If there’s anyone who has rightfully earned the title “Sovereign Comedian,” it’s Quinn C Martin – a Scarborough-bred comedian/writer/producer who’s been seen (and heard) across the US & Canada. This triple threat has been responsible for making people laugh (at his jokes, not him) everywhere from CBC Radio, TVO, Fringe, and even for commercials like Budweiser or Coca-Cola. If downing a Budweiser while watching the commercial won’t get you going, then get your dose of Quinn on XM and Sirius Satellite Radio – or his current show Toronto’s Talent.
From his appearances at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival to his creation of shows like The Most Races Show on Earth, Quinn is notorious for his self-deprecating sarcasm, improvisational ability and random hilarity. So lighten up, and join him while he pokes fun in his productions Hard EQuinnomic Times, The Quinnauguration and Love Quinnection – because what fun is life, if you can’t laugh at yourself – right?
Heavy: People call you the “Sovereign Canadian.” Why is that?
Quinn: It’s really just a few friends and fans that call me that. I did a show uptown one night and after the show, a guy came up to me while I was with a few friends. He told me that I was a natural. He felt like humour came to me too easily, because I only talked about what I saw. So he said I was the “God comic” like Jay-Z is the “God MC”, and since Jay-Z is known as “Jayhova”, “Hova” or “Hov”, he call me Quinnie Sovereignty aka “Sov.”
Heavy: You’ve appeared in commercials for monster brands, like Budweiser and Coca Cola. If you could create parodies for any brand right now, what would it be for, and what would it be like?
Quinn: I would make a bunch of condom parodies! I think condom commercials don’t go hard enough. I’d show a dude putting his shlong in a cup of ice water and his girlfriend coming home. “Boom, never go raw with the person you’re cheating with. Someone you don’t know is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.”
Heavy: You have your own TV show – Toronto’s Talent. What does someone need to do (or has done) to land a spot on it?
Quinn: People would stop me on the street and perform for me. They’d do it in malls, on the subway – even in the movie theatre. I felt bad, because ultimately it was the producers’ decision. The producer was unfortunately a tool though, and some of the great talent that I tried so hard to get on the show didn’t get on the stage. So I found a loop hole; I’d use them in “streeters.” Those were the segments I produced! It worked out a lot better because more people watched when I was on the street talking to random people, more than watching the show. Performers, viewers and myself 1, producer 0. #Quinning
Heavy: You’re also a producer who’s created all these interpretations based on everything from the economy to race and relationships. Are there any issues you touch on or avoid specifically in your comedy?
Quinn: I just talk about what I’ve seen and know. I’m from the hood. Not the comedy hood, the real hood. There’s nothing that’s not up for discussion.
Heavy: One of your pieces was named Hard EQuinnomic Times, which – in the title itself – reflects the deteriorating economy and high unemployment rate. What do you think you – or anyone else – should do, to stand out from multiple job applicants?
Quinn: Hard EQuinnomic Times was a great show. I offered a discount to anyone coming if they brought a canned good. I donated all of the proceeds to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Seeing people show up to your comedy shows and filling all the seats is a great feeling, but the energy I got from donating was unmatched. It’s hard getting a job out there; I find that applying in a field that you’re overly familiar with never fails. Then keep at it; be tenacious and persistent. Finding a job is a full-time job. Lastly, remember to do the little things; have high quality paper when leaving a résumé, personalize your resume for it to be specific to where you’re applying, follow up. The worst they can say is “no.’ And if all else fails, make your own work.
Heavy: You also produced something called the Love Quinnection. If you don’t mind me asking, what’s your romantic situation like right now? Any horrible dates or advice you’d care to share for meeting the ladies?
Quinn: Stay single – and keep it that way until you meet the person that is everything you’re looking for. Also, don’t do anything permanent ie. tattoos or kids if that person shows signs of falling short of your standards or won’t marry you. And always try to get what you want. Don’t sleep around always think long term because not doing so will effect you in the long run.
Heavy: What tips would you give to aspiring comedians wanting to break into the scene?
Quinn: For new comics, should they ask, I always tell them to record themselves and watch the recording objectively. The best way to learn about yourself is to understand yourself. And the best way to improve is to find out why people are laughing – it’s getting rid of what’s not funny and exploiting what you did that is funny.
Heavy: Anything coming up? Last words?
Quinn: Only the biggest show of my life. Saturday June 22nd at the legendary Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The show is called “Basic Quinnstinct.”
Check out Quinn’s website here.