Tragedy Plus Time: Montréal-based Comedian Andrina Learmonth

Andrina Learmonth is a Montréal-based comedian who is also a graduate of Vancouver Film School with a diploma in Classical Animation. A fun fact about her is that she created her own comic book brand named Banana Moon Comics. In the past, her dark and existentialist comedy style has been featured in her comics and past showcases. In future, you can see Andrina perform at Hurley’s Irish Pub and Notre Dame des Quilles in Montréal.

Andrina Learmonth

How would you describe your comedy style?

I love to play with dark humour and identity-based jokes. I do draw from my own experiences and stories, but a lot of my standup is also made up of absurd scenarios. I like to find somewhat relatable premises and take them to a dark corner and find what’s funny there. I like to mix short stories with one-liner joke as much as I can and keep the audience laughing the whole way through while questioning my morals as a person.

Who are some of your influences?

I’m most influenced by Anthony Jeselnik, I love his work so much. Even if you know what you’re getting into after watching him for the first time, his ability to subvert expectations is uncanny. The character he performs on stage is so arrogant and sadistic it’s charming, he can draw any audience into the darkness of his jokes, he’s incredible. Emo Philips is another one, I’d say my style is less influenced by him than Jeselnik, but I just love his overall character and again the embracing of the dark and juvenile side of people.

Who was your favourite comedian growing up?

I loved Demetri Martin and his large pad growing up, so deadpan and just so watchable. I loved drawing since I was young and seeing him bring cartoons to the stage was everything. Probably a big part of what got me into drawing cartoons myself, although they’re much different. I watched the same special several times over, laughing every time.

Who is your favourite comedian now?

It’s still Anthony Jeselink, but I also really love Maria Bamford. She is a genuine weirdo and hilarious person, her comedy is so unique and inspiring to me. She’s also a staunch advocate for mental health care and is very vocal about fair rates for comedians, as well as women in comedy. She does it all and is a very bright light. I’d love to meet her one day and be just painfully awkward together.

What is your pre-show ritual?

My pre-show ritual is trying not to shit myself, which I’ve only ever failed at once. Otherwise, I just go over my set and figure out what jokes I’d like to do that night. Since I generally deal with pre-show anxiety doing this helps me feel more prepared. Then I wander from person to person with a ginger ale in hand pretending to be a totally chill and fine human being, but this is true with no-shows going on as well.

What is your favourite place you have performed? Why?

I loved and miss the Diving Bell Social Club in Montreal, it was the first place I had performed that felt like a real “show” other than an open mic bar. The staff are all so genuinely caring, enjoy comedy, and want the show to succeed. It feels like a great loss that they’ve closed and hopefully, they find a new venue to move to soon.

What is your favourite bit you have written and why were you proud of it?

I have a bit about being a mixed-race Asian woman, being fetishized for that, and ironically that’s why I exist in the first place.
I’m proud of it because it’s derived from personal experiences and feels cathartic to perform. I love it when it rings true to other mixed-race or racialized people because we all, unfortunately, experience this. It’s one of those jokes I feel like I need to live up to as well like I have to write something as good if not better than this now that I have it. It’s my current bar for future joke writing.

What is your favourite medium for listening or finding new comics/comedians?

I just love watching specials, but I also work at the comedy Nest and get to see a lot of headliners come through Montreal. That’s the main way I find out about comedians I may not have been aware of, and it’s extra nice to meet them and get to see how they are as people off-stage. I generally don’t like finding new comedians through social media as much because the clips are so short and you miss the meat of who they really are. Although I follow a bunch of comedians once I know I already like their stuff.

Tell us a joke about your city.

If we have to call Mont-Royal a mountain then I’m a D cup.

Do you have anything to promote right now?

I’m a cartoonist as well as a comic, and post my webcomics on Facebook and Instagram, so if you’re into reading and cute, dark humour, please check it out. I post the shows I’m doing in my stories, but here’s what I’ve got upcoming: On March 20th I’ll be at Hurley’s Irish Pub for Unpredictable, a comedy game show featuring three comedians and trivia with wrong answers only. March 27th I’ll be opening for Mike Carozza’s New Hour at Notre Dame des Quilles, he’s a fun silly comedy boy you don’t wanna miss! March 30th I’m on A Very Pretentious Show at Cafe la Line verte, which always promises to be a good time. And They Go Low We Go Laugh in Ottawa on March 31st which I am so lucky to be on and so excited for!

Where can we follow you?

Facebook and Instagram. My online presence is mainly comic-related, but I do post my comedy shows to stories!

PAY IT FORWARD: Who is another local comic/comedian we should know about?

I love each of these incredibly funny and individually unique comedians so much; Yumi Blake, Sarah Warren, Lawrence Corber, Mike Carozza, and Mariam Khan. Not only are they skilled joke and story tellers they’re wonderful humans that I’m lucky to call friends. If you have social media, you should absolutely follow them and check out their shows!