Tragedy Plus Time: Calgary-based Comedian Jarvis Zawatsky

Jarvis Zawatsky is a Calgary-based comedian who got his start in comedy by first calling Saskatchewan comic Myles Morrison and asking where he should go, and then driving three and a half hours to do his first open mic at The Black Cat in Saskatoon. He claims to have bombed pretty hard during his first set, forgetting punchlines in front of a ton of friends who came out to support Jarvis but also says “Once you get that first laugh on stage, you’re hooked!”

Jarvis Zawatsky

How would you describe your comedy style?

I would say it’s very self-deprecating, I have a lot of boyish features so if I don’t bring attention to it, someone in the audience will… and has before!

Who are some of your influences?

Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the writers of South Park) have a fantastic ability to turn one idea into an entire 30-minute episode full of jokes, Bill Hader is a hilarious improviser and storyteller, Rodney Dangerfield was one of the quickest comedy minds ever and Eminem, of course, is a rapper, but his comedic wordplay/metaphors/double entendres are some of the best.

Who was your favourite comedian growing up?

Growing up I really enjoyed Will Ferrell’s ability to do whatever it takes to get a laugh. Whether it’s yelling or hurting himself it was always funny! Watching him tell a mall Santa that he wasn’t the real Santa is still one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen haha.

Who is your favourite comedian now?

My favourite comedian right now is Mark Normand. But I’ve also gotten into a lot of “older” comedy and comedians from before my time (pre-2001 haha). Leslie Nielsen in particular, I watch The Naked Gun movies all the time.

What is your pre-show ritual?

I always write down my setlist for the show in my joke book. Then I like to look around the room and audience to see if there’s anything worth making fun of before stepping on stage.

What is your favourite place you have performed? Why?

Having started during the pandemic, nothing beats any show without restrictions. From Calgary to small-town Saskatchewan, I love performing anywhere that people are there for comedy!

What is your favourite bit you have written and why were you proud of it?

I once wrote possibly THE worst joke ever.

“What do you call a bug that likes to golf? A Putterfly” So whenever I get that question every comedian dreads “Tell me a joke!” I tell them that one and they never ask me again haha.

What is your favourite medium for listening to or finding new comics/comedians?

The best way to find new comics is in person. If there’s a headliner I haven’t heard of before coming to a club near me and I’m free I like to go check out their set. Plus while doing open mics during the weekdays you get to see a wide variety of comics. However social media is a great way for people to get a quick laugh.

Tell us a joke about your city.

I grew up in a small town in Saskatchewan. There are a lot of things that happened out of pure boredom there that are funny enough on their own. There was a place outside my Dad’s hometown of Langenburg called Gopherville, where people literally captured and raced wild gophers. I’m not lying, look it up.

Do you have anything to promote right now?

Every Tuesday I’m at The Comedy Cave!

Where can we follow you?


PAY IT FORWARD: Who is another local comic/comedian we should know about?

Steve Taddy and Matthew Murray are two comics originally from Calgary worth checking out!


About Emilea Semancik 101 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to work as a freelance writer and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. Taking influence from journalism culture surrounding the great and late Anthony Bourdain, she is a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of books. You can find her food blog on Instagram: