100 Mile House will be getting a humorous shout out this month in a joke featured on the comedy album Long Stories For No Reason by Vancouver comedian John Cullen.
Some people in 100 Mile House may remember Cullen’s one and only show here four years ago at the 22nd Annual Business Excellence and Citizen of the Year celebrations. It’s at this event, specifically the silent auction, that Cullen bases the meat of his joke, titled Small Town Silent Auction.
While attending the event, Cullen said, he noted there was a “massive” silent auction table with between 30 to 40 prizes. The prize that went for the most money was a dump truck full of gravel.
“I think you can tell a lot about the town you’re in by what’s available at the silent auction. I’ve done lots of charity events where there are silent auctions and I’ve done high scale ones in Vancouver where the prizes are helicopter trips, rounds of golf at rare courses and trips to Hawaii,” Cullen said.
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“It was very funny to me that in 100 Mile House the prize that went for the most money was a dump truck full of gravel. The punchline of the joke was that – it’s funny that that is the prize but it’s also kind of a brag because people who live in 100 Mile House can afford a home, they have somewhere to put gravel.”
In Vancouver, Cullen lives in a 500-foot square apartment where he doesn’t have room for a bag of gravel, let alone a dump truck full of it. He then asks in the joke what he’d do with all that gravel in Vancouver and the best thing he could think of was dumping it on one of his enemies. It’s a joke people seemed to have really connected with, Cullen added.
Cullen had driven to 100 Mile House for the show and stayed in the Westwood Motel before performing at the community hall after the awards were given out. The energy in the town was high that year, he said because the 100 Mile House Wranglers had won the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League championship earlier that month and were in the finals for the Western Canadian Championship.
“There was a palpable buzz in the town that they were stoked for their hockey team. It was fun. I’d never been (before) but 100 Mile House is a nice little slice of the province, that’s for sure,” Cullen said.
When asked about it, Cullen laughed and said that talking to the Free Press was his “dream interview” as the idea of him writing a joke about 100 Mile and then getting a call from the local paper amused him.
The rest of the album consists of stories from his teenage years, jokes about teaching, going to a spin class for the first time, getting his appendix removed and other singular experiences in his life that he can tell in a funny way.
“People would describe me as an observational comic, the title of my album actually comes from my joke style, which is that my jokes tend to be much longer than a lot of comedians,” Cullen said. “The title of the album actually came from my girlfriend because we were talking one night and I said ‘do you ever get tired of me just talking all the time’ and she was like ‘oh no, I like it except when you tell long stories for no reason.’ I was like ‘that is actually a good description for my comedy and my life in general.’”
Taking stories from his real life and finding a way to poke fun at them defines Cullen’s comedy as he never wanted to alienate people. Cullen prefers to avoid edgy and political based humour and instead focuses on jokes everyone can enjoy.
Cullen, who works as a substitute teacher, said there’s a strong comedy scene on the west coast that often gets overlooked in favour of East Coast comedy hubs like Montreal.
“The natural beauty of this province is tough to give up, especially when you come from suburban Ontario where everything is flat and looks the same,” Cullen said.
Long Stories For No Reason is out Oct. 16 on Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Sirius XM and anywhere else online albums can be found.
“Anytime 100 Mile House wants to have me back (I’m game),” Cullen said. “If people listen to my album and are pissed off and want to come out and see me and express their rage, they can. I’d come back anytime. Please, if you’re reading this, bring me back.”