Tragedy Plus Time: Montréal Comedian Marianne Mandrusiak

Marianne Mandrusiak might describe her comedy as insecurely observational, she might also just tell the truth about life in a way that makes you laugh at what could be painful. We connected with her to learn more and laugh through our interview.

Marianne Mandrusiak
At the (beloved) Diving Bell Social Club, photo by

How would you describe your comedy style?

Insecurely observational? I’ve been told that my comedy is quirky, laidback, and dark, but I don’t think it’s dark, I think it’s just life, and life is pain.

(But ultimately, I want the audience to feel silly, connected, and less alone.)

Who are some of your influences?

Maria Bamford, Bill Hicks, Sarah Silverman, Tig Notaro, Mike Birbiglia.

Who was your favourite comedian growing up?

I loved watching SNL when I wasn’t old enough to understand the humour. I adored the facial expressions and silliness of Maya Rudolph, Cheri Oteri, Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig. Also, my brother, Mike, made me laugh a lot.

Who is your favourite comedian now?

I’ve really been loving Atsuko Okatsuka and Maria Bamford. Paul Adams is one of my favourite comedians and one of my favourite humans to boot.

What is your pre-show ritual?

You can usually find me frantically writing and re-writing my set. I come up with a plan but inevitably, it changes depending on the audience, the host, or if I can riff off of things that the other comics have mentioned.

What is your favourite place you’ve performed in and why?

The Montreal Anglo comedy scene feels a bit like a sweet, big, dysfunctional family. The Comedy Nest has a special place in my heart – it was the first place I ever did stand up, the staff there are incredible, and it feels like home. I’m also infinitely grateful to Sid Khullar for giving me the opportunity to showcase for Just for Laughs at Deli Planet, and to Joey Elias for taking a chance on me early in my career and giving me the opportunity to perform at Club Soda. As a dancer, I was used to performing for large crowds as a part of an ensemble, but that was the first time I played such a big crowd as a comic, just me and the microphone, and it felt f#*king great.

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

I’m currently enjoying this bit that I have been doing about my first crush – Raphael, from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and about how I’ve always been into a bad boy, but I don’t date them anymore because bad boys will make you wait around for them, treat you like you don’t matter and gaslight you, and if I want that I can just make a doctor’s appointment. It’s been resonating with people, especially women, I think because so many of us share the experience of having our health concerns minimized, ignored, or have been left to figure things out for ourselves due to dearth of information about “women’s issues,” (probably because women were largely omitted from medical studies up until, like, the 90’s).

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

I love listening to podcasts and getting recommendations from other comedians, but I don’t watch a ton of specials anymore because I’m paranoid about being unintentionally influenced.

Tell us a joke about your city.

Like Montreal, I can be bitterly cold, smelly in the summer, and I’ve got an old port that tourists seem to enjoy.

Do you have anything to promote right now?

This summer, I will be a part of the Montreal Comedy Festival: Montreal’s Got Jokes, and the Comedy on the Well festival, and you can frequently find me on the weekends at the Comedy Nest.

Unrelated to Comedy, a super-duper talented illustrator, Olga Urbanowitcz, and I published a kid’s book about habitat protection and the power of collective action – you can find it at my favourite bookstore in Montreal, DeStiil.

Where can we follow you?

Instagram | TikTok | Facebook | Youtube

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

Daniel Carin cracks me up every single time! He is hysterically silly in the best way. Mariam Kahn has unmatched authenticity onstage and is so, so funny! Yumi Blake is hilarious and such a phenomenal writer!

(These people are all incredible and if you aren’t following them, what are you even doing with your life?!?!)