WhyWeWork BrianVee
WhyWeWork BrianVee

Episode 118 · 8 months ago

#118​ Sandy Gillis Comedian Jimmy the Janitor BrianVee WhyWeWork

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Sandy Gillis aka Jimmy the Janitor is a comedian and actor. Sandy has numerous albums and can be heard across Canadian radio with his clean but relevant humour.

Website
https://www.jimmythejanitor.com/about.html

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/Jimmy-the-Janitor-12605681577/https://www.facebook.com/jimmy.janitor.9

Twitter
https://twitter.com/jimmythejanitor?lang=en

Address
Jimmy the Janitor Comedy
PO Box 992
Charlottetown, PE
C1A 7M4

Phone
Tel 1-902-892-9292

E-mail
comedy@jimmythejanitor.com

...welcome to why we work with your host,Brian V. As he speaks to people like you from all over the world as wetogether dive deeper into our motivations, struggles, joys, seeminglymissteps, hopes, warnings and advice which will be an encouragement to usall to get up, get going and keep on working. Working is tough, but workingis good. Now here's your host to why we work. Brian V. I'm Brian B. And this iswhy we work today. I have the great pleasure speaking with Sandy Gillis.Sandy is an actor and comedian. You may know him as Jimmy the janitor today. Iwant to find out from Sandy. What does the future hold for comedy? Join me inmy conversation today with Sandy Gillis. I'm Brian V. And this is why we worktoday. I have the great pleasure speaking with Sandy Gillis. Good day.Fine, sir. How does she go home, boy, It's goingwell here. You know, I'm on the other side here, but thank you, kind sir, forcoming on here. I was pleasantly surprised to know that you're willingto do this. Would you do me a favor and tell us the industry you're in and whatyou're up to nowadays. My industry, I've I basically called itbroadcast comedy. That's the way it's been for fifty two years, but primarily,uh, comedy now. And, uh, you know, we can sort of get into where theyseparated and how they worked together for a long time. I would love to, andI'd like to go back, and but I was just getting ready for this. And I'm tryingto figure out comedians in general. I don't know if I'm funny, but I think Isee things that are funny. And I heard my dear wife today say something thatshe went shopping and we got something in a box that you almost trip over. AndI think she said, Bubble Bath and I was getting ready, and this is still wet toprove the point and and I looked in the shower and my dear wife got a and Ihave no idea. But when you see things, I have no idea what any of the wordsare bobble in. There's some I don't know if it's German on it, and then allI see is vegan or vegan. I guess it would be proper. Yeah. Is this how a comedian findsthings that are funny when you have no idea? I only like I said, my dear wifesaid she bought something and I'm sure she bought it. And it's certainly notfor me, but you just go through life and you find things. I looked bothsides, and not only that, they put a sticker on the back. It's my dearwife's Korean, so I can't read that. I have no idea what the ingredients are,and it says vegan. And this is soap. This is vegan soap, and this is astretch for trying to sell a product, but they get one word on there, andit's been bought. Not that we're vegans. Nothing wrong with vegans. But is thisIs this how you find comedy? I find it everywhere. I find it onairplanes and supermarkets. You know, I would find that funny. Um, you know, Ido some vegan bits in my show. Um, not that something comes to mind right now,but, you know, I do shows across Canada and different regions will react whenI'm on the prairies and I'm in cattle country. You know a funny vegan jokethat is not aimed at glamorizing veganism, you know, would go over. Notthat it's a put down, but it would be comparing. You know what somebody hadfor dinner with me, and, you know, I have this and it comedy comes every day. I have, uh,my phone's over there, plugged in, but it has a recording feature like every,uh, iPhone. And I've gone through five dicta phones, and that's probably mytenth iPhone in in my five decades. And I'm always recording lines always andand I have, uh, multi dozen sketches on the go at any one time. So in themorning, I take the Dictaphone. I listened to it. I find the sketch thatI'm working on that has the vegan soap.

It's the line I take off. I'll put itin the vegan soap line, close it up, and then I continue working on sketchesthat are a little bit further along. But eventually I'm going to get to thevegan sketch, and when I get there, there's going to be all kinds of linesmay not use them all, and they, you know, they may not all fit but that'show you build it. And, you know, I I wrote fifty sketches in the first threemonths of the lockdown. Like from March, I was home off the road on this onMarch March. The eighth is my last show. So, uh, we're doing I'm doing ananniversary run through on that show this weekend. I'm going to take the setlist and see how much I remember of that to our show because I have notdone it for two two for twelve months. And anyway, I've written fifty newpieces that go into rehearsal this summer, and I'll be rehearsing bitsevery day putting the show together and hopefully, by the fall, I'll be able todo a show somewhere. Um, we usually book our own buildings and tour thatway so you don't ramp up quickly when you have to rent a theater or rent acommunity center and higher all the sound and light and everything else.But, you know, I'll be up and running back on the road. Fifty shows a year,probably by November, hopefully, fingers crossed. It's and that's thething about building a skid or building some pieces, and some sets is I look atthis and it's not the vegan. It's It's like the marketing campaign that Ican't imagine what language this is, whatever it is and then sounds likevegan. Then that's the front. There's the cover. This okay? And this iswhat's gonna sell. And apparently it works here. And a coupon we have inKorea. I think they went public over in the States not long ago. Coupon willsell you anything. Can you bring us back, sir? Can you bring us back intomaybe as a teenager, preteen. What would have been your very first jobmaking a buck? Maybe even making a laugh. But it may not be related tocomedy. Well, I've been working forever. My first job was as a remote control. We had two channels at our house. Whata remote control. Get up, Faith. Sandy, change the channel. So you go from C T.V to CBC. And that was it. So I That was my first job. Remote control. Andthen I was paper boy. How old are you? How old were you when you got yourpaper route route? As some people may say, paper root root root the paperroute. I was probably ten or eleven. It was the Star Weekly and it was everySaturday and I had a five mile walk. I mean, I lived in the county, which isnot, you know, the best place to have a paper route. And I would I would bedropped off at one o'clock and I would get home around five. Thirty. I wouldhave walked all afternoon dropping papers on this five mile route, and Iwould make a dollar twenty five you mentioned was like you were in in inthe northern tip of Sydney. And I spent a few years out on the Maira actuallyliving with my dad on a warm afternoon. And when I moved back to sack full, Iused to say, because I play, I started playing soccer in middle school and Iwould say soccer and they're like, What are you What are you saying? I mean,we're gonna play soccer, right? And I picked up a little bit of point goingto face some soccer, so at the root, so as you got a little bit older andyou're working, maybe in middle school and high school Is there any standoutjobs that you did? Maybe even still unrelated. Everything was unrelated. Um,I went from paper route to selling Christmas trees to, uh, shovelingbetween the tracks down at the railway station for CNN, um, and then packinggroceries and then part time DJ on the radio when I was eighteen. Mhm. Did yougrowing up for those first few things? Was the motivation yourself Or justlike your dad tell me to get up and change the TV channel? Was that yourmotivation or did you? Were you trying...

