Comedian Jay Malone had a flourishing career after moving to Hollywood to pursue his dreams. From roles in television and film while continuing to pursue his work as a stand-up comedian, he was seemingly on top of his game. But an existential crisis ten years ago led him back to Nova Scotia.
This upcoming show is a nice little turning point for me, and I’m just going to take it and see what happens from there. – Jay Malone
“I’d worked my whole life to get to where I was in Los Angeles,” he says. “I had the agents, I had the managers, I was on a sitcom; everything I wanted to do was happening. And then this thing happened to me on a random day when I was sitting on a deck with some friends that changed me.”
While somewhat reluctant to talk about the specifics of what transpired on that deck that fateful day, Malone took a two-week break from work, family and friends and eventually decided to give up everything he had worked so hard for when he moved to the United States.
“I literally walked away from it all and moved home,” he says. “It was definitely the right call, and it’s led to wonderful things in my life. That is, besides my career that I’m still struggling with.”
Those struggles included finding his new place in the world where the idea of doubling down on all the negativity with his comedy was something he didn’t want.
“I’m not going to lie to you; it’s been very difficult, and it got to the point where I was done,” he says. “I felt it was time for me to move on to something else, but there’s something in me that just wants to get up and say shit in front of people.”
Stepping out of the limelight for several years after returning home in 2013, Malone is putting his self-doubts aside and is back testing the waters as he gets ready to re-establish his career as a comedian.
“I’m definitely at a crossroads,” he says. “This upcoming show is a nice little turning point for me, and I’m just going to take it and see what happens from there.”
It also helped that he received encouragement from The Carleton’s programming director, Mike Campbell.
“Mike sent me one of the sweetest emails I’ve ever received,” says Malone. “I explained to him how I was struggling with getting back into comedy, and he said he had been around this game for a long time and that would be a bad decision. He understood my frustration and knew it was daunting, but he said I was ‘too funny’ not to get back up on stage.”
Taking Campbell’s words to heart, Malone agreed to return to The Carleton for the venue’s 15th-anniversary celebrations to record the set he has been working on and performing since returning from Los Angeles.
“It’s a really funny set that I’m really proud of,” he says. “I’m going to record it, and then I’ll throw it out there and see what happens.”
With that decision finally made, Malone says a flood of new material has emerged.
“Things are happening in society that I want to talk about, and comedy is a really good venue to be able to do that,” he says. “As I get older and now that I’ve got kids, I definitely want to comment on some things.”
Besides, he says, comedy is integral to who he is.
“I have an overwhelming desire to share my views on things, and usually, those views make people laugh,” he says. “The idea is to release this material, and then I will work on this new thing and see where it takes me.”
Despite the uncertainty, Malone remains optimistic about the material he will perform during his upcoming show.
“You’ll never see a stand-up comedy show like mine,” he says. “I can say that you will not laugh as hard. But that is what I am good at, and it’s a show that will exceed any expectations of somebody that hasn’t seen me.”
Jay Malone takes to The Carleton stage on May 13 with comedian Clare Belford. Visit thecarleton.ca for tickets and information.