By: Jillian Clark – mtltimes.ca
Being a comedian isn’t always easy, especially when you’re cracking jokes in a new language. It takes a lot of work, and includes a few crickets along the way. However, French Canadian comedian, Sebastien Bourgault, leaves English comedy clubs chuckling. He fills rooms with laughter from his fresh jokes and inspiring story.
Sebastien’s lifelong dream is to live and perform in Los Angeles. The biggest challenge that stood in his way: he was almost forty, and couldn’t speak English.
Step one: learn English—and learn it fast. “My goal was to learn English in 5 years, but I did it in 4.” Starting from an English vocabulary of about 50 words, and now performing on stage for crowded rooms of Anglophones is an accomplishment enough. But Bourgault hopes to go farther. “I want to go to Los Angeles,” Bourgault says. “This is my biggest dream.”
By breaking down his larger goal into small, attainable steps, Bourgault moves closer to his goal each day. He recently moved to Toronto where he lives near the entertainment district and performs at comedy clubs across the city, as well as in London, Ottawa, Niagara Falls, and the greater Toronto area. If you’re in the city, Yuk Yuks comedy club is a good place to find him.
To uproot your life, and move to a new city is a feat for anyone, especially when the move requires a language and cultural shift.
His first show was when Sebastien was in high school, and his career on stage only went up from there. Throughout the years he grew into an established French comedian, performing at well-known festivals, like our very own Just for Laughs. “I did 2000 shows in French. But I was not very happy.”
“I had a great career in French, but I always wanted to do comedy in English,” Bourgault explains. The hard fact of comedy is that, in North America, your jokes have to be in English in order to reach the broadest possible audience—especially if your real target is an audience in Hollywood.
Our favourite side-splitting star comedian from Quebec is more than just a fun time. His daily conduct is driven by deeply rooted inspirations to strive for his life-long dreams. “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything,” he says. “Everything is possible. If you don’t give up and you focus on your goal, it’s possible. I’m the proof.”
Learning a new language is a challenge in itself, but finding a funny groove in a language new to you is even more difficult. “I had to bomb a lot of shows,” Bourgault shares. “I had to find a rhythm. People respond differently in Ontario and Quebec.” His positive, go-getter attitude pushes Sebastien one step closer to his goal each day.
Now, his schedule is packed with shows across both provinces, and he often visits Los Angeles for a couple weeks at a time to perform at Improve Hollywood and Comedy Store LA—well-known comedy clubs in the city. These are the same clubs that started Jim Carrey’s career—one of his biggest inspirations in the world of funny-business. There’s no slowing down when you’re chasing a dream, especially one in the arts scene.
Sebastien Bourgault hopes to be settled in Las Angeles within the next 10 years: “No matter what, I am going to be in LA someday.”
Despite his dreams to leave Canada, and current Toronto residency, it’s not too late for Montreal to laugh with him! Sebastien returns to Montreal to perform every few weeks. Follow his Facebook page Sebastien Bourgault to catch him in action.
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