...to find yourself as well? No. I knewwhere I was. I didn't have to find myself at all, but I was the oldest often Children. So that's where I was. And my dad worked seven days a week. Heworked at CNN, and then he had a host sailfish distributing business two daysa week, and I just grew up. I mean, part of my job was working in thesummers on fish trucks and carrying, you know, fresh fish in boxes andfrozen fish into the co ops and the stores and that. And that's what wewhat I did in the summer um, in between the other jobs. And so I grew up. I wasgoing to get, uh, yeah, I was going to get any money from mom and Dad. Theywere already taxed. And so I was just out there working all the time. What? Did the deejaying job at eighteen.Kind of open your eyes to more of an entertainment side, or is it just a gig that was huge? That was, That changedmy life. I was a big fan, you know, Long hair, Beatles stones. This was themid sixties, and by sixty eight, I was eighteen and they advertised on theradio that they would welcome a fifteen minutes high school, uh, presentationHigh school, send in your, you know, your delegate who will play tunes onthe radio on a Friday night at eight o'clock. For fifteen minutes, I calledand they picked me. And so I went in on Friday morning, tape the show, and theguy who taped me said, You know, you should think about doing this, And Ihad been practicing in my living room since I was sixteen, with an old reelto reel recorder and the old hi fi where I put the Beatle albums on linethem up to be three of them and hit the start button, and I would talk until itdropped. The thing went over, the stylist hit the record, and then Iwould talk it in. I would hit the post, as it was called. That was what you didback in the DJ world of the sixties. You you talked in, you hit the post,you didn't walk on it. You didn't miss it. You hit it and I hit every post. Imean, I did those tunes a million times. And so when I got to the radio station,I already had the banter down from listening to the other announcer, thereal announcers on the various stations. And so I was ready. Did you call? Theysaid to nominate someone. Or was this you had to get into at the right momentwhen you were calling or is it just called? Make that appointment? Yeah.Yeah, I think, um, I think it was a general broadcast, you know, representyour school or school nominate somebody and I just nominated myself on thephone very quickly. Five, three, nine, fifty nine hundred was the radiostation. That's what I was thinking. Like, how many times you had to callthe number like No, hang up. We won't have to want to do that. Not everybodywanted to do that. You had to be a little, you know, you had had to be alittle crazy to want to do that and set yourself up for, you know, humiliation.And so, as it turned out, you know, the guy said you should do this. And hesaid, If you ever want to come in and use the production studio, that's theother studio. Uh, and practice. You know, I'm here in the evenings doingthe show. You can go in and you know, I'll work with you. I said I'm with you.And I was there from I guess that was November, All the way through tillsomewhere in the spring. Okay. Uh, jeez. No, I I can't rememberhow long it was Anyway. One one Saturday night. I'm there Saturdaynight work in my six to midnight in the production studio. He walked in andsaid, Okay, Sandy, you're on. What? On there? He gonna end of the chair? Putme in the chair in the Master Control. And I was on the radio at that point.And then they gave me that show the...

...following week, and that was my ownshow. And then I started doing Sunday nights and then did other all kinds ofother shows. How long? How long before you got comfortable doing it? From thatmoment of being given the opportunity, then your own show? How long did ittake, or were you already comfortable? I don't know if I was really, you knowthat comfortable. But I knew what to do. You know, I had the whole process.Downtime, temperature, weather, hit the post back cell. You know, you know,just look up a little bit about the artist. It was We didn't have Googleback then, so it was a lot more work, but yeah, you know, I have I have tapesof the sixteen year old in the living room, uh, saved digitally. I have thethe pull your voice, eighteen year old thinking that you had to sound like arock chock all the time. And so I have all that stuff and it just lead to morework. Um, as you know, turn was great, Great at school like I was, you know, Iwas pretty outgoing as a kid. Then I hit about thirteen, and I became alittle quieter and Shire and, um, you know, I was a bit of a nerd, really?Like, you know, like I I was a Boy Scout and, you know, and then I becamea rover, which is the senior group. And, you know, we go and do good things andhave that, you know, Rover Jackets. We didn't have a leather, you know, bikerjacket. I had, you know, doing good for the community jacket. Kind of nerdy,right? That all that all changed when I wenton the radio and air started going down longer. And there were only two peoplein our high school in Riverview Rural High School in Cox C. Cape Brett whoare allowed to have long hair. Everybody else had to have their hairshaved up to here. And Eddie Ivan E, who played in a rock band in Sydney asthe drummer, got the past me because we worked in rock and roll and that waspart of our business. And we did make that pitch to the principal. And sheallowed us to have long hair. Wow. There they come. The guys. Uh huh. Soyou walk down the hall. You know, the next morning you were the guy theylistened to from six till nine playing the tunes, right? And, you know, youfeel pretty good. So the confidence grew and it was a little bit of a highto be in high school and on the radio, and I was all the way through, and then,uh, I did take a communications course at Xavier College in Sydney, but I wasalready on the radio, and I already knew a lot of it. And so I kept working.And then eventually, uh, I got a job at, uh, c J O N in ST John's Land. You werepracticing everything you were practicing, playing the records atsixteen. You didn't get the position until eighteen. So were you thinkingabout a career in communications at sixteen or something in particular? Youweren't really sure where kind of this idea of music and being on radio andall that will take you Or is it just something you had an interest in? No, Iat sixteen. I was going to join the RCMP. That's what all my buddies weregoing to do, and most of them did. And I went on a journey across Canada withmy cousin from Boston, met in Montreal and we went across Canada for a month.Uh, and and And we had an uncle at the other end who took us around BritishColumbia all the way out. He was eighteen. He talked about becoming aradio announcer and I was going to join the RCMP and he was interviewing peoplein the bar car, you know, just in the lounge car talking. He had the gift ofgab. I had no interest. But then as we came back and he was still doing this,I thought, you know, I'd be pretty cool to be playing those rock tunes on theradio. So when I got home that September, I set up the card table infront of the WiFi hi fi and started playing the Beatle albums and tapingthem on this big old reel to reel. And,...

