Michael Lynch is performing his one-man comedy show “Getting To Know Me” on January 29th at The LSPU Hall.
Lynch has been featured on CBC and performed at Yuk Yuks shows both on and off the island, but he is best known for the characters he plays in The Outhouse’s sketch comedy videos.
Lynch’s characters include Cecil O’Brien, a contrary middle-aged man from the Southern Shore, and Randy Lee, a young man who loves loitering at the Village Mall with a smoke tucked behind his ear.
In the recent, “The Cecil Christmas Special,” Cecil offers advice on how to save money and shut up bawling children during the holiday season. The video got over 8,000 views on YouTube and a stream of comments celebrating how authentically Lynch captures the dialect and attitude of a crotchety old bayman.
Lynch says that while his characters aren’t based on specific people, he does draw inspiration for them from his real life. Cecil is partly based on Lynch’s pop but he’s also a blend of different people Lynch met spending time around the bay as a kid.
“There’s always that old character kicking around Long Harbour, who hangs out by the wharf and has some wisdom to share about kids these days … and Randy Lee is like a skeet you’d find on Merrymeeting Road, which is where I grew up.”
A lot of Lynch’s comedy is about modern-day Newfoundland culture because he says, it’s what he knows best and what makes him laugh the most.
“Being in Newfoundland, there’s so much to make fun of, we’re such characters here, it’s hard not to talk about what you see everyday and what you see on the news.”
Lynch finds humour in our accents and quirky traditions (like mummering and screech ins) but his strongest material speaks to how being a have-not province has shaped who we are today; these jokes feel especially pertinent considering the present economic climate.
In The Outhouse’s “Ask a Skeet” video, Randy Lee gets annoyed when the interviewer refers to him as a skeet. However, in other moments Randy seems to take pride in label, boasting, “Skeets run George Street.”
Randy’s contradictory reactions to the loaded term, which usually refers to someone from a low-income background with a slacker attitude and a history of petty crime, might sometimes reflect our own relationship to being Newfoundlanders.
As a province we’ve struggled with how we’re perceived by the rest of the country. Our uncomfortable relationship with being a have-not province waffles between shame and pride at our own resourcefulness. It’s a relationship that Newfoundland comedians have been mining for material since Codco.
In “Getting To Know Me” Lynch will do stand up as himself but his alter egos will also make appearances. Cecil will break out his accordion in the second half of the show and if any mainlanders find themselves in the theatre they will be welcomed on stage to be screeched in.
“Getting To Know Me” will be Lynch’s last performance in Newfoundland before he moves to Calgary. Partly he is excited about moving because he believes performing for Albertans who aren’t as familiar with Newfoundland culture will force him to grow as a comedian.