Jamie Charest was constantly being upstaged by Reggie Reynolds, thankfully they are the same person.
“Naturally the character just became way more popular than me,” Charest said. “All the jokes and all the songs got way bigger laughs and applause than anything I had worked on for 10 years prior to that.”
Charest describes the character as a “crazy redneck who is touring around on his quest for free booze.”
Charest opens the act as himself, performing as emcee before introducing Reynolds as the headliner. Charest used to be a street performer, he was looking to make a cowboy or redneck-style song which eventually turned into a stand-up character.
“He got so popular the only way I could get any gigs would be to tour with him,” Charest said.
The character wasn’t intentionally based on anyone in particular, but after six years of performing as Reggie Reynolds, he’s starting to see some familiarity here and there.
“Now that I’ve been doing it so long I can kind of see elements of my dad or my mom, certain weird things that they do, come up in this character which is interesting,” Reynolds said.
The Kelowna comedian is on tour with Reggie Reynolds and Andrew Crone as part of the Loser Boozer Comedy Tour coming to the Elite May 26.
His first stand-up comedy experience was a “total fluke.” It happened to be the first time he ever attended a stand-up show at a restaurant as well, with the mic opening up for a joke contest afterwards.
“It was the first time seeing stand-up comedy in my life, I was so fascinated by it,” Charest said.
He can’t remember the exact details of what the first joke was that won him the contest, but he knows it involved clown school and a horse’s ass.
“It was so thrilling that I went back next week, I had written some material, and I won the contest again, I was hooked,” Charest said. He ended up emceeing the show after returning the third week for the joke contest.
Eventually Charest performed at a Kelowna comedy club, stepping in between bigger acts coming to town from Toronto and Vancouver.
“When I started doing it there was no comedy scene in Kelowna. Now there’s open mic all over the place,” Charest said. “There’s 20 guys at open mics now, people who were trying it, some who know what they’re doing and the guys starting to get good at it. When I started doing it there was no scene, I was the only amateur comedian in town.”
He said it was exciting, cutting his chops in between high-profile professional acts, though he didn’t have the support of the community the comedians in Kelowna now.
“I would just be thrown in the mix of these professional comedians every weekend, then after the show they’re gone. I was kind of alone trying to figure it all out. But I think because I was always placed in between professional comedians it kind of forced me to step my game up,” Charest said.
He said when the Yuk Yuks comedy tour left Kelowna, there was a vacuum filled by venues looking to bring in professional acts, but having to fill time with open-mic shows.
Charest, or more accurately Reynolds, has a new album, Beer to Survive, with a music video for the title track available on YouTube. For more information visit www.beertosurvive.com.
Tickets to the Loser Boozer Comedy Tour at the Elite on May 26 are $10.