...you know, I had a house full of kids,so I had to work around that it was funny my sister on Facebook the otherday. I was commenting somebody about practicing in my living room. They weretalking about when they started in radio and she saw this. She said, Oh,yeah, we were all told, Sandy's practicing in the living room. Theynever got to be guests on your show. I don't think I did the best thing. I waspretty much coming up on introducing the tube that playing that rock androll. And so yeah, so by twenty I had a couple of part time years in, and themanager at that station was being promoted to a bigger operation inNewfoundland, and he offered me the evening, offered me an evening rockshow and twice weekly Bandstand television show style. And so I happilywent to Newfoundland and took everything I learned in Sydney,everything from every other announcer on the planet that I could package intomy show and launched the very first rock show in Newfoundland in nineteenseventy When I get off the boat and I was driving in from our Gensia,Newfoundland, I turned on the radio at six fifteen, and I heard this announcerin my time slot saying, Well, hello there. Time for a selection from FrankSinatra rolling the tune. I'm thinking, Oh, myGod, we're going to make a big change here. And I had already discussed thatwe were going to do a rock show there. Now, rock back in the day is not, youknow, your classic rock. It was all the top forty stuff. It was, you know, allthe all the British invasion and anything that was happening. I mean, Iwas on the radio when we were playing Beatles songs out of the box like theywere still making them when I started. And, you know, even when I got toNewfoundland that, you know, we were still playing things like the long andwinding road and let it be brand new tunes and and then we went through, Youknow, you know, the McCarten Meteors and the George Harrison years. And but,um, coming over and listening to that guy must have been interesting, evenknowing I might be taking your position or we're going to do a whole new I wastaking his position and he didn't mind like he was a swing announcer. Heworked weekends and filled in and they were looking, you know, they werelooking for someone to do something in that show. And, uh, my manager wentover in June and asked me to go then But I had a girlfriend that summer, Uh,and I didn't want to go and leave the summer behind, so I told him I come inSeptember. So that was fine because he had a chance to set up for me, and andso it worked really well, like we had. We had the radio stations all overNewfoundland like I was a network. We had the television station, which wasall over Newfoundland. We had a newspaper, so I get there and, you know,they have be in the newspaper all the time. So a lot of promotion to promotethis, you know, long haired rock and roll disc jockey on the east coast ofCanada. And so it was was really great. It was a fun time. Newfoundlanders arethe nicest people in the world. I mean, I'm a caper just about sex. Um, Iinterviewed Trent McLennan's the other day and I said, You know what? I'venever met a Newfoundland er that I haven't liked and and it sounds, clicheis, but it's true. Yeah, it is. Uh, it was a treat. And soI stayed for two years and had an offer to go to Monckton, NewBrunswick and do the morning Joe and I was doing the Rock Show, and theMorning show is where you know, supposedly the money is and the biggestaudiences. And so I went in there and did that for Let's See seventy two to seventy fiveand sounds like a long time ago. But it...

...was, um, and developed characters. And,uh, I did. I did. I talk to myself. Did funny lines. As you say this I'mthinking, I'm thinking of Howard Stern when, especially even earlier when youmentioned growing long hair. Did you watch that movie? And could you see? Ithink you were more on the clean comedy side, so minus that away from his standup comedy or his you find some similarities because he seemed to inthe movie anyway, start to come out to his own when he started developingthese characters, which made his show that much more lively. And the characters really helped mebecause I started doing funny commercials for the radio station. Ihad funny bits with all these different characters on the morning show. Theshow was clean, But when I saw Howard's movie, uh, that's the one that's liketwenty years old Now I think thirty might be thirty or more now relate tomoving to those stations and having managers that, you know, told you whatto do. And, um, I was I think I was a little luckier than Howard in thatregard. I had a I had a pretty, uh, smooth ride. Um, but anyway ended up in Mountain doingmorning show and started a broadcasting school because I needed a new car andand so I had forty students twice a week in the evening from seven to nine,and I hired I hired all the head of the directors of the departments in theradio station to teach the courses so I would have a copyrighting class, uh,you know, two, three times sales brought the program director my boss in,brought the sales manager in and had all these people working for meteaching my kids and I would teach them the on air technique and so that workedreally well. I ran that for two or three years, and then the owner of thecompany came to me and in the winter of nineteen seventy five and said, Youknow, broadcasting school is going really well. I said, Yeah, and he said,Your dance business is going really well. I had all the dances, a DJservant promoted by the nation. So I had a lot of lot going on. He said,Would you like to make money for me? And he was smiling and I said, Yeah,and so he gave me this first little radio station to run in Sussex, NewBrunswick. It was brand new sticks of us long hair, but it worked out reallywell. The station went well. I brought two or three of my students hired asenior sales guy, and it just went from there, and I justmoved through the company and took on bigger stations. And then I became apartner and, you know, I became an owner in theoperation. Did you buy your car? What car did you buy with Gillis UniversityBroadcasting School? It was Eastern Broadcasting School, and it was a FordGranada Red candy, apple red. But I only had it for a short time. Um uh huh. A sales manager at thatdealership, you know? Said I'm looking for a promotion, uh, to to get ourdealership more profile. And I said, I have an idea. So you can. It's calledsecretary of the day. And I said every day I will have asecretary of the day from nominations and that secretary of the day willreceive a corsage from a flower shop. I will pick her up and her guest ateleven. Forty five and take her to lunch and and in return for all thatpromotion in the morning show, because we'll talk about it three or four timesevery day. Um, you give me a malignancy and change it up every six months, andI will put the gas in it and you put your insurance on it. So I had a carwhich was a big marquis, big, big, big...

