Paul Bates Copy

Canadian Chat

Megan Vincent

Joe Szekeres

From the Sonar Network website: A veteran of Toronto comedy stages, Paul got his start at The Second City, where he wrote and performed in six revues. Other stage credits include SlapShot Live, It’s A Wonderful Toronto, The Soaps: The Live Improvised Soap Opera! An Inconvenient Musical; and SARSical, for which he received a Dora Award nomination.

On television Paul played Jeff on Dan For Mayor (CTV), and has also appeared in The Stanley Dynamic, The Ron James Show, Odd Squad, Against The Wall, and Puppets Who Kill. Film credits include The Tuxedo, Welcome to Mooseport, and Camille. He’s won numerous Canadian Comedy Awards and received NOW Magazine’s 2013 Reader’s Choice Award for Best Male Improvisor.

Paul and I conducted our interview via email. His credits listed here make me want to see his work live sometime soon. I’ve included his most recent promotion at the conclusion of his profile.

Thank you for your time, Paul:

Since we’ve just celebrated Thanksgiving, tell me about some of the teachers and mentors in your life for whom you are thankful and who brought you to this point in your life as a performing artist.

I had some very good early teachers who introduced me to acting and who supported my enthusiasm for the performing arts: Greg Hertel and Chris Brower. I also tend to think of my directors at Second City as mentors who taught me a lot about acting, improv, writing and directing: Paul O’Sullivan, Bob Martin, Chris Earle, Mick Napier, and Sandra Balcovske. I’m grateful to them all.

I’m trying to think positively that we have, fingers crossed, moved forward in our dealing with Covid. How have you been able to move forward from these last 18 eighteen months on a personal level? How have you been changed or transformed on a personal level?

Like so many of us I spent a lot of the last 18 months at home and saw a lot fewer people. So personally, my growth came in the form of strengthening bonds with a very small handful of friends. I’ve come through the pandemic with the strongest friendships I’ve ever had, and with a much stronger family life too.

How have these last eighteen months of the pandemic changed or transformed you as an artist professionally?

These months in lockdown - especially when nothing was going on professionally - were a great opportunity to ask myself what I wanted from my career, what I expected of the industry, and what I love about performing. I feel much more focussed now in terms of artistic and career goals.

In your opinion, do you see the global landscape of the professional Canadian live theatre scene changing at all as a result of these last 18 months?

I think initially there will be a struggle to bring audiences back safely. But once they feel safe and ready to return, they’ll be so hungry for a live experience. I’m hopeful that theatres will be able to capitalize on that energy.

What excites/intrigues/fascinates/interests Paul Bates post Covid?

Honestly? The possibility of auditioning for something in person again.

What disappoints/unnerves/upsets Paul Bates post Covid?

Any premature lifting of safety restrictions that ends up dragging out this nightmare in the long run.

Where does Paul Bates, the artist, see himself going next?

A return to collaboration both for the stage and in digital media, particularly podcasts, which I enjoy more than I thought I would.

Where does Paul Bates, the person, see himself going next?

A secluded cabin to play board games with my friends.

RAPID ROUND

Try to answer these in a single sentence. If you need more than one sentence, that’s not a problem. I credit the late James Lipton and ‘Inside the Actors’ Studio’ for this format.

If you could say one thing to one of your mentors or favourite teachers who encouraged you to get to this point as an artist, what would it be?

Thanks for the encouragement!

If you could say something to any of the naysayers in your career who didn’t think you would make it as an artist, what would that be?

I’m sorry, I can’t get you comps!

What’s your favourite swear word?

Horsedicks.

What is a word you love to hear yourself say?

Laborious.

What is a word you don’t like to hear yourself say?

No.

What would you tell your younger personal self with the knowledge and wisdom life experience has now given you?

Don’t waste a single second worrying if you’re good enough.

With the professional life experience you’ve gained over the years, what would you now tell the upcoming you from years ago who was just in the throes of beginning a career as a performing artist?

Try new things. Get a weird, bad job - just for the experience.

What is one thing you still wish to accomplish both personally and professionally?

Oh, just to silence the internal critic once and for all, you know the one.

Name one moment in your professional career as an artist that you wish you could re-visit again for a short while.

I’d go back and do live sketch comedy 6-nights a week. Maybe for 2 weeks.

Would you do it all again if given the same opportunities?

Of course. Any other answer will keep me up at night.

To connect with Paul on his social media Twitter and Instagram: @batesbot9000.

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