Longtime stand-up, writer, and television personality (you may recognize him from Video on Trial, or CBC’s Mr. Dee), Rose is no stranger to the stage or screen. But this year, his solo stand-up tour “Chasing Manhood”, has changed the game. “It’s really fun to do shows for people who want to see me specifically,” Rose said over the phone last week. “When I open for those guys [at Massey Hall, etc.], nobody knows I’m going to be on the show. So it’s fun going from the “Who’s that guy?” to “This is the guy I wanted to see!”
More likely to be found playing pinball than ordering a highball, Rose is coming to U of T on April 13. While his tour “Chasing Manhood” focuses on his childhood desire to make his father proud and the tribulations of sibling rivalry, there’s nothing inaccessible about his brand of humour to those with lady parts. He has a unique—and all too rare—ability to win an audience, without going for low blows or an innuendo-laden punchline. He’s sharp but not cutting, smooth but not slimy, and could almost certainly explain the origin story of any X-Men character. In short, it’s almost impossible not to like his style.
Resembling a bearded, cardigan-clad Jason Sudekis, Rose makes no attempt to hide his nerdy past—and present. “‘Chasing Manhood’ is about the certain kind of manliness that my brother and dad espoused,...their rules were things like, punch first; and don’t drink from a straw. Meanwhile, I’d be in my room drawing schematics for anti-gravity boots,” he explained. An all-around affable guy, Rose takes his comedy and comic books, seriously. When asked to pick his favourite comic book character, his tone took on a certain gravitas: “I will not answer this casually.... I think I’m going to go with Colossus from the X-Men. He’s a huge Russian guy whose skin turns into organic steel...I’ve been working on my elixirs and standing near electrified fences; so yes, it’s something I’m working towards actively.”
Although Toronto is his home, Rose is often too busy traveling to stay in the city. “I probably only spend about a third of my time here. I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms wondering, “Is it 8 o’clock yet?” he said. As for his memories of the University of Toronto, however, yet another past-time is revealed. “I used to rollerblade across the campus to get to my first writing job...wait, I should have said I used to motorcycle! Well, I’m still chasing manhood I guess.”
Darrin Rose appears April 13 at Innis Town Hall. Tickets $27 through uofttix.ca