...honkin Ford, Mercury Marquis, and I got to meet a different secretaryevery day. This is back when they were called secretaries. And uh huh, Andthen one times they brought the boss, which was really interesting as well,because I got to know something about that construction company. York. She'dbring the mayor, or I mean, I had I did this for seventy late, seventy three,seventy four, then did Sussex and seventy five and did in Camel to Kninseventy seven. It worked out really well on a lot oflevels because I got a lot to meet. A lot of young ladies. I had a free car.I was a bachelor. So I got fed every day, and I met a lot of business peopleand learned a lot. And so it just helps me all way around with your partnershipand ownership with the broadcasting company. What was the role that youplayed through that period of your life? Mhm. The first station. I was generalmanager, second station, general manager, third and fourth. Uh, I becamea partner and became vice president, um, and general manager. And then I pickedup two more, So I had four stations. I was VP, GM and and a partner operatingpartner. Were you completely hands off with with the microphone and being anon air personality? I was off the air for a I was. I started on the air inseventy eight sixty eight and I was off the air by seventy eight. And inCampbelltown was the last time I did a shift on a regular basis. Did themorning show There was the manager was most everything, you know, likeDirector of things. And but I got to Monkton, which is a biggermarket, And I was just running the stations and off the air and so thatthat was, you know, stepping away from the fund stuff, Really. But, you know,the money was in the running and, you know, and the challenge was to, youknow, boost the ratings and win the market and all that stuff. And so itwas until nineteen eighty seven, which would have been nine years after that,that I created my comedy character to give me that Jimmy the janitor,giving me that opportunity to be creative again, you know, at least onthe air for those nine years. Where was that eating at you like the desire tobe more expressive? Or was it that was just the time. Like I did all the creative stuff inthose nine years was developing talent, Um, creating promotions, creating salespackages for our company. Um, you know, doing a lot of creative stuff there,because I, you know, I leaned in that direction. I was the creative outgoing,um, manager in our group. Like we had other partners, uh, in the company. AndI was the youngest by ten years, and I was the one sort of looking two createthings for other stations in our chain. Um, a lot of sales packages that werecreative. Um, a lot of rating contests that were creative, so that let me dosome of those things. And then I still slipped into the booth in, you know,our stations in mountain and did voices, you know, like, they call me fromproduction and say, you know, they wrote this, you know, old man character.They wrote this Irish guy and hoping you'd come up and do it. And I said, Oh,yeah, I'll be running upstairs chance to sit down and do a character. Right?So when did you decide to go to the stage with Jimmy the janitor and beinga stand up comedian? Uh huh. Well, I created characterpurely for radio and we were having a...

...competitor commit against us in theMonckton market. Had a great morning man. But he wasn't that funny. And Isaid, Well, I can add to that. I can add a funny character. So I starteddoing this, uh, well, thinking on it first. What? What's it going to be?What's the accents? Why is he here? He's going to pop in. Well, let's makehim the janitor of the station. And he can come in and talk to the morning manfor a minute. Couple times. What do we call? Look home, Jerry, Jimmy the Jack. And so on January fifteenth, nineteeneighty seven, Jimmy backed into the control room with the vacuum clean Iran.And the morning man said, Whoa, whoa, whoa, Sorry, buddy. I'm on the airhearing that was the beginning. And, uh, you know, you said, who are you andJimmy and, uh, paper and and and, uh, because I'm where you tried on arunning the money and at a gas. I'm here a month, and they have workinghere in the hallway. And, uh, so, uh, I sat down and did a You know, uh, youknow, a joke. that we had, you know, rehearsed. And, uh, he said you shouldcome back tomorrow. So had started it, and I did. I did a bit every morning,and then we I was doing it live. And that meant I had to be there at seven.Thirty, which was, uh, and be up for this. So we started taping it and thenwithin, uh, within a year, we were on our nine stations every day and thatthat went a little further. There's probably fifteen stations within theyear and a half. Others other non non brand stations, friends by and we ranfor ten years. Exactly. Started on the fifteenth of January, Uh, eighty seven.Took it off in the fifteenth, January ninety seven and then gave it a break. And we sold. We sold the company,actually, in nineteen ninety five, um, we had an offer from Ted Rogers to buyour company. Not a bad, bad person to want to buy your company. Yeah, So we sold, and, uh, Jimmycontinued on the station's still ninety seven, and I was out. At that point,there was my chance to get out. I had been doing comedy this was ninety fivewhen we sold. I started doing comedy in eighty seven on the radio conventionsin eighty eight, and by ninety five, I had a lot of work, but I couldn't leavetown. You know, I would go to Halifax and do a convention, get in the car atten. Thirty, drive back home, sleeping four hours being the station and be inthe station. So after we sold, I could go anywhere And for those two yearsthat it was sold with a clips of you. Are you still doing some performances?If I got reporting and I come into the station, I build my house behind theradio station in the woods behind the station. So I finally lived about aminute from the door, and it was a lovely area. And, uh, so I come overonce a week and take Jimmy, um, with a producer, Uh, and then he would shipthem out to all stations. So? So after that, I just did theconvention work around the country. I could be, you know, I could be inSaskatoon, or I could be. And I had agencies selling me and, uh but Ireally got tired of the one off thing, you know, like flying here for onenight and then flying all the way back or maybe getting to in Ontario. And sohow was that, though? As you initially got into conventions being on stagelike that versus behind the microphone or recording as such, How was that foryou initially getting up there in front of people? Oh, initially, it was a little scary.You know, I can remember being outside the ballroom, a hotel, Bozize, urineMonckton, sort of pacing up and down, knowing I've got to do forty minutes infront of, you know, the dental association of your Brunswick. And, youknow, there may be ninety people here or the truckers Association, andthere's fifty men who aren't the best...

