Halifax comedian Pardis Parker’s bio reads like an adventure novel.
He was born in Sri Lanka, moved to Nova Scotia as a child, caught malaria while volunteering in the Solomon Islands and had to be airlifted out of heavy ethnic fighting. Then again, he also graduated from McGill University and at one point owned and operated a health food store.
The last few years, he’s been honing that breadth of experience into filmmaking and standup comedy, to steadily growing acclaim.
Recently, he became, almost by accident, the first Canadian ever accepted into the CBS Multicultural Sketch Comedy Talent Showcase this January. More than 3,000 performers were considered for the 13 spots.
Parker got the break while performing standup recently at a comedy club in Los Angeles.
“After one of my standup sets, a woman approached me and insisted that she allow me to set up an audition for me,” he told Metro.
“I had no idea what it was for, but it didn’t sound like it was a bad thing.”
The audition went well enough that he was accepted to the fifth annual talent showcase, which in the past has helped launch the careers of Saturday Night Live’s Nasim Pedrad and The Daily Show’s Wyatt Cenac.
Parker said he’s hopeful, rather than nervous about the opportunity.
“At the end of the day, I still have to produce the goods,” he said.
Comedy is only part of Parker’s repertoire. His first short film, Afghan, won the jury award for best short film at the Viewfinders International Film Festival, amongst other honours.
The film stars Parker as a young filmmaker looking to use humour to cope with an anonymous act of racism.
Aside from working on developing sketch comedy routines for the CBS showcase, Parker is working on several projects including a modernized Bollywood-style film and a feature-length adaptation of Afghan.