Two comics, Denis Grignon and Rick Currie, will be deriding smoking with their best jabs Friday at Little Montreal, 182 Elgin St. at 9 pm.
It is part of the It’s Canada’s Time to Quit Comedy Tour, which has focused on the benefits and challenges of quitting smoking.
Grignon, a standup comic and comedy writer, has made appearances on the Comedy Network’s Comedy at Club 54, and has a three-part series on camping, airing on CBC Radio One stations across the country.
He has also written humorous pieces on rural living for Harrowsmith Magazine and performs mostly at rural conventions and shows around the province. He was in Sudbury as a Yuk Yuk’s performer in the late 1990s.
Grignon is a non-smoker who has rallied against the habit since he had children —two boys, now eight and 10.
Currie performed at the Montreal Just For Laughs and Winnipeg comedy festivals and has been featured on CBC Radio One’s The Debaters. He is a former smoker.
“The tour is all about encouraging people to quit smoking. It’s about the connection between comedy and a healthy lifestyle,” said Grignon.
“If we can get people laughing, then they may forget, for a few hours, about the need to have a smoke,” he chuckled.
He said he also despises the fact that smokers think it is their right to litter the planet with their cigarette butts.
“I hate being around where people are smoking. They think flicking their butts on the ground is an entitlement. To me it is littering.”
He said he faced a real challenge when booked for an agricultural conference near Tillsonburg, in southwestern Ontario, three years ago.
“I found out, that in the audience, there were a horde of tobacco farmers, all smoking. Somehow they had gotten around the no-smoking law in a public place. They had ash trays the size of car hubcaps. Luckily, they didn’t throw them at me when I cracked joke after joke about smokers.”
Grignon is a franco-Ontarian, from Cornwall.
“I will ask if there are any franco-Ontarians in the audience. I will kibitz with them in French for a few minutes back and forth. Then I tell the anglophones I was just telling them where the fire exits are.”
He said he is also familiar with the rural lifestyle — including bugs.
“I hear you are having a lot of mosquitoes there now in Sudbury because of the rainy weather, even in the city itself. One thing about mosquitoes, there are 200 species in Ontario. They tend, as a species of bug, to be short-lived. But when one species dies off, there is another 199 to go,” he quipped.
“In my three-part series on camping for radio I have a whole section devoted to bugs. I went outdoors, gathered some tape and got advice from some of the experts. One thing I learned is that bugs like a moving target. So keep still."
In addition to the comics, Dr. Amanda Hey, a family physician with Sudbury Regional Hospital with smoking cessation expertise, is taking part in the event.
Greater Sudbury and northeastern Ontario in general, have a much higher percentage of daily and occasional smokers in the 20 years and older population, she said.
Admission is pay what you can. Donations will be accepted for the Ontario Lung Association. The campaign is sponsoured by Pfizer Canada, a Canadian pharmaceutical company. For more information, visit www.itscanadastime.com.