Chatting with Montreal-based improv comedian, Shanthony Exum

Shanthony Exum, also known musically as Miss Eaves, is a Montreal-based multimedia artist who sits at the intersections of activism and art. With a passion for celebrating confident femmes and non-binary folk, Exum creatively uses her art to advocate for feminist issues, sexual liberation, self-love and climate change. Her artwork, specifically musically has been lauded by The New York Times, NPR, Billboard, New York Magazine, Elle, Glamour, Jezebel, and more, with her viral sensation “Thunder Thighs” landing on lists of feminist anthems alongside legends like Beyonce.

Exum is a street photographer for the Every Body Project, a video director, an improv comedian and a paper mache queen. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Graphic Design. She currently works as a freelancer and has worked with clients such as McAuthor Foundation, North Star Fund, National Domestic Workers Alliance, Black Futures Lab (founded by Alicia Garza), Brookings Institute and MTV. She recently designed the set of the 2022 award-winning Fringe play Midsummer Bushwa.

Shanthony Exum

How would you describe your comedy style?

Zany, absurdist, physical and satirical.

Who are some of your influences?

Sandi Armstrong, Heidi Lynne Weeks, Marilyn Teuwen, Deirdre Trudeau, Lise Vigneault, Devin Bockrath and Monika Schneider

Who was your favourite comedian growing up?

I used to love Ellen’s sitcom. It made me laugh so hard. I was gutted when it was cancelled. I was really young and did not have language like “homophobia” yet but I was really upset that her wonderful show was cancelled because she came out of the closet.

Who is your favourite comedian now?

Nicole Byer. Her experiences as a weird black woman are so relatable. I also love that she is a woman who is not afraid to be extra and take up space. I listen to her podcast “Why Won’t you Date Me” every week.

What is your pre-show ritual?

I usually check in with the other people I am performing with. Getting along with people is really important and fostering good vibes among my fellow players really helps me do my best.

What is your favourite place you have performed? Why?

I am working on a new solo improv format, so I can do prov totally by myself. I love it so much, people get tired of me and are like “Alright Shanthony Exum, that is enough Improv. GOODNIGHT”. Sara Meleika hosts a night called “When They Go Low, We Go Laugh.” She is so supportive and gave me a safe space to try out this format for the first time. It was such a wonderful crowd especially since I was testing out my new solo improv set in the middle of a bunch of stand-up comic sets!

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

I recently wrote a bit about a person who brought their new friend (who happened to be a cow) to meet their parents. The parents were trying to be progressive but kept saying the wrong things. “COW IS SO OFFENSIVE DAD! WE USE BOVINE CANADIAN NOW!” I made a cow costume in 30 minutes out of things I found in my actual trash can.

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

I learn about new comedians by following guests of podcasts I already listen to. Usually, funny feathers flock together.

Tell us a joke about your city.

I tried to write a joke about Montreal for two days. I walked to the top of Mont Royal, with my bad ideas banging around my head like a Tam Tam drum. I rode a BIXI the entire length of Sherbrooke thinking that the potholes would jiggle out something remotely funny. I trekked through trottoirs barrés while eating poutine hoping that would give me that special joke sauce. Defeated, I sat on the bench in front of Montreal Improv to reflect on why I failed to write one single Montreal joke. There I realized the key wasn’t to improve my jokes, it was to improv them.

Do you have anything to promote right now?

My friend Shelton and I wrote, directed and starred in a crafting/comedy show right before the pandemic. I just got around to editing the first episode a month ago. We built the set out of trash and the star was a talking plastic dinosaur. It is so wacky and I love it.

Check me out at Threepio at Montreal Improv. I will be performing with my duo Curly Fries (with Melissa Giacomin) and most Sundays at Theatre Saint Catherine.

Where can we follow you?

Instagram | Youtube

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

Sandi Armstrong. She is an absolute legend.

 

 

About Demian Vernieri 129 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.