You might as well surrender now because you are no match for “babyface” Weldon. He will win you over with his twinkly gaze and razor sharp wit. A transplant from the land of hockey and poutine, Will Weldon is making his mark on the LA comedy scene. His comedy style is reminiscent of Woody Allen, only much less whiney. Will has performed at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Seattle Comedy Competition and is a regular at the Hollywood Improv. He’s had several TV and commercial roles and will be winning audiences over at Riot LA and the San Francisco Comedy and Burrito Festival. PLEASE be sure to check out his as well because it is priceless! Johnny Pemberton step aside because there’s a new kid in town and he means business.
Serial Optimist: Hi Will! What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
Will Weldon: “Commencing Anxiety!”
SO: 3…2…1…As a Canadian, what do you feel are the most common misconceptions Americans have about your nation and its people?
Will: Canadians are about 25% as polite as everyone gives us credit for. We just wait for everyone to leave the room before we disparage them. Also, we have way more fresh water than anyone realizes, but we enjoy that being a secret.
SO: She peers at her murky glass. What part of Canada did you grow up in? Has your family influenced your style of comedy? When did you first realize you wanted to pursue comedy as a career?
Will: I grew up in Calgary, where my family influenced my style of comedy by allowing me to watch hours and hours of sit-coms and old Just for Laughs galas. If only they’d known the ramifications of their actions! And I don’t know that I ever really had a moment where I went “Comedy is my career!” I just kept doing it, until I sort of realized “I guess this is what I want to do.”
SO: Why do you think so many comedic superstars migrated to the States and made it big, i.e. Dan Aykroyd, Rick Moranis, John Candy, Michael Cera, Jim Carrey, Phil Hartman, etc. etc.? Are there secret comedy mills we don’t know about?
Will: The industry in Canada is so small, that the best comics tend to leave to make more money and get more exposure. But it’s so much more difficult now, with immigration being so tough, I think that’s why it’s so slowed down recently. And we just seem so comedically gifted because Americans are only exposed to Canada’s best. If there are secret comedy mills, I guarantee you they make just as much defective product as their American counterparts.
SO: Defective? Neeeeever. Who are your comedy mentors?
Will: I’m a bit of an emotionally closed-off person, so if I actually named the comics who had a way bigger impact on me than I’ve ever let on, they’d probably be creeped out by it (but Jonah Ray is one of them).
SO: I think Jonah creeped out Joan Rivers on Nerdist, so it’s all good. What made you make the relocation plunge? What are some of the strangest experiences you’ve had in Los Angeles? Are Americans really “the friendliest bunch of pricks”?
Will: My wife (then girlfriend) wanted to move before she got too old, and she’d worked in Canada and gotten some press so she got a work Visa for the States. I proposed and then tagged along. I had also burned out on Toronto, it can be a pretty tough city, and I’d just lost confidence in my comedy. I honestly believe I was one of the last people comics in Toronto thought would have any success here n LA (I look forward to one day proving them wrong.)
I haven’t really had any strange experiences in LA. There’s an abundance of really expensive cars and brazenly obvious plastic surgery. That’s something I’ll never get used to. I’ll also never really adapt to the way Americans really are the friendliest assholes. I had a hard time summing up how I thought Americans interacted with each other, so I was happy when I stumbled on that. It’s absolutely true.
Will Weldon at Holy F****
SO: We try. You have a great prison rape joke that I will not even attempt to do justice. Consult the Old Man Wheldon blog for video. Living in a post Tosh.o rape joke age, is there any subject matter you won’t touch?
Will: I will never make jokes about the TV show “Entourage”. It’s just too important, too meaningful, to too many people.
Seriously though, thank you for the compliment. I won’t make jokes on stage that I would be uncomfortable making just in regular conversation. If I can’t defend the viewpoint of a joke, I don’t bother with it.
SO: I love your Bill Burr impression. Does it have his seal of approval (BECAUSE IT SHOULD!)? Do you do any others?
Will: I don’t, and it doesn’t, and if Bill Burr ever mentioned that to me I’d probably feel like throwing up. He’s one of my favorites, and I’d be nervous it would make me look like a fan instead of a fellow comic (but I think the impression is pretty good, so I leave the video up, because a man still has his pride).
SO: Yes!! You’ve had some roles on TV and in commercials. Do you have any horrible audition stories for us?
Will: Commercial auditions are, at best, just a giant time suck. But one time I went in for a commercial that called for me, and the lady I went in with, to make out really aggressively. Like, scar a child aggressive (that was in the breakdown). I don’t know if she was unaware what the audition called for, or if she was just wildly unimpressed with me, but she was really uninvested in the audition, keeping her mouth closed and clenching her teeth. But I needed the money really badly, so I still gave it my all, and by the end I felt like I had just forced this poor woman to kiss me against her will. I literally went home and took a shower.
SO: That is one for the memoirs! Do you enjoy testing out your material on Twitter? You can certainly pump them out quick! What percentage of jokes tested out on Twitter do you end up using on stage?
Will: That sounds like a masked non-compliment. “You tweet so much!” It’s like when you walk off stage and someone says “you looked like you were really having fun up there.” It’s commenting without giving an opinion on the quality of something. So, my point is, HOW DARE YOU! THIS INTERVIEW IS OVER?! But I don’t really use jokes from my twitter on stage. A lot of what I tweet is just self-righteous political statements, so it wouldn’t do very well on stage (but would still fit with much of my act).
SO: My first unintended insult. I’m so proud. As an up and coming comedian, what have been your greatest setbacks to date? What have you learned along the way?
Will: I have a bit of a self-sabotage complex, so up until the last two years I didn’t bother applying myself in important situations. It took me six years to finally go “Maybe I should stop trying to protect my sensitive feewings and actually try to do a good job.” I have an incredibly condescending inner-monologue.
SO: I see that. Are you more of an optimist, pessimist, or realist, and why?
Will: I say realist, which probably means pessimist. It goes back to my not trying in important situations, so that when I fail I can go ‘Of course I failed, I didn’t try.” If you expect the worst, it’s very exciting when things turn out well.
SO: Indeed. And finally, this is the part of the interview where you get to plug away to your heart’s content.
Will: I’m not sure when this comes out, but I’m doing some shows at the Riot LA Festival (Sept 21-23) as well as the San Francisco Comedy and Burrito Festival (Oct 11-13). I’m not sure what part of that festival I’m more excited for. My Twitter handle is @oldmanweldon. If you see me walking my dog, don’t make eye contact with him, because that makes him angry and he will lash out. He is truly my son.
SO: Good luck! Prove those jealous Kanucks wrong.
SO Note: Follow Will @oldmanweldon and check his site out right……… .