Doom saw his first stand up comedy show way back in 1985. He was eighteen and celebrating his buddy Dave's nineteenth birthday. A bunch of them took their drunk asses to Yuk Yuk's Club in Ottawa. Jeremy Hotz, the headliner, was outrageously funny and had the crowd in hysterics doing his bit about a Russian weight lifter. Doom was blown away by the electrifying energy in the room.
The cheeky lad that he was, wanted a wee souvenir to always remind him of this amazing night so he carefully pried the dozens of staples out of the sticky vinyl tablecloth fastened to the table. At the end of the show, with his cheeks and stomach pained with laughter, he rolled up the hunk of plastic emblazoned with the original Yuk Yuk's logo and jammed it under his jacket. They ran out into the night where Doom whipped out the tablecloth and presented it to Dave as an impromptu birthday gift. Dave was thrilled and the celebrations continued across the river in Hull, Quebec.
Three months later Dave was dead. He died suddenly of a brain aneurysm while he and Doom were in Daytona Beach, Florida. His friend's sudden absence left a huge void in Doom's young life. Dave's parents were like his other family and after the funeral he went to their house. His mom graciously said he could take anything from his room. He took only the tablecloth.
The comedy club became his sanctuary. He was fascinated with the craft of comedy and wanted to be that guy standing up on stage. But he could hardly tell his parents, dad a military man and mom a government employee, whom had bought him a Registered education savings plan, “thanks but I want to be a comedian”.
So off he went to university, then on to the next institution going through the rigmarole of nine to five in a suit. He took a transfer with the Bank of Montreal to Calgary where it dawned on him there was more to life. Doom's conscience could no longer take selling “financial services” to people. If he was going to tell jokes, he wanted them to be laughing and not crushed with a mountain of crippling debt.
He became an avid student at amateur night at the Yuk Yuk's in the Blackfoot Inn. (The Elbow River Casino is now home to the club). He took notes, asked questions, and laughed – most of the time. His break finally came at a workshop. The manager of the club asked if he wanted to do five minutes. Time really did seem to slow down as he had an epiphany that he was about to have a life altering moment. The crowd enjoyed his set and best of all he finally was that guy up on stage under the spotlight. That night in his journal Doom wrote down his new mantra: “Make them laugh”.
Two months later Doom quit his job at the bank. He gave up benefits, a pension plan and a steady paycheck to launch head first into the world of comedy. But he wouldn't have it any other way, (perhaps a retirement plan would be nice to appease his dad). He is fortunate that his career takes him all over Canada to really crack people up - in a good way. His conscience is clear and he can play golf all day - on a Monday, if he wishes.
By the way, he still has that brown plastic Yuk Yuks' tablecloth hanging on his wall. (It's now relegated to the basement). It's a reminder of his friend Dave and that first experience of live stand up comedy.