TORONTO – If funnyman Jason Sudeikis leaves “Saturday Night Live” soon, as some have speculated he might, Toronto comic Darrin Rose is ready to step in.
“Man, I hope I get Jason Sudeikis’s spot. I’ve got my fingers crossed,” Rose said jokingly in a recent interview, noting people remark about his uncanny resemblance to Sudeikis “all the time.”
“When I’m in L.A., people on the street say ‘Hi’ to me. I mentioned to a buddy of mine there, ‘People are so friendly here,’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah, it’s friendly.’ And then we walk down the street and he goes, ‘Oh, I don’t get that (kind of attention). OK, they think you’re Jason Sudeikis.’ It’s crazy.”
Rose, who plays the bartender friend to Gerry Dee’s character on the CBC-TV series “Mr. D,” is performing standup on his first cross-country theatre tour. Called “Chasing Manhood,” it hits Toronto on Friday and London, Ont., on Saturday. It then travels to Calgary on April 20, Kelowna, B.C., on April 21 and Vancouver on April 22.
The Kelowna audience may even include his serpentine foe: the Ogopogo of Okanagan Lake.
Rose said his rivalry with the area’s fabled lake monster began about two weeks ago when he wrote an article for a national newspaper stating how nice Kelowna is and how he admires “the aplomb of a people who can build a legend out of what was, in all likelihood, a floating log.”
Someone with a Twitter account named The Ogopogo then tweeted to Rose that he was going to eat him when he arrived in Kelowna, which prompted a satirical tweeting match between the two.
“I just hope he shows up in costume and then we actually fight. That would be amazing. That would be the best climax to any show I could imagine,” said Rose, 36, noting he has no idea who’s behind the Twitter account.
“As far as I know, it’s the real monster just on his laptop with his little monster fingers looking for a Wi-Fi signal.”
Rose began his tour March 10 in Oshawa, Ont., where he grew up with his iron-worker brother and his burly dad, who taught him to “punch first and don’t drink from a straw.” By contrast, Rose was a nerd with an extensive collection of sci-fi and comic books.
Though a Sudeikis-resembling catch these days, Rose still clings to part of his geekdom: he has his comic books on display in his home, loves wearing cardigan sweaters, and in his tour poster he’s wearing a Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars T-shirt.
“I spent my whole childhood — and adolescence and early 20s — drawing schematics for my anti-gravity boots, which still don’t work. It’s terrible,” quipped the bearded Rose, decked out in a cardigan vest at a pub near his downtown apartment.
“I read a book about the dictionary recently, one about the periodic table of the elements. Basically anything that will lead you to not be interesting at a party is something I’m consuming.”
Meanwhile, the city he grew up in was “the home of teen pregnancy,” said Rose, who’s a regular cast member on the MuchMusic series “Video on Trial.”
“The rate is actually four times the provincial rate. We’re all quite proud of it. It really is. If you go to the mall in Oshawa you’ll see a lot of moms wearing Miley Cyrus T-shirts. It’s very common.”
Rose got a bachelor of commerce degree and was planning a career in marketing when he watched the 2002 documentary “Comedian” and decided to try his hand at live comedy.
He’s now been on the standup circuit for almost 10 years, delivering a fast-paced yet conversational brand of humour that’s been featured at various festivals and nominated for several awards.
“I just want to seem like a guy telling stories in this sort of Bill Cosby style, where my whole act is real things that happened to me that are not embellished,” said Rose, whose other TV credits include NBC’s “Last Comic Standing”
“I like that style, although it’s perhaps just lazy.”
Rose said his recent Oshawa gig marked the first time his dad got to see his show and he was “on the fence” as to whether he liked it.
“Afterwards he comes up and he tries to give me third-party feedback on it. He’s like, ‘I don’t know — when you were critical of me, it seemed like the crowd didn’t go for it.’ I’m like, ‘That’s not true at all, dad,'” Rose recalled with a laugh.
“And he’s like, ‘What if I was smarter in that joke?’ I’m like, ‘No, you weren’t at the time! Don’t try to make up lies in my show, dad. This is my time for revenge, not yours.'”