James Mullinger: “Living the Canadian Dream”

Photo Credit: Mark Hemmings
Photo Credit: Mark Hemmings

On Thursday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m., stand-up comedian James Mullinger performed his show, “Living the Canadian Dream,” at the Imperial Theatre. The performance by Canada’s new resident promised laughter and did not disappoint.

Local comedian Neal Mundle was the opening act for Mullinger, and a strong one at that. The comedian appealed to the audience by telling various stories about his four children and his pets. Mundle painted a picture of his chaotic household and the ridiculous things that occur on a daily basis, like his son’s first experience with alcohol. Mundle invited the audience into his life, his stories and jokes making the crowd feel as if they had experienced those things personally.

Following Mundle’s opening performance, James Mullinger appeared on stage waving the New Brunswick flag excitedly. Running back and forth across the stage, it was obvious to those in the audience that Mullinger was eager to be performing in the town that he now calls home.

Mullinger’s show started off with jokes about how close knit people are in Saint John, but especially on the Kingston Peninsula. Even though Mullinger is not originally from a small town, his wife is from the Peninsula. Because of this, Mullinger knows exactly what it was like to be in a place where everyone knows each other, and in his words, where “everyone is related.”

Photo Credit: Ryan Lavigne
Photo Credit: Ryan Lavigne

One segment of Mullinger’s show that stood out was when he read reviews that had been posted on Trip Advisor about Saint John and the attractions that are here. It is a well-known fact that many, if not all, residents of Saint John are very proud of their small town and the attractions that are here. So when Mullinger began reading bad reviews about the city, the audience reacted with disbelief that anybody would say something negative about their great city. Mullinger made sure to involve the audience in the segment, making them feel as if they were part of the show.

Throughout the show, the Imperial Theatre was filled with nothing but laughter, Mullinger was adept at cracking the audience up.

During an interview after the show, Mullinger answered the question that everyone seemed to have: what brought him to Saint John, New Brunswick? Mullinger answered enthusiastically, stating, “We had our second child and realized that life in London was never going to change, we’d always be working. It’s also not a good quality of life. It was the quality of life as the main reason.”

Mullinger explained how the show came to be, stating, “The show evolved over the six months here. I toured a show in England called living the dream…it was a completely different show. It was all tales of failures in my life, things that have gone wrong… people could laugh at my misfortune… by doing gigs around Saint John for the last six months, all this material started growing… the down beat nature of the show no longer applied to my life, I was suddenly happy and living the Canadian dream… over the last six months… it all started evolving… I would take something out and put something in.”

“It’s basically a one-time thing, I can’t see a situation where I would be doing that show again… it was basically for tonight… That hour and 20 minute show was for tonight… This time next year it will have to be an almost completely different show because the people here tonight are going to want to see new stuff”.

Photo Credit: Ryan Lavigne
Photo Credit: Ryan Lavigne

When asked which comedians have inspired and influenced him, Mullinger responded by saying, “Mostly Canadian stand ups. Derek Seguin who is actually coming to perform in Saint John in December. Katherine Ryan, Pete Johansson, Alyson June Smith. All hilarious and brilliant stand ups working in London. And I love local stand up legends like Shane Ogden, Lloyd Ravn and Neal Mundle. I have also always loved Jerry Seinfeld.”

Not only is Mullinger a famous comedian, the talented Brit has also made appearances in various movies and television shows. “I was in three movies last year. Vendetta and Assassin both with my hero Danny Dyer and produced by the best independent British producer of all time, Jonathan Sothcott. And I was honoured to be in a horror movie in 3D! Crypt 3D directed by the legendary Mark Murphy.” On TV shows, Mullinger states that he is “most proud of my new one for Bell Aliant, Blimey! An Englishman in Atlantic Canada.”

James Mullinger’s highly anticipated performance at the Imperial Theatre was a definite success, proving that not only is the comedian living the Canadian dream, he’s including everyone else in it. For those who could not attend Mullinger’s show, there will still be plenty of opportunities to see the comedian. Since moving to the great white north, Mullinger has been touring more locally, and will be performing more shows not only in the Maritimes, but all over Canada.

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