DJ Demers is on a quest for comedy
“The only difference between those who do and those who don’t is that those who do, do,” DJ Demers explained in an interview with The Cord. These words, which he heard from Indigo Books owner Heather Reisman during last year’s commencement at Laurier, have helped shape his life philosophy.
This is the mentality that has set Demers on the path to becoming a comedian in Toronto and potentially MuchMusic’s next VJ in the upcoming show MuchMusic VJ Search 2.0.
Though he graduated from Laurier with a degree in business this past June, Demers never really intended to take the business route.
He explained that even when he started at Laurier he wanted to be a comedian, but it just didn’t seem practical at the time.
For Demers, what may have been even more helpful than his formal business education in helping him become a successful comedian is his life experience.
This included Virgin Mobile’s “Screw You Recession” summer internship and the various extra-curriculars he participated in while at Laurier, including writing for The Cord and hosting a show on Radio Laurier.
“I had the greatest five years of my life [at Laurier],” said Demers.
“I always kind of had my eye on the prize, but at the same time I was just having the time of my life because when you’re getting out there and meeting people that’s when you expand your worldview and your mind.”
Now, having graduated, Demers is learning the difficulty of making it in the comedy world.
“To tell you the truth, I’m still green at this, I’m pretty new, so I’m going to get a lot better as I get along. I know some comedians that are just amazing, it doesn’t seem like anything they say is rehearsed, and I don’t seem really rehearsed right now, but that’s still that main thing I have to work on,” he said.
One concern that Demers has in regards to his comic aspirations is being pigeon-holed as the guy who only tells one type of joke, such as his own hearing-aid jokes, like Russell Peters is known for his race jokes.
Demers wears a hearing aid, and explains that, “When [Russell Peters] tries jokes that aren’t race-related, people say ‘I don’t want to hear that shit, tell me something about brown people!’
“That’s why I haven’t done too much about hearing aids yet. I mean, I’ve got a shitload of material on it, but I don’t want people saying, ‘Shut up with the Batman jokes, I want to hear the hearing aid stuff.’ I want to really establish myself first before I break out the hearing aid jokes.”
Demers explained that despite the challenges that come with a career in comedy, the positives are worth it.
“Even though being on stage is as scary as hell … the feeling of telling a joke and actually having to wait 10 seconds for the laughter to die down – like actually having to wait because people are laughing so hard – is the greatest feeling in the world. That’s why I want to do this.”
Demers’s love for comedy should help him in his efforts to become the next VJ.
When asked why he wants to be a MuchMusic VJ, Demers states that publicity is one of his motives, but he also knows that he would enjoy the job.
“I love music and I love talking and getting to know new people; I love being on camera. I feel that all I love to do and all my skill sets lend themselves perfectly to this.”
Demers knows that making a name for himself as a comedian will take a great deal of work, but he prepared for the task ahead.
“I wrote a mantra for myself, it’s five rules I have to abide when I go on stage, and I read it over to make sure I’m in the right frame of mind. First of all, be a character … be confident … be concise … and the fifth rule is Thom Yorke doesn’t give a fuck and neither should you.”