...audience. So, you know, it's gonna betough. Um, you know, I I did a show for twenty one female managers of Sears onenight, twenty one, and I put them in a horseshoe. We had set up a horseshoeand I just stood right in the middle and it was on the best shows ever.Because women are incredible laughers, they just they just go right at it. Men.They need women to get them going with their laughter. Their you know, alittle. You know, some of them will laugh, but some of them will sit thereon Yeah. So, um, I felt for a while, you know, conventions were the bestaudience. I never did. I never did clubs or pubs ever. I always had radioto pay the bills. So I didn't have to go and, you know, work for a hundredand twenty five bucks at a comedy club and be one of ten people on that night.Um, so I I did the conferences and conventions and, uh, the early millennium. And then to Iwe had a cable TV show in New Brunswick with Jimmy as one of the characters.And then we formed traveling group of six of us, and we toured the provinceand did sketches, and Jimmy was a featured guest. Plus, Sandy would be adifferent sketches. And then, um, I met this beautiful gal from Prince EdwardIsland and I was the man. I was the chair of the Chamber of Commerce andMonckton has volunteered, and she was the chair of the Charlottetown Chamber.We met in London, Ontario, and at the national convention. And anyway, uh,thank goodness the bridge was built between New Brunswick P I I made a lotof trips over here and then moved here. The national? Yeah. We started thenational radio show for Jimmy from Prince Edward Island. Um uh, getmarried here in two thousand five. And, uh, in two thousand six, we startedstations and we had ninety stations across the country from two thousandsix to this past June. We ended the series in June of twenty twenty. So what? What that is is, you know,you're a Canadian country star and you have a hit record, and you can goanywhere and they'll know who you are. You know, uh, Brett Kissel, you know,from Alberta. Uh, you know, he's a name known across the country. Well, Ifigure out how we're gonna get Jimmy's name known, and the radio was the thing. And so we made it available free. It wassixty seconds every morning. It was all self contained. It had applause openwith Jimmy. Janitor live had the bit applause close with a little liner atthe end, you know, for Jimmy the janitor, You know, CDs and cassettes orwhatever, or to book Jimmy the janitor. You know, there was a little eightsecond clip at the back. That's how we sort of got our money's worth out of it.And so in two thousand and six about, Idon't know, four or five months after we launched the show, I'm flying intomedicine hat. I have no idea how well we're doing in the country. I just knowwe're on all these stations and we're getting you know, we're getting somerequests for product and I get off this little airplane. I'm walking in withthe Air Canada hostess and just entered the baggage area. And I said, You know,do you have a soft cedar theater in medicine hat? And she said, I don'tknow. I'm not from here And a guy stepped up from right there and he said,You're looking for a theater And I said, Yeah, like a soft cedar theater. I said,Yeah, he said, What do you need that for? And I said, Well, I I do comedy asa character named Jimmy the Janitor, and he said, You're Jimmy the janitor.This is medicine hat. In the first two minutes I'm there and the airplane,this is this worked This worked. So I get in the cab and I'm heading to theMedicine Hat Lodge where I'm performing...

...for the oil company. And I said, I'mgonna try this again. So the cabbies going along and he's a good old boyfrom, you know, from Alberta, I can tell. And I said, Excuse me, he said,Have you ever heard of this character named Jimmy the janitor on the radio?He said, Oh, yeah, we listen. Every day we sit around the radio in the cabshack. You're on at seven. Twenty, I said, Yeah, so about six eight monthslater, we sold seven hundred seats in the Esplanade Theater in medicine Hat.And, you know, I put a couple other shows with it, you know, purely on spec.But I would do a deal with the station. So my station in medicine hat was chatF M C H A T. They were a country station big signal. And probably withthat show, I would have done maybe cameras or some other station tied intoanother. Another radio station in the market they would promote for a pieceof the action, just happy to promoting their character in concert becauseJimmy had become, um, part of their morning team. You know, he was not, Youknow, it's, you know, Bob, Mary and Jimmy in the morning at Chat FM, and soit worked out really well. And we started renting buildings because Irented that that first theater, the experiment. And it was four thousandbucks to rent the theater and hire the staff. It was it was a union theater,and you had to have, you know, four of this and two of that out front. And but,you know, we had seven hundred steam set thirty five dollars, So we paid. Wepaid it easily, but that's what the business is Now. The business isrenting buildings and still do. We still do shows in collaboration with anassociation. As an example. If they have their own building, um, we will goin and do a fundraiser for them. You know, the Agricultural Society of SplitLip Saskatchewan are looking to do their three hundred seat dinner. Theannual and Jimmy will go in there. Uh, and we'll do a percentage. Um, and theyhave the building. They do the dinner, I do a two hour show and, ah, it's agreat partnership. And, you know, they make money and I make money. And and weall have a laugh you mentioned earlier. So you have a sketch with Sandy and youhave a sketch for Jimmy is there? Do you Do you have your own stand upsketch itself? Minus Jimmy the janitor? Do you Do you go other types? No, Jimmy. Like when we did those roadshows, you know, the sketch comedy shows for four or five years. I did alot of characters, but But with with this last, uh, all the stand up yearsof all binge have all been gypped. Sandy's not plenty at all. Well, you'rean actor, that that's what it is, Sandy. The ACA. Yeah, right. Daring and graceyou were on. What do you especially with what? This Some things that aregoing on lately over the last several years. What do you think the futureholds for comedy? And I think you have an interesting perspective because, aswe mentioned, it's more clean comedy, and I think there's you know, it's it'salmost as safer yet good place to be. But what's your perspective and what'sthe future hold for comedy? I think I think it's good. Um, Iencourage people who are starting out in comedy to go clean comedy. It's alot easier to go blue and to use all the four letter words a lot easier. Youget punch lines on a four letter word, and your young demographic may laugh atthat. But the harder job is to be clean and funny.

