While the pandemic meant fewer opportunities for Halifax comic Travis Lindsay, the last 18 months were not a complete write-off. In fact, from all accounts, he appears to have weathered the storm better than many of his contemporaries.
From the realization of a life-long dream to parlaying a one-off performance to a full-time gig with a perennial Canadian television comedy show and the upcoming recording of a new album, 2021 may very well be turning into the year of Travis Lindsay.
On the phone from his home in Halifax, Lindsay has just returned from a trip to Montreal to perform as one of the New Faces of Comedy at this year’s Just For Laughs Comedy Festival. It would be a performance twelve years, six months and ten days in the making from when he won his Lower Sackville high school talent contest.
“It wasn’t even from winning the talent show,” says Lindsay, who knew as he walked off the stage that he wanted to pursue a career in comedy. “My mind was made up right then and there and I knew it was what I wanted to do.”
It would also begin the countdown to one of Lindsay’s career goals of performing at one of the world’s preeminent comedy showcases.
“It is the one thing that when you tell people you are a comedian or a comic and you tell them you’ve done Just For Laughs they take you a little more seriously,” he says.
Not that Lindsay has had a problem with anyone taking him seriously as a comic. A case in point was the ability to turn a single night as the warm-up act for a taping of This Hour has 22 Minutes into a return engagement as a writer for the 2021-2022 season.
“It was another one of those things that just happened so quick,” says Lindsay. “Long story short, the writers got exposed to COVID at a restaurant and they needed someone to come in for the warm-up, and it was supposed to be just a one-time thing. It went pretty well, and they asked me to come back the following week.”
Those initial two weeks led to becoming the regular warm-up and eventually to being on-camera.
“And then, in the final three weeks of the season, I was brought into the writer’s room,” he says. “It was all a little weird with this odd bit of guilt because I got this job because the world was on fire. But it was a wonderful experience, and thankfully it will continue as I’m coming back as a writer for the whole season next year.”
But while Lindsay looks forward to being back as part of the iconic Canadian show this fall, for now, he is focusing on his new comedy album, set to be recorded live at The Carleton in downtown Halifax on August 11.
My last album came out a couple of days after Christmas, so maybe it’ll be the same time this year. You know, once everyone gets all their iTunes gift cards, so it’s an easier sell.
The second for the comic following his 2019 album The Kid is Alright, the timing for Lindsay’s yet-to-be-named album felt right. “Some of the stuff I want to talk about is a little topical, and if it’s not now, it’s probably never for that material,” he says.
Admitting he gets bored from performing the same routine for an extended period, he knows audiences can tell. “The jokes don’t do as well because people don’t believe what you’re selling, because you don’t believe what you’re selling,” he says.
Calling it a snapshot of where he is at in his career, Lindsay says if he doesn’t record the material, it will be lost as he moves on to other stuff. “And to me, that’s kind of a waste,” he says.
With no release date set, Lindsay hopes to have the new album out by year-end.
“My last album came out a couple of days after Christmas, so maybe it’ll be the same time this year,” he says. “You know, once everyone gets all their iTunes gift cards, so it’s an easier sell.”
Travis Lindsay records his new comedy album over two shows at The Carleton in Halifax on August 11. Visit thecarleton.ca for tickets and information. You can also watch his Just For Laughs New Faces of Comedy performance from August 16 through August 31 at hahaha.com.