Luck Helps In Harland Williams’ Busy World

Ottawa XPress – September 15, 2005

“Ever notice KFC is one letter away from spelling ‘fuck’?” asks funnyman Harland Williams over the phone from Los Angeles. “So why does everyone eat there?”

Funny Guy: Harland Williams

Considered one of Canada’s best standup exports, Canadian actor and comedian Williams is a success story. He’s been in Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, the cult favourite Half Baked and has regular appearances on Letterman and Leno. He’s also a Just for Laughs favourite – he hosted their 2002 tour, had a standup series on CBC in 2000 and 2001 and has performed at their festival eight times.

He’ll be performing live in Ottawa on Friday September 23 at Centrepointe Theatre as part of a five-city solo tour that kicks off in Belleville and finishes up in Halifax. Expect a guest appearance by his Barenaked cousin, Kevin, of those “Ladies.”

The movies help get his name out there while his stage characters feed into his movie roles. In fact, it was through standup that he was spotted by comedian Jim Carrey, who sang his praises and referred him for a role in Dumb and Dumber. Next thing he knew, he was on the big screen.

“The cool thing about movies is they’re locked in time,” he says, compared to standup comedy, where you see a show but remember only parts of it.

But it’s no problem for this guy to immortalize his talent. With a series of children’s books featuring his art and writing, a new book coming in 2006, a part in the upcoming feature film Surf School and Disney’s A Day with Wilbur Robinson, not to mention his work writing and directing a project with DreamWorks Animation, Williams has staying power. “You have to offer something unique,” he says. But he also credits a strong work ethic, belief, timing and “luck” for his stardom.

Tickets for his Centrepointe show (101 Centrepointe Drive) are $35.50 by calling 580-2700 or going to


Also at Centrepointe tonight (September 15), don’t miss Somebody…! an evening of comedy with Russell Peters and friends at Ben Franklin Place, Centrepointe Theatre ($43.50 at the box office, 580-2700 and online). The quick-witted comedian is best known for mastering characters of all races and cultures. His Comedy Now performance remains one of the most popular and most requested shows on The Comedy Network. Joining Peters is Scott Harris and Debra DiGiovanni.


At Yuk Yuk’s (88 Albert Street, 236-5233), September 15-17, it’s Tracy Smith who has a way of making men and women of all ages howl with laughter at the pain involved in the pursuit of happiness in the 21st century. Ending the month, September 29 to October 1, is Toronto’s Steve Patterson whose second full-length comedy CD, I Should Have Been Famous By Now, features over an hour of razor-sharp wit, insightful storytelling and original music satire that will leave listeners entertained and enlightened (

Join in the fun on Preston and come celebrate Absolute Comedy’s first anniversary on September 15. The club will treat you to Jim McNally and Montreal’s Jocko Alston. Then it’s champagne and snacks after every show with owners Jason Laurans and Rick Dorush and the comedians. Later this month, catch Cal Verducci with Thom Hancuff on September 22-24, then on September 28 to October 1 it’s Winston Spear and Vito D’Amico. Must-see, Jocko Alston, stars October 5-9. Then it’s more funny stuff with Perry Perlmuter and Slim Bloodworth, October 12-16. Absolute Comedy is at 412 Preston Street, 233-8000.

– Sylvie Hill