With over 2.6 million followers on TikTok (plus nearly 575,000 subscribers on YouTube and 308,000 followers on Instagram), Andrew Packer has made a name for himself online with Man News. But mixed in with his reaction videos, which have collectively garnered over a half-billion views, are snippets of his life on stage as an accomplished stand-up comic.
If you like me for my social media, you’ll also like my live routine. But even if you don’t know me from seeing me online, I know how to play to a broader audience. So if you’re a stand-up fan, you’ll also enjoy this show. – Andrew Packer
“Stand-up will always be my first love,” says Packer. “It’s the thing that I started doing initially and will be the thing that I’ll do till the end of my time on this planet.”
Packer found his love of stand-up early, getting his first taste of the comedy genre while delivering papers as a preteen.
“A lot of kids would be listening to their favourite musicians, but I was always listening to stand-up comedy albums, like Dave Chappelle, Russell Peters and Dane Cook, who was blowing up then,” he says.
Eventually, Packer decided to give comedy a try for himself when he entered university in Ottawa.
“I went to an open mic, and it was such an out-of-body experience that when I got off stage, I was hooked,” he says. “From there, it just snowballed, and I moved to Toronto to pursue it full-time after school.”
As he honed his skills on stage, Packer also realized that participating in both online and IRL comedy forms are necessary skill sets for being a comedian today. “A modern-day comedian is not only good at live performance but must also be able to create content that connects with your audience every day,” he says.
His online presence has also allowed him to reach a much wider audience.
“Sometimes I’ll do a [live] show with maybe twelve people at it, but then I’ll post a funny clip from that show online, and now 300,000 people have seen it,” he says. “It’s a little mind-boggling when you think about that reach potential. Plus, it’s been really fun to connect with so many people worldwide.”
Putting the camera aside for now, although it is never far away, Packer is about to embark on his cross-Canada Ice Ice Baby Comedy Tour with fellow comic Moe Ismail, including a stop at Dartmouth’s Darkside Comedy Club on March 24.
“It’s going to be a banger show,” says Packer. “I’m getting ready to blow up across North America, but first, I’m doing all of Canada with this hour that I’ve written for Canada. I’m speaking to the whole country through the lens of the world, and it is something audiences are going to feel connected to.”
And while Packer admits his online Man News “is very much pushed towards men,” the same is not true of his live stand-up, which he says has a broader appeal.
“If you like me for my social media, you’ll also like my live routine,” he says. “But even if you don’t know me from seeing me online, I know how to play to a broader audience. So if you’re a stand-up fan, you’ll also enjoy this show.”
Appealing to the two sides of his comedy – online and onstage – is also very much in the choice of the tour’s name.
“When I go on tour with my stand-up, I am experiencing audiences that are anywhere from 18 to 75,” he says. “The younger audience members who follow me on social media might recognize Ice Ice Baby from my online videos, but it also connects with older audiences who look at my face and go, you know, that could be Vanilla Ice.”
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Following his Ice Ice Baby Comedy Tour that will take him from coast-to-coast, Packer will make a trip to New York to “test the waters” and is working on a filmed version of his stand-up show, set for release in April.
“I’m really excited because I have this special that is the culmination of this whole tour,” he says. “It’s being edited right now and will get released on YouTube and go out to the world.”
Andrew Packer performs at the Darkside Comedy Club (101 Wyse Rd, Dartmouth) with Moe Ismail on March 24. Visit darksidecomedyclub.com for tickets and information.