I want to vote for Charles Demers for Prime Minister of Canada.
It's not just the way that Demers appealed to my leftist tendencies; he's well spoken, funny, affable, and clearly a crowd favourite in his native Vancouver. Entering the stage on opening night of his one-man show Leftovers, Demers was greeted with a booming round of applause (I should note, this was just to make the pre-show announcements). The York Theatre was packed, buzzing with excitement. Demers even noted with amazement just how big the crowd was—there were way more people than he had expected. Eating dinner at the restaurant next door before I got to the theatre, I caught sight of multiples tables of people heading to the show.
But if you’re at all familiar with Demers work it's no surprise why so many people turned up that night. Demers has a rare charm that had the entire audience in the palm of his hand before the show had even started. Who knew that corporate sponsorship announcements could be so inspired?
Demers works from familiar territory, drawing from conventions of stand-up comedy, but takes it a step further, using the theatre venue to take things deeper—and a lot darker. The premise of Leftovers is political; somewhere close to a vindication of socialist ideals, but not quite a rally cry, Demers opines about the ways we’ve lost track of society’s previous goals before the time of Neoliberalism.
While a topic like this could easily get too preachy or alienating, Demers constantly finds a way to keep things grounded. By connecting everything back to his own family’s history in Vancouver, Demers lets the audience in, allowing everyone to feel why his politics are so important to him. This is also where his comedy experience really pays off, contrasting the serious nature of the political discussion with arguably the strongest emotional connection possible with the audience: laughter.
I'm hesitant to reveal too much about the goings-on of the show; considering Demers stand-up background it feels too similar to filming the show on my phone and posting it here for you to watch. All that I can do is assure you that Leftovers has much to offer its audience, including a lot of laughs and even a little bit of Tina Turner.
Leftovers runs until January 30, 2016, at the York Theatre. For tickets and showtimes, visit TheCultch.com.