When a comedian headlines a show, he usually feels that it’s the latest step in a series of successes that have brought him to the spotlight. But not Darrin Rose. “It all starts 12 years ago with a long series of failures,” he laughs. “In this business, you always kind of expect that you’re a fraud. That’s why it’s always fun to do new stuff, there’s a chance that it could all go wrong.”
When he starts his My Dad’s Other Son tour on Friday night at Neptune Theatre’s studio stage, he promises his audience a mix of his old comedy bits, and that terrifying new stuff. As Rose draws from his family life and personal experiences, that new material can also be a bit terrifying for everyone else in his life. “Sometimes I forget I’m telling private stories on stage,” he says. “My dad gives me a lot of notes on my shows. ‘That’s not what I said!’ and that kind of thing.”
One of his funniest bits is a story about a junior-high girlfriend, who cheated on him in Grade 8 and then got pregnant in Grade 9. “Yeah, I just sort of forgot she was a real person when I was telling that,” he says. “A while ago I ran into her sister and she reminded me.”
But that hasn’t made him shy about including a bit of acid-tinged reality in his shows. “People usually keep their anger pretty muted,” he says. “When I first started doing this, my mother said ‘Don’t you ever talk about me on stage,’ so I didn’t. Eight years later, she says ‘Well, OK. I guess it would be alright to talk about me if you want.’ So now I have this great story about her getting thrown out of a moving car, which was totally her fault, on Christmas Eve.”
An inveterate storyteller, Rose started out working in marketing at Heinz Ketchup (which sounds like a joke set-up, but he swears it’s true). He quickly realized that wasn’t for him, so he took his storytelling skills to the stage. “I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t doing this,” he says. “It’s all I can see doing. I don’t know…Maybe the ketchup thing. I wish I had a more rock-star answer for you—something with fireworks.”
While stand-up remains Rose’s true love, he’s also staying busy as Bill the Bartender on Mr. D and hosting the newest incarnation of The Match Game. While Rose is based in Los Angeles, he spends a lot of time in Halifax shooting Mr. D. And he’s delighted to be launching his new tour here. “I’ve been to Halifax a bunch and I’m always happy to come back,” he says. “Argyle Street is just my favourite place. You guys really seem to have drinking nailed.”
Rose performs on September 12 at the Neptune Theatre Studio Stage. The 8pm show is almost sold-out, but there are still seats left for the 10:30pm show.