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Seriously Funny

Author: Jeff Tiessen
Courtney Gilmour at microphone
Courtney Gilmour is a Canadian stand-up comedian whose performances include her experiences as a congenital triple amputee. JUNO nominated, she’s a television writer, finalist on Canada’s Got Talent, and a sought-after comedy talent.
thrive: Who chooses stand-up comedy as a profession?

Courtney: Great question. I think people who are deeply unwell!

thrive: Did you choose comedy as a profession, or did it choose you?

Courtney: I always felt that there was a performative quality to my personality, but I never knew exactly what I needed to do to tap into. Growing up, I tried different arts, like dancing and singing. I just had this feeling that there was something about me that wanted to perform. I just didn’t know what it was. It’s not like I always wanted to be a standup comic. I didn’t even know it was an option. It just all happened accidentally.

thrive: How does standing on stage telling jokes to strangers happen by accident.

Courtney: My first time was at a fundraiser that I was helping to organize. I was making arrangements with the professional comic who was the headliner. The comic said, “you sound like you have a good sense of humour. Would you be interested in doing a five-minute opening spot?” I was taken aback but it piqued my curiosity, so I said “sure” and wrote a five-minute set. I’m so glad I didn’t film it. I would hate to watch that back or expose anyone else to it.

“I’m always telling people to keep the change, and people think that I have a very generous spirit. In reality, it’s just more convenient for me.”

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