That's a much tougher job when you setout with your comedy, maybe, as within the radio. You know, with your yoursketches there was that just part of who you were anyway, Or did you make aconscious decision? I'm not going to go blue. Yeah, uh, it is me. Like I I think I heard my father used one fourletter word one time in my life, and it was an interaction between two fishtrucks where he didn't think I could hear what he was saying to the otherguy. I still remember. It's the only time he ever said a bad word, and mymother was the same So I grew up not doing that. I don't do it today. Imean, I have my favorite four letter words, but you don't hear them becauseit was something that I learned very early in radio Is that you Just watchwhat you say in front of a microphone all the time. You never know whetherit's going to accidentally be honest. And you know, when you hit the offbutton and then you turn around and you do, uh, you know, whatever it canhappen. And it's happened to my staff many times. I had one guy, one of myfavorite people. Um, you know, in the business, did the F word twice on theradio on tape in one week at the mountain station. Used to tape hissportscast because he was in early in the morning. He taped the, you know,the noon, and he'd start off and you go mhm. And then he'd start again. But he wouldforget to roll the tape back. And it happened twice in one week, you know,you know, and you know, we knew he didn't had a had a I was I had abilingual station in Campbelltown and I couldn't speak French, so I hadto try to monitor the two hours of French that we had on the radio stationthrough assistance, Who could speak French, My office manager and my Frenchannouncer. You know, just let me know what you're doing here. And so this guyone night at six o'clock when we ran the French news started, uh, he startedoff the newscast. You know, bourgeois Welcome to do it, Mel. I asked it so he went from Frenchinto, uh, you know, the F word in English and then started again. Butthat all rolled, you know? So it was those little things that you have towatch for, you know, we had to watch for I mean, if you Howard Stern, that'sthe whole show. You know, it's but you know, when you're on satellite radio,you can do what you want. People have a choice of paying for Howard Stern ornot. Back in my day, we were providing a service licensed to provide thisentertainment this news. And, uh so the character when we created Jimmy wascreated for radio. When we transferred to stage, you just took the same imageand plunked it on the stage. So it's the same happy, friendly, non bluecharacter. Um, you know, it's not all you know. It's not all Bible study, youknow, religious jokes. There's a lot of stuff in there that goes right up tothe line. But there's never any four letter words like I'll do some stuff on.I'll do a Viagra set, you know, like and you know, there's some cute things inthere, and and after the show, you'll get a you know, an eighty five year oldwoman come up to you at the end and says, You know, dear, I just love yourcomedy. You know? There's no bad words in there, and, uh and I'm thinking, Ijust did a Viagra set and I did this and this. But you know, as long as youdon't, you're the F bomb. Um, you know, I can remember. I won't mention who itwas, but, um, you know, I did a show, What up? Particular conference. Andthen, uh, one of these, one of the guys he thought it was on television comedyshow came in and did it the following...

...year. And so then they called me forthe next year because I don't do things back to back. You know, I skip a year,and the complaint was when such and such was here last year. We see him onTV. He was so funny. But then he just f bombed his way through the whole set,and they were all disappointed. It wasn't the same guy that they wereaccustomed to scene. So that's a big thing. I have a I have a great producer, Uh,who's been with me for well since two thousand and six produced all the radioshows, and in recent years he formed his own blue comedy band. You know,there were two guys back in the day from Cape Breton. I think they werecalled McDonald and McDonald or MacLean and MacLean. MacLean. My mom had therecord. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Well, my mom had the record. Yeah, and so they were pretty blue.Yeah, you know, and there's there's a song. It's like it's a hundred below. Idon't give it off to the rodeo. There's something wrong that I think I remember.That's the rodeo song. I know that one and and I think that my producer, uh,he created this character and a whole band like There's seven of them and allthey do are these blue songs, and they don't come on at the club until oneo'clock in the morning. And he is the nicest, kindest, most normal Christianguy. His mother's a saint, like she can never come and see his show. And that'swhat I say to him. I said, You know, you can never play any of the stuff foryour mother. Yeah, you know, maybe you, you know, leave the band behind at somepoint, record some songs, funny songs that you can play for your mother. UmAnd anyway, it's an ongoing joke. What is the blue? What is the Blue Book?I've never heard until you said it. What does? Where does that come from?What is the point of ST Blue? Yeah, I've never heard it. I think it's oldover from the old days. You know, where comedy was clean or it was blue andblue indicated that there were bad words, uh, in the show. So this is howI grew up? Yeah, understanding. It seems like when you when I thinking I'mthinking of, like an evil carnival or a stuntman or something, You're next. Onehas to be bigger than what it was. So when you're dropping, like as you said,people were using blue language is it the humor, the jokes? The laughter hasto fall on that punch line with that, and so it just kind of just gets biggerand bigger and bigger. And as you said about the one person where the fanswere not as pleased because they weren't, it wasn't the same person. Butall of his jokes had that that need for the punch line on that. That word. Ithink it's unnecessary because you're building up and you're getting awayfrom the humor and something that's funny is funny because it's funny, notbecause you express it. It can highlight some things with someexpression, but it shouldn't be the sole reason why something is funny. Inmy view, I was influenced by a couple of people.Um, well, I was influenced by Huey and Alan from Cape right. I don't know ifyou've ever heard of them, but they were two guys that were extremelysuccessful back in the fifties and sixties into the early seventies, too.Characters sort of country characters, and they told stories which are reallyjokes back and forth. And they influenced me because everything wasclean. Uh, and everything was funny, like they were really funny. And then Ihad a chance to work with Dave Broadfoot, uh, from the Royal CanadianAir Force. Dave was, you know, he's probably one of the most honoredcomedians in the country and the late day Broadfoot now, but that show wasfunny. I forgot about that show until just now. That was a funny show. Butthen Dave did a stand up where he incorporated characters from the showthat he played. And he did stand up in between the character so he would playan RCMP officer, Sergeant Renfrew, who...

