all my favourites, as soon as they released an album, they moved on. I've never really done that and I really want to do that. I've never enjoyed telling jokes that I knew the audience already knew. It doesn't feel as rewarding as telling something that you know they've never heard. I'm going to release a comedy special next year. If people don't come to see me live, I will have a comedy special.
GM: You're here two days after Christmas. I assume you're in town for your family Christmas.
LP: Yeah, I'm going to visit my family. They're on Pender Island so I'm going to go check them out there.
GM: How did you arrive at the Playhouse?
LP: I told my agent I want to work Vancouver; I gotta do it before the end of the year. He was like, 'I got all these other dates; I got all this other stuff.' And I'm like, 'It's just something I have to do. I have to go home and perform.' And he was like, 'Okay.' And he got all these different theatres rounded up and all these different clubs and he sent them to me and he's like, 'These are the different places, these are the numbers, these are the dates.' I looked at all the seating maps and the staff and everything. I just measured it out and the Playhouse just seemed to be the perfect moment. December 27th just seemed perfect to me. It's a Saturday, it's after Boxing Day. I feel it's a weekend when families are home. Everyone was saying, 'I don't know. The 27th is a tough day because it's just right after Christmas.' And I said, 'Well, in Canada, the day after Boxing Day is different. It's definitely more of a go-out day.' And I'm really hoping to get a good crowd.
GM: Will you have other openers?
LP: I don't think so. I think I'm just going to go out and do my thing. There's a lot of great comedians in town and I love working with other comedians. Every time I come back I try to put the list together of people I want or they reach out to me. But I think this one is just going to be me up there.
GM: Is there a name for the show or is it just your name?
LP: It's just Lachlan Patterson. Real simple.
GM: Oh hey, when you were 19, where did you play?
LP: Plaza of Nations.
GM: Oh, the old Yuk Yuk's?
LP: Yeah. It was an amateur night and Tom Staid headlined. He's a Canadian but he lives in England now. Very funny.
GM: Have you done England?
LP: I've never done the UK. It sucks but I worked so hard to get here. It's intimidating to do another country. It took me so long to just get here and you're asking me to go over there. I'd love to. I'd love to go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. And know so many comedians and Canadians over there and I hang out with them a lot down in LA. Jason Whitehead's living down in LA as well. I'd love to go over there. I'm just really focussed on what I'm doing down in LA right now.
GM: I know Glenn Wool does both.
LP: Yeah, I see Glenn every once in a while, too. And Jason Rouse as well is down there.
GM: Glenn just moved back here.
LP: Oh, he did? Oh, cool. Where's Myrehaug?
GM: I think he's over in England. He's doing the Snowed In Tour.
LP: Okay, cool. Oh, that's cool that Glenn Wool's in town. That's great that there's good comedy there.
GM: I don't know if he performs much here. I think he bought a place. He travels the world so he can be based anywhere.
LP: Okay. Lucky guy. Oh, I was in Edmonton doing a corporate and I could hear comedy across the hall from the one I was doing and Tim Nutt was in there doing his thing. It was pretty cool. I ended up going on when he ended and I never actually got to see him or say hi.
LP: What do you think? You think you got enough?
GM: I got enough. I got too much.
LP: Thanks, Guy. I appreciate that. I hope I see you.
GM: Are you still playing ball?
LP: No, dude. I ended up just giving up on the injuries. They took a toll on me and I still suffer from a lot of injuries from when I used to play. I have tendinitis in my ankles right now and I stretch every morning and I take pills all night. Surfing is nice because mostly drowning is the only injury. You don't get a lot of joint injuries from surfing. It's really a great sport for that.
GM: It's all or nothing.
LP: Yeah, you're dead or you're going to be great.