One-man in particular

By Michelle Blackwell

If you were at One Yellow Rabbit’s ninth annual High Performance Rodeo in 1995, you’ll remember Andy Jones from his outrageous comedic performance in Still Alive. This year, invited back by the Rodeo’s curator, Michael Green, Jones returns with a brand new show To The Wall.

"It’s kind of a combination of sketch comedy, standup comedy and theatre-my own unique hybrid," Jones says of his one-man show. "It just sort of comes out that way."

With 30 years of experience in the business, Jones has whittled the writing of his shows down to a fine art.

"I’m always writing, I’m always jotting things down," says the Newfoundland native who tends to draw from his personal past and family for inspiration.

"I keep all my ideas in one place and when I have to do a show, I tend to look through them. Usually, something of a pattern emerges."

Writing and performing a one-man show is no easy task. Once the new ideas are written up, expanded on and pieced together, there is still an enormous amount of editing and rewriting to be done.

"I reject about 40 per cent of what I write," says Jones. "Then I set to rewrite it and get rid of another 10 per cent of that. I use about 10 per cent of old material I’ve already done that I know works, add the remaining 40 per cent and then I have a show!"

Jones’ choice in using a one-man show format goes back to his days with the Newfoundland comedy group Codco in which he starred alongside his sister Cathy Jones of This Hour Has 22 Minutes fame.

"Even when I was a sketch comedy writer I tended to write a lot of monologues," he says. "It seemed to be a perfect fit for a one-man show."

When asked whether he considers his show distinctly Canadian, Jones admits that much of his material originates from the history and culture of Newfoundland.

"I’m totally fascinated by New-foundland," he says, "and I think I use that to make things more particular. I think the more particular you are, the more universal you are because everyone’s from a particular place."

Apart from writing, Jones has produced, directed and acted in many different projects over the years and is eagerly anticipating the release of his latest film project Rare Birds in a couple of weeks.

"By hook or by crook I’ve always managed to keep working," says Jones. "That’s the main goal-managing to keep busy."