...he played on the show. And so he wouldcome out with a second half, maybe dressed as sergeant, rent through, andthen sort of peel the outfit off when he finished a bit. But everything Davedid was clean. And so we did a show. I picked him upat the airport, heading to Katie University. Never met him before, andwe hung out for two days and there's a couple other guys on the show. Therewas four people booked for this show, and so Dave and I hung out and you know,I love to watch him work. He was great. Um, as it happened, one of the guys who wasbooked for the show was known for his blue humor, and he was. I was closing the firsthalf of the show. Dave was closing the show second half, and so all went well until Dave decided tochange the order and put the blue comedian after him. So he opened thesecond half and the big applause. Papa Papa Papa than the guy who was known todo some blue, Uh, didn't go over very well. And Dave was very smart. He knew to getin and get out. Uh, before the followed, because I was out in the lobby duringthis last set because Dave and I wrote there were going to meet everybody, aswe do shake hands and boom boom people coming out of the door, leaving the show and this big theaterAcadia because of the content. And so I go back to every comedian, you know what I'mtrying to give them a little advice. If you can be funny and keep it clean, youcan work so many places, you know, and you can play it for your mother. And sothat was always big for me. Speaking of advice, do you have advicefor people who are getting into work any line of work, because this podcast,why we work is for anyone. But I've gained a greater appreciation forcomedians because I think you're one of the hardest working fellows out therein doing what you do and continuing to do it. And, you know, while the moneyis nice to have your doing it to make people feel better. And while somepeople may designate them as or yourself as essential or non essentials,it comedians are essential, right? And it's more that I'm realizing this now.Do you have advice for people getting into work thinking of yourself as apaper route guy at the age of twelve? Or some of the jobs you kind of didalong the way are getting more into your director role or in comedy,switching some things now and then. Do you have some advice for people who arejust getting into work or changing for the first time. Well, I always I alwayssaid the harder you work, the lucky you you get. I mean, everything thathappened to me happened because I worked hard. Um, I wouldn't have Iwouldn't have gotten a radio shot unless I worked on the card table withthe real the real machine, honing the skill that I was learning from theradio, I wouldn't have had that guy say, You know what? You do this, you know, you should trythis. You should look at this as a career. Well, I'd already been lookingat it before I got that opportunity. And if I had to phone the number, youknow, and got myself in for the high school fifteen minutes, you know,everything was you know, the work. You know, I wouldn't have gotten a radiostation job managing unless I had two other businesses going at the same time.It was the major shareholders said this guy can make money. Should be makingmore of it for me. And, you know, we both made money. And so it is hard work. Do it. Well, hardwork I'm the systems guide. Everything...

...has a system. There's a system. That'swhat I was thinking as you mentioned. How well you're doing with Jimmy thejanitor across Canada in all of those stations because you figured out thesystem. Nobody else. Nobody else is doing whatI do. There's nobody doing that. Um, like you can get some comedians whowill do a tour and they'll get some tour company to book theaters for them.And they pay that tour company, you know, they buy all the advertising. And,you know, I've seen some really great comedians lose money Tory in Canada,because either they're not known as well as they think they are. I took I took it small town, smallcities and figured that you know what I'd rather be really well known inmedicine hat than known at all in Calgary, because I can put sevenhundred people in that theater in medicine, hat every three years and do fifty shows a year, and thenanother fifty shows and then the third fifty shows. And then I start again. So we have a lot of markets, a lot ofgreat little venues, two hundred seven hundred seats. Um, nobody knows me inCalgary because I've never gotten on a radio station in Calgary, but it wasn't what I was after. LikeSam Walton put all his supermarkets when he started off in Little Towns isfive and dime Walton stores put them in small towns, and they were the place togo. I mean, there's still the place to go in this small city I live in, and soyou, you've got to pick your market, figure out how you're going to becomeknown in the market and then take the shot, take the chance at renting thebuilding. And I've never lost any money on renting buildings. You are systemsguy. I mean to think, I guess there's other people to do this, and I haven'tdone this or thought of it. But you're saying every three years you can go tosome certain place, some small town and again and again every three years. Thisisn't thinking well. I'm going to blow the whole place by storm, take all themoney and run. You got a long term plan and it's quite successful. And then every month a piece comes outof the show and a new piece goes in so that in three years there's a new showarriving at that location. And it's been well tested because it's been likethe new piece has been in for three years. Then this new piece and newpiece. By the time I get there, the whole show is new again. And then youjust go back and you have people who are happy. Happy to see you after threeyears, you know? You know, I feel sorry for people. I know people who have nonational exposure at all. And they operate in the same province or thesame two provinces. And how long can you do that? Same material, whateverthey're doing, you know? Yeah. And you know, they're gonna just can't go backas often. So do you have a goal? Do you have a goal for Jimmy? The janitor isthere. Is there something that you're hoping to achieve or do or I mean, thesystem. If the system works, don't Don't mess with it, right. If you'reTom Brady, just keep going. Right. But do you have something that you you hopeto accomplish? Well, I think that, uh, setting thecharacter up, Uh, and becoming known in the country was the goal. That was thegoal we had in two thousand and six when we took the show and offered it tostations all across the country. And, you know, we had ninety markets pick usup. So, you know, we would be on in Yellowknife for Sydney or, you know,British Columbia, small, small towns. And lot of the big stations weren'tlooking for any more talk. You know, they didn't want another minutes oftalk in the morning. They were all music. So we had to find those thosecommunity stations. Um and, you know,...

...we're Well, we're in Edmonton. We havea big country station there, and a lot of country stations picked us up. Andthat opened the door to the character. Everybody to listen to that station.New Jimmy. And so when we went to that station and said, Okay, we're going todo the such and such theater here. The commercials. We supply all thecommercials. Jimmy does all the on air, uh, and station just runs. It sendstheir morning man out. Dempsey puts their band in front of the theater andyou know, they get a check from us and and they're happy is I'll get outbecause they also get to sell Jimmy and make money on the show. So when theysponsor it, that money goes to them. So they win a couple of ways, knowing thatthe goal has been set. Is there anything about Jimmy or comedy or youthat people may not understand? And, you know, maybe they haven't heardJimmy and or people are not in tune with comedy. Well, there's a zillion ofpeople who have never heard of Jimmy. Um, is there anything you would likepeople to understand so they can have a better appreciation of the work thatyou do well, if you get a chance to come tothe show, Um, it's funny. It's a funny show because it is well tested. Youknow, it's it's been tested for years before it gets to you, and then itkeeps changing a little bit at a time until you see it completely new again.Um, so the show is clean. Um, it's funny. And, you know, we could be at a theaternear you somewhere in Canada. Uh, you know, between this fall. And when I hiteighty two, that's what I told my wife. I said, I'm going to work until I'meighty. Too many years to go there. Dave Broadfoot worked till he waseighty two. And Don Harron, who is the other guy I would meet up with everysummer? Uh, Charlie focused, um, Don worked. It was eighty seven. Yeah, andthey both did clean shows. So Jimmy's sort of following in their bigfootsteps and trying to keep it clean and and keep it going for a long time.The older Jimmy gets always he could probably be funny or two, the olderthat he gets. Well, I think the audience is going toget old with me. So you know, the comedy might It might change a little.And you know, who knows? The last couple of years we could be in seniorcenters only and get wheeled in. I only have a couple of questions for you. Isis there some adversity that you have faced and that has kind of affectedyour work one way or another. But you use that adversity to encourage otherpeople in the university they face in their work. I've been extremely lucky. The onlyadversity I had, if you want to call it that, was that, um I had to work hardas a young kid. You know, it wasn't something that I, um really mind it. Itwas the way I grew up. I mean, I was the oldest kid. My father worked allthe time just to keep our family of ten going. And so that was the adversity.That was my little work. University, Uh, that taught me hard work gets yousomewhere, you know. And my dad built up a big business that, you know, is isnow serving the Maritimes as a wholesaler. You know, you go to Solbes,you find our stuff, you know? So the business evolved and, you know, mybrother runs it now, and so that's the only I wouldn't even call it adversity.But when you when you grow up in a large family, you do learn to work hard,and that hard work pays off. You think there's people out there and I'm justthinking of it as you say it. We sometimes define adversity incorrectly,so people are thinking of all the work they have to do. This is what I have todo. I grew up with this big, and some people label that as adversity. Butreally, you've got the ability to work...

