“They call him the Tim Nutt of Canada.” In one of his favourite introductions, made by fellow comedian Lorne Elliott, Timothy Nutt has come a long way from his first foray into comedy, and he’s sharing some words of wisdom now that he’s turned a certain corner.
“I turned 40 last year and I’m lucky, because of my occupation, to share what I’ve learned so far,” he said. “Like when a guy over 35 is riding a bike in jeans, he’s probably been convicted of drunk driving.”
Known for that wonderfully observant humour, Nutt is a comic who can’t be judged by his cover.
Described as “rough around the edges,” matched with long hair and a beard, Nutt is said to look like a biker who talks like a professor. And he’s finding an audience in his new home, where bikers and college professors often share a brew in the local pub.
Nutt relocated from Toronto with his family, which includes two children, to Kelowna in the summer of 2009.
“We needed a change of pace. My wife is from Toronto and she lived and worked 50 miles from where she was born. She turned to me and asked if I ever thought about living in the Okanagan. I said as long as you don’t throw me into the briar patch…”
These days, you can find the comic, who was named one of the Best of the Fest at 2006’s Just for Laughs in Montreal, hosting the Chopping Block open mic Sunday nights at the Packing House Pub in Rutland.
“My main thing has been to spotlight up-and-coming comedians as there is not a regular comedy club in the Okanagan. We have a lot of burgeoning amateurs here and I’ve been surprised at how many new people have come to the shows. I plan to bring along some of the Kelowna guys with me, and give them an opportunity and a little experience.”
Nutt can relate to getting up on that stage the first time.
Goaded by a friend to try his hand at stand-up, the Coquitlam native, a former football player who once studied acting, shared a few jokes in 1993 at an amateur night at a Vancouver comedy club.
His actor’s training helped him get over any nerves he may have been feeling at the time.
“My friend kept saying, ‘you need to do this’,” Nutt recalled. “Let’s just say, it didn’t go well, but it didn’t go bad either.”
A seed was planted, and Nutt started working through the ranks, playing clubs on the national comedy circuit.
His first big break as a comedian came when he did his first Madly Off in All Directions.
Introduced by Elliott, the former CBC radio show’s host, Nutt performed on Madly Off on a number of occasions, and he has since appeared on just about every major comedy festival stage in this country.
He’s been at Montreal’s Just for Laughs four times, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, and he previously came through the Okanagan while on the Just for Laughs tour across Canada before he moved to the valley.
“Greg Proops (of Whose Line is it Anyway? fame) was the emcee of the tour. He’s also the voice of Bob the Builder, which was great as I had him call my kids as the voice of Bob the Builder, which put me in their good books.”
Nutt has also been on CBC Radio’s The Debaters, where comedians face off against each other in front of a live audience.
“I did one about the merits of being a stay-at-home dad,” said Nutt. “I was a stay-at-home dad when my first daughter was born.
“My argument was that it is a good thing as when it comes time for my children to put me in a home, at least they will pick a nice one.”
Nutt adds he’s careful not to share too much information about his family in his act.
“I talk about parenting, but I try to keep my kids out of it in case they decide to YouTube it then embroil me in a lawsuit,” he laughed, adding his wife is also off limits for the same reason.
However, everything else is open season.
“We’re really miserable people,” said Nutt, referring to comics in general. “We’re like little children. We work 10 hours a week and we make way too much money for what we do. We’re like politicians in that way.”
Tim Nutt hosts the Chopping Block open mic comedy show every Sunday at the Packing House Pub in Rutland. Shows start at 8 p.m. or after the hockey game.
Kristin Froneman is a staff reporter with the
Vernon Morning Star.