Duo prepping parodies to entertain you in Barrie
It’s tough to get serious with Bowser and Blue.
In a telephone interview one Tuesday afternoon, George Bowser and Rick Blue just couldn’t stop the jokes, one-liners and comical observations about life in Canada.
“We’ve been playing together since 1978. We’re starting to forget,” said Bowser, when asked about how the long-time partners in song and comedy keep their act fresh.
There are taboo topics and bad words, and some of them change with the times. In Quebec, however, the f-word is still federalism.
“Canadians love political comedy,” he said, before even being told this year’s Barrie International Comedy Festival kicks off with a roast that includes Mayor Jeff Lehman and MP Patrick Brown. They were tipped off about Brown’s love of hockey and wanted to know more about what favourite his position — on the ice — is.
“One (municipal) politician said to me ‘individually we can do nothing, but collectively, we can decide to do nothing,’” said Ricky Blue.
Bowser and Blue found each other through process of elimination. Both enjoy making music and the talent pool in Montreal was quite limited as they each searched for English and non-disco in the late 1970s when disco still ruled the club scene. They combined their acoustic guitar skills and accented their act with Blue’s harmonica and Bowser’s electric guitars and banjo.
“We started just doing songs in pubs as a duo, all sorts of different styles,” said Blue.
“It was a blast, Montreal in the 1980s. Comedy came in big time and we were two doors down from a comedy club. We’d make jokes between songs.”
Comedians would pop by the pub before or after their show and catch the duo on stage. There was some cross-pollination and Bowser and Blue began writing songs that offer humorous insight into life in Canada as well as peppering their act with one-liners or short insightful quips that cause a chuckle or smirk.
They met Weird Al Yankovic, known for his parodies and use of up-to-date tunes.
“He was very nice, but he said he wasn’t interested in talking to us. He was interested in chasing girls. Girls are not interested in chasing comics. (A comedy career) is a dead-end for romance,” Bowser said.
“We also discovered after writing funny songs, you can record them and collect royalties, which you cannot do if you’re a joke writer. People will steal your jokes and you won’t get paid.”
The duo was chased down and told to stop singing the Japanese Song, sung to a Beatles melody.
Bowser and Blue have since produced an array of songs, some captured on CDs and on YouTube.
Working Where the Sun Don’t Shine, which debuted on Madly Off in All Directions in 1997, has made them famous around the world, particularly with colorectal surgeons.
They’ve appeared at the Just for Laughs comedy festival and regularly entertain for Snowbirds before and during their time south. They cope with February by taking their act –— and a taste of home — to Canadians wintering in Florida, Texas and Arizona.
But the best way to beat the blues, ever, is to laugh.
And they figure their show will extend their life — and those who join them — by a few hours.
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