...or you had that ability or you you canbe grateful for what you had rather than that was adversity. Do you thinkpeople maybe mislabeled adversity? Sometimes not. Some people don't haveit, but sometimes we kind of throw it up there and look how tough it is. Ihave to go to work and do this particular job or do this thing. But inreality it is a job, and it is something that can help you supportyour family. Well, it's never been a job for me, youknow. I mean, I really liked what I did at the time. Even if I was packinggroceries, it was a job that allow me to buy a motorcycle to get to work. Um,you know, the paychecks from CNN for shoveling snow were incredible, youknow, because they paid large money to a little kid to clean out the switches.Um, and then radio. Well, that's when the joy began, because I stumbled intothat and you know, I mean, there has been a lot of stress in the business,you know, in the management side. And but I wouldn't wouldn't trade it. Itwas great. It lead to, you know, the next level, which isdoing comedy and making people laugh. People now applaud at the end of my job.When does that happen? To most people? I'm a teacher here in South Korea.That's never happened to me unless they're happy I was done. I was in a hotel in a small Frenchcommunity. One day I had done a show, Uh, our our station covered this areaand I was staying at this hotel, and the young lady who just bought theplace came over and sat down with me the next day at breakfast and said, Youknow, how did the show go? I couldn't go out to work, and I said it was great.You know, people applaud at the end of your job, you know? And she said, Oh, Iwish that happened here And I said, What you need to do is put a littlesign up by the exit door, just opposite the desk that says you enjoyed yourstay give us a round of applause. I'd love to see what happened. Where theybe going. It was great. Get your applause. So you know, those sciencecan go up anywhere. If you enjoyed your service here in Mom's bakery, give us ahand. People will do it. I would do it in an instant Outside the taxi cab. Ifyou enjoyed your ride, give me a hand. Yeah. How can people get in touch withyou? How can they hear Jimmy the janitor? Jimmy, the janitor dot com is ourwebsite, and you can see Jimmy on. That's Jimmy. We call it the YouTube.You see him on the YouTube I you put down in front of everybody. Oh,my God. You got the YouTube. Have you? Have you got the Facebook too? Do you get any Kate Brighteners Hebei?I don't talk like that Point. They they do. You get any, like, little pushbacklike, take it easy. Bye. People say, you know, do you do a lot of shows inCape, right? And, uh, I said no. You know what's so funny about that? Felt?Uh huh. So you know what? The further west yougo, the funny you can be, uh, you know, and people at a certain point goingacross the prairies, start thinking you're a Newfoundland. They lose track of the accent, theaccent that I have. They think it's a Newfoundland accent is actually a cape.Right accent. And I had to learn it, actually, because I didn't have it. Ididn't have that. You know, I didn't have the Jimmy accent on to me at all,because I lost it. Well, I went into radio and they said, you know, youcouldn't do any of that. So, um, so now, uh, in Jimmy's most recent decades, weproudly announced that Jenny was born in Newfoundland, raised in Cape Bretton.He was married and has a girlfriend. Now, all the elements you need forevery joke. So he's a Neuf. The caper. He's got an X, and now he's got thegirlfriend. Trixie. So perfect that the girlfriend we're making out. Yeah, Ihave. My aunt had her seventieth birthday a couple weeks ago, and myuncle, she's living Ontario. But my...

...uncle in Cape Britain, rather thanpeople are just, you know, I wanted there giving a video celebratory sortof happy birthday thing. He brings his camera, he goes out to his burn, startstalking to the horses, comes out with no pants on. I just want to just wishyou a happy birthday just to be different than everyone else. Sandy.One final quote question for you, sir. And that is why do you work? Uh, I love it. I mean, uh, could haveretired a long time ago. Stayed home. But I love doing comedy. I love writingcomedy. And the only thing I don't like is the rehearsing. I hate rehearsestick. You know, I mean, I love to write. I love to deliver, but this partin the middle is agony. That's the only part of the business. So I have toreally set it in stone and say, Okay, we're going into rehearsal. Jimmy and Ion Monday. The whatever. And here's here are all the sketches we're gonnado. We're gonna do three of these a day, and then we're going to have a repeatthe next morning and then do three more and repeat three more and and then andthen once you have the show, you gotta keep it up. You know, if It's a newshow, especially you got to keep doing it every week before you, you know, getto your first tour. And so the big thing is keeping up the comedy. But I Ilove performing, so that's why I do it. I love that applause at the end of thejob. Mhm. Sandy Gillis, Jimmy the janitor.Thank you, kind sir, for your time. And I appreciate the work well. It's mypleasure indeed. Thank you for listening to this episode of why wework with Brian Wien. Be sure to subscribe, Follow and share with othersso they too can be encouraged in their work. I hope that you have yourself aproductive yet joyful day in your work.

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