A true gritter with a big sense of humour! I was excited to find out more about this comic with a camera. I met with stand-up comedian/photographer, D. Bruce Gammie and listened to tales of grit in the comedy world.
My interview with Bruce Gammie……..
Can you tell me what a typical day in the life of a comedian/photographer is like?
Well I’ve been waiting for hip surgery, so my days have been atypical for the last 3 years. Prior to my hip giving out, I worked in film and did pics and did stand up. So now my days are kind of about dealing with the pain, and trying to get out at night and tell jokes and take pics.
Being a funny-man, what is a common misperception of you?
I think a common misperception is that I “don’t have a job”. I do, or did anyway, it just doesn’t make a lot of money. Also, oddly, people think I’m a little angry when I meet them because my face sets in a reasonably intimidating fashion when in repose. It’s just from trying to not look high when I am, but it can be a bit scary…I am so not a tough guy, ya know? …(But I don’t get heckled much…)
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear? That I’ll lose my sense of humour. I did once already, and sat on my deck for 3 years. Just a bit of severe depression. But that sucked…Never again in a million years.
Funniest movie you’ve ever seen?
Funniest movie?…Apocalypse Now…No wait…Well that’s a tough one, because there are so many good ones. I’d hate to have to nail it to one. I use to love the old Peter Sellers Pink Panther flicks, but then there’s Steve Martin’s work, Bill Murray, all the rest. For nostalgia sake, I will go with Airplane. First time I saw it I could not stop laughing.
Have you ever been heckled on stage?
Sure, I get heckled once in a while, but I shut them down quickly.
When we met we discussed that being funny can often be a mask or defence mechanism? Do you find that you use humour to avoid uncomfortable situations or emotions?
Well that’s a tough one…Hey! Let’s go roller-blading!
What was key to overcoming stage anxiety?
Time in, time on stage, time writing, time doing it. Time, time, time.
How often have you felt like giving up comedy? When it comes up, how do you keep going?
No, I’m a very stubborn man, and gotten to many laughs and done to many shows with other great comics, to go away. It’s who I am.Those three years of depression, when I walked away from comedy, left me feeling like part of me was missing. So don’t want to go through that again.
You often photograph comedians here in Victoria, what else do you like to photograph?
I love shooting nature…Birds and bugs. Capturing that moment when a bird streaks by is a lot of fun.
What would you consider to be the hardest part about being a comedian?
Well I would have to say the hardest part of being a comedian is …um…Destitution?
How do you handle times of discouragement?
Well when you take enough body blows, eventually you get used to them. Plus you make lists of those who have wronged you.
What makes you happy?
Not having anything looming over me that will disrupt my life. Like say, an arthritic hip….
Funniest man/woman on the planet?
No such thing…There are degrees in everything, and one day it’s somebody, then the next it’s someone else. In Victoria, it’s probably Sean Proudlove. He’s not alone though, there are some great acts here.
Can you give advice to anyone who is staring out in the business?
Please go away. Ok, you won’t go away? Then be original, and for the love of god, deal with your personal issues such as misogyny, homophobia or dating issues somewhere else. Unless it’s really funny, then go ahead. It just usually isn’t.
A motto you live by is?
A motto I live by? I just TRY to be a good human being…Doesn’t always fly, but I try.
You told me not to ask you this, but I want to see if I can get an answer… can you tell me a joke?
How many Teamsters does it take to screw in a lightbulb? TWELVE. You got a PROBLEM with that?