The first time I met Toronto comedian Ian Lynch he tried to start a fight with me after I told him he couldn’t call me a fag so many times. That was just before the DJ threw him out of the bar we were in.
“I remember this chick with a Madonna ‘Rain’ wig on came running out of the DJ booth and went all ninja on us,” he laughs remembering the night. “It was like Liza Minnelli attacking.”
It’s that type of unapologetic behaviour that defines the blue-eyed comedian. If you don’t like it, leave.
Known as Eight-Inch Lynch to friends (according to independent research, not Internet inches either), Lynch is a cocky and brash guy with a personality that verges on arrogant. He also has a sly and wickedly funny streak that helps to transform his rapid-fire gutter talk into witty tales.
Lynch has been doing standup in Toronto since 2004 after lying about having stage experience to get into the Humber post-grad comedy writing program. He found himself onstage for the first time at Yuk Yuk’s as a result. The audience loved him… his professor just said every second word couldn’t be fuck.
“I always wanted to be famous and talented, but I wasn’t,” says Lynch, smiling. “It was a matter of me talking, so I went to Humber for comedy writing. It could’ve been done in three weeks and they made it eight months. Sometimes we played tag for two hours. But I met a ton of other comics like Jared Sales and Trevor Boris.”
Collecting a handful of his favourite comedians in 2008 Lynch started a monthly showcase called The Ian Lynch Show at Fire on the East Side, a no-holds-barred look at life, lust and the questionable elements of human behaviour. Nothing is off limits and past topics have included herpes, cancer, incest, rape, genocide, HIV and webcamming — surprisingly funny given the explosive subject matter. As the producer of every show, Lynch is very selective about who makes the cut.
“I’m a bartender at the Rivoli and I watch the comics and take notes if they’re dirty enough,” Lynch says. “If you’re pervy and gross and want to tell a story about something going wrong during sex then by all means. But if it’s about your cell phone bill, it couldn’t be less interesting. It’s my tone for the show and what I like. There are a lot of people who want to come do my show, but I have to say, ‘Uh, sorry.’ With standup you either have it or you don’t. It’s not something that can be taught to someone ’cause it’s your own views on the world. What I tell them is, ‘You don’t fit the tone of the show, but we’d appreciate you as an audience member.’”
Like jilted lovers not everyone reacts kindly to Lynch’s process; he has some detractors as a result.
“A lot of comedians hate me ’cause I won’t put them in my show, and a lot of fags hate me cause I won’t put them on my dick,” Lynch says bluntly, “and that’s just kind of the way the world works. Not everyone can be your friend.”
Some of Lynch’s material is pulled from the intimate lives of his friends, including one buff young man who has the unfortunate moniker Herpules. Then there’s the Yeaster Bunny for a friend with a yeast infection, a male — for Lynch that’s the whole joke. Other friend’s have seen their dirty laundry aired in packed bars and comedy clubs and aside from a cursory blush, apparently love every dear dirty diary moment.
“I’m very up-front about it,” Lynch says. “If you’re in my life, I write you in. And to be honest, people pretend to hate it but they love it. I think people are flattered to make the act.
“The thing I love about myself is that everyone wants to tell me their secrets and the thing I love about myself is that I love to tell everyone’s secrets,” he laughs. “I can keep a secret like my uncle can keep a job.”
Of course his family isn’t off-limits either. But if his parents are in the audience, they are hard of hearing so may not catch every nuance. “When I moved away from home, because my parents were deaf, I would just go in their house, rob all the food from the fridge and leave,” says Lynch in one of his standup bits. “They would say, ‘You never come to visit,’ and I would say, ‘Check your freezer.’”
Lynch revels in his contentious reputation and doesn’t plan on changing a thing anytime soon. “I like that my show is racy and pervy,” he says. “The audience feeds on it. I put new acts on and tell them be as dirty as you want. This audience takes anything, just like a whore.”
Speaking of whores, Lynch and some of the other comics in his roster spend a lot of time referencing his penis during his shows and so he took a moment to explain the origins of his nickname.
“It was yelled at me during a karaoke competition. I always talk about it, and I think that people expect it to not be as big because of that. But 10 times out of 10 when Eight-Inch Lynch strikes for the first time they find out. The best is when you know you have a better one than someone else. There’s nothing better.”