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Standup Mike Wilmot is a proud North American

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Mike Wilmot is a Canadian-born comic who has spent most of his successful career onstage in the U.K. After so many years of performing throughout the English-speaking world, he's noticed some interesting differences between countries that have a common British heritage.

Canadians and Americans, he explains, are a modern version of Britons. "And America has a different kind of past with royalty," he says. "Any country that's in the Commonwealth still has a weight around its neck. Don't show off too much. It has something to do with kings and queens."

He extrapolates: "In America, you guys know how to show off. That's why you have rock 'n' roll and jazz, and can kick your feet up and shoot off guns. In Canada and Britain, we're afraid someone on a horse is going to come along and take our shit." 

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He offers as further evidence, English houses. 

"In Britain, they don't have front porches," he notes. "People don't sit in front of their homes like we do in Canada. And it's what America excels at porch living. British people hide in their backyard because I think they believe that one day a guy on horse is going to try and take their stuff."

Wilmot also points out that proximity to the United States has made Canadians more like Americans, but only with some effort.

"When we first got the Blue Jays in Toronto, we didn't know what was going on," he recalls. "We knew you sang songs between innings from watching it on TV, but we figured it out just by mimicking you."

"That's why a lot of Canadian comics live and work in the U.S.," he continues. "We can pose like you, but we're off kilter and that's funny to Americans."

On the other hand, Wilmot reasons that most American comedians would fit perfectly into Canadian society. "Because they don't fit in. Canada is the place to come if you don't fit in."

To his British audiences he tries to position himself as a North American, but not because he isn't proud of his homeland.

"I'm seen as a Canadian a lot," he says. "But I push North American, because they're always so apologetic when they say, 'Where in the States are you from?' And I say, 'Oh, I'm Canadian.' They say, 'I'm so sorry!' How in the hell are you supposed to know? I can't even tell. Growing up in Toronto, with American TV shows and the CBC, the people I lived around sound more like they're from Upstate New York. I sound like I'm from Talawanda, not Toronto."

IF YOU GO:

Mike Wilmot
Rick Bronson's House of Comedy
408 East Broadway, Bloomington
Level 4 in Mall of America
$13 to $20
18+; 21+ later shows
7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 9:45 p.m. Friday; 9:30 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
952-858-8558; houseofcomedy.net