Marshall in the morning - Paul Bellini - MyGaytoronto
Marshall in the morning 03 March 2018.
It's 9am. I struggle with my coffee and my glasses as I dial the number of gay comedian Marshall Lorenzo. The publicist told me to call him at this hour. All I know is that he is busy rehearsing his upcoming one-man show for Sketchfest.
"I had a not great 2017," he tells me, "so when I was thinking of how to frame the show, I thought about all the horrible people I came across. For instance, I'm from New Zealand and the last time I went home I was pulled aside by border security. The woman interrogating me was both ridiculously nice yet also really hostile, a friendly face saying horrible things. So of course she's in the show."
I ask what other sort of characters he gravitates towards. "I want to explore those girls who show up at a gay bar and because of Drag Race know every single catch phrase and recite them non-stop without any prior knowledge." I ask if he ever risks being politically incorrect. "The shift of what comedy was just three years ago and what it is now is astounding. If we looked back on what we were doing then we'd probably now say that it was a little iffy."
Comedy came to Lorenzo late in life. "When I was 25 I met someone doing stand-up and I thought, you can actually do this? And when I came to Second City in Toronto, I realized that yeah, I could really do this." He is currently a member of both The Sketchersons and Panacea, and claims to make "about three hundred dollars a year. Minus drinks." Yet like many other young comedians, he loves it and loves the comedy scene in his adoptive city.
"It's rare that you come across an awful person in the Toronto comedy scene. I've never had a homophobic experience here."
There was a pause. "Marshall, sorry, I just went blank because it's so early in the morning."
"That's okay," he tells me. "I also have no idea what I'm saying."
"You're the one who asked for a 9am call," I remind him.
"Oh no I didn't," he says with complete honesty. So it was that darn publicist. I gather my thoughts. "Who are your comedy influences?" I ask, a back-pocket question but it keeps us talking.
"French and Saunders was a big thing in our household growing up. My mom is Jennifer Saunders. Which is awful as that it makes me Saffy."
One thing he does not doubt is his comedy itself. "I love to write a joke. That's my favourite thing in the world." I understand only too well.
"Thanks for speaking with me, Marshall," I conclude the call.
"Yes," he replies. "And good morning."