“Joey is one of the funniest comics to ever come out of Montreal”
Bruce Hills, President, Just For Laughs

Joey Elias is recognized as one of Canada’s finest comics, performing throughout Canada and internationally. He has been selected as a frequent headliner at Just For Laughs, one of North America’s premiere comedy festivals.

He has travelled to dangerous war zones in Afghanistan to perform for our Canadian troops.

In the highly competitive AM radio business; Joey maintains excellent ratings for his nightly comedy show on CJAD, Montreal’s number-one radio station. All this started on April 8, 1992 when Joey stepped up to a Comedy Nest microphone – because he had lost a bet.

“I was pretty good in school, and had an interest in Political Science. However, I lacked discipline in CEGEP, and after trying Vanier and Centennial, I went to work.” While he may not have a university degree, Joey is a voracious reader, consuming several newspapers every day.

“I sold telephones, pagers, and even worked in a relative’s watch business. I did filing, shipping, and packing – whatever had to be done.” As Joey began his fledgling comedy career, he continued to maintain his ‘day job’. “I’d close up the phone store at 9 pm and rush down to the club where I was performing.”

“In the beginning, I did a lot of Amateur Night performances. I loved it! You wait all week for your chance to get up on stage for 7 minutes. I’d write out all of my jokes and routines, fine tuning them before using them with a live audience.” Joey’s preferred rehearsal space? “The shower – it’s all done in the shower. I’m not kidding! There’s a good sound, nobody’s there to judge you. If the shower’s good enough for singers, why not comedians?”

Joey responds to the question if he was the class clown; “My friends and I were the class clown by committee. They’ve all gone on to successful careers; one is a speech writer, another is a doctor, and one works at a senior level in the government.” Continuing, Joey says, “You have to be mentally agile to be successful in stand up comedy. If I had become a politician; nobody would believe me. As a comic, I can see their wheels turning – maybe he’s got something there.”

Joey was soon invited by other comedians to tour with them as their opening act. “I travelled and learned from watching the best. I’d perform for 10 to 15 minutes to open shows for David John McCarthy, David Acer and John Rogers. Not only did I learn from watching them, we’d critique the shows at dinner later in the evening.”

Joey also won support from Terry Di Monte and Ted Bird who were anchoring the morning show at CHOM in the mid 90s. “I played a character that’d phone in and speak Italian French! Many people in the Italian community speak French with an Italian accent. I’d phone in with this accent and it certainly helped my Montreal-area recognition.”

Joey caught the attention of the talent scouts for Just For Laughs, the Montreal summer comedy festival that is instrumental in launching the careers of so many comedians, including Tim Allen. Joey has performed at 11 Just For Laughs Festivals, including 3 Galas. He has performed in two Just For Laughs cross-Canada tours.

Joey went to Afghanistan to entertain Canadian troops in 2004 and 2007. He also performed for Canadian soldiers in Rwanda in 1995 and in Haiti in 1996. “In the forces, everyone is a Canadian. I see Francophone soldiers from Quebec, Acadia, Ontario and Manitoba working side-by-side with their Anglo counterparts.

They’ve got each other’s backs. Their shoulder patch says ‘CANADA’ – and that’s what they are – Canadians.”

“We came back in ’07 with a soldier that had been killed. When we arrived in Trenton, you could see all the people gathered outside the fence, and his family on the tarmac. And then you hear the bagpipes start to play… I don’t care who you are – you cry.”

Joey’s support of our veterans and soldiers currently serving has spawned an idea for public observance beyond November 11th. “Right after Halloween, we have Christmas decorations in the stores. How about if we dedicate the first 12 days of November to our veterans and soldiers? From November 1st to the 11th. We can let the holiday shopping wait until November 12th.”

Three years ago, returning from Edmonton after a New Year’s Eve performance, Joey learned of the graffiti vandalism inflicted on the Legion in Lachine. “I contacted them and suggested that we do a benefit comedy night, with all the proceeds going to the cleanup.”

Joey has also established a diabetes-related charity to raise funds for research and equipment at The Children’s Hospital. Joey himself was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes on April 8, 2005. “I had to really focus on living a healthier lifestyle, which included losing a lot of weight. Fortunately, I don’t have to take a lot of medication, just one pill per day.”

His primary fundraiser is a golf tournament at Ile Perot Golf Club in early August. The 2010 tournament takes place on August 16th. “We have a great day and I’m thankful for the support from our sponsors, the Astral radio stations and of course – the participants.”

Joey knew the late Ernie Butler well, having performed many times at Butler’s Comedy Nest. When Ernie passed away from inoperable cancer, Joey was asked to take on two of Ernie’s roles. CJAD asked him to host The CJAD Comedy Show weeknights at 11pm. “The first thing I did was speak with Ernie’s family. They were supportive and I’ve been hosting the show ever since. CJAD has been terrific with me. They support my charity work and allow me to promote the events on air. They also recognize that I have a performing career, and they accommodate my absences when I’m out of town for a show.”

The second request came from The Erin Sports Association, asking Joey to host and MC the Irishman of The Year breakfast. “That’s another one I inherited from Ernie. I had been one of the performers for 6 or 7 years; and when they asked me, they said ‘Look – you already know how it works’. It’s a prestigious event, and the Erin Sports association does so much good work with the funds they raise that I consider it an honour to work with them, especially with my friends Danny Gallant and Ken Doren Jr.”

Joey’s career is diversifying as he obtains more acting roles in films. He’s taken acting lessons from renowned acting coach Jacqueline McClintock. He appeared in The Art of War, Redeemer, and the huge hit The Day After Tomorrow starring Dennis Quaid and The Wool Cap with William H. Macy. “Some of the roles are substantial, but they have me dying a lot. There’s no sequel for me”

Joey gives 150 to 200 performances a year. “Sometimes I’ll do two in a night. At the Festival, I might do 14 shows in 6 nights.” Joey always finds time to lend his formidable talent to charity events. Joey is also in high demand for corporate events, which take him to Reno, Nevada; West Palm Beach and beyond. He is regularly asked for repeat engagements; “It’s flattering that many organizers consider me a part of their event.”

Being a comedian is a solitary existence; “I usually travel alone, dine alone, and perform alone. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m very happy – I’m doing exactly what I want to do professionally, and I’m able to make a contribution through my charity.”

For information about upcoming performances, visit Joey’s web site: www.joeyelias.com

Joey at Just For Laughs

Bruce Hills and the folks at Just For Laughs have confirmed that Joey Elias will again be part of this year’s festival. The English events run from July 7 to 18. For more information, please visit: www.hahaha.com

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