Toronto’s favourite feisty and fiery redhead is back, and this time he’s twisting his humour into a brand new solo show that promises to raise brows — and maybe inspire some impromptu sing-alongs.
Shawn Hitchins brings a six-show run of Single White Douche to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in September. Those watching closely will see evidence of Hitchens’ evolution as a performer and comedian — in the superior writing and more polished delivery.
“I’m not really stepping out with this show but settling into a practice,” Hitchins explains.
This out and proud ginger seems to be unstoppable, having already toured North America and enjoyed rave reviews for his first solo show, Homogenius, while appearing as a regular panellist on MTV’s 1 Girl, 5 Gays. Hitchins has also loaned his funny and poignant voice to fab magazine and the hugely popular B-Girlz Gone Wild!
The freshly 30-year-old Hitchins woke up one day, looked down at his toenails and pondered whether he should spend money on a pedicure or cut his nails himself. He says that experience inspired the show — and it’s hard to tell if he’s joking or serious.
“The conclusion was that I was a douchebag. I started looking at all the trendy and fashionable things that help me to survive. I ended up getting the pedicure, but I trimmed them first so I didn’t feel so guilty.”
Combining his affinity for both cabaret and standup, Single White Douche pokes fun at all the neurotic things we do to make ourselves feel good. “It’s a show that reflects our city and our lifestyle and our insane pop-culture-obsessed world,” Hitchins says.
Deploying his boyish good looks and his natural talent as a performer, Hitchins connects easily with his audience. He wants his work not only to be funny, but also to confront people’s flaws.
This production marks the performer’s first full run in Toronto outside of a comedy or theatre festival, and Hitchins couldn’t be happier about the venue — Buddies is the only professional space in the city where cabaret artists like him are always embraced.
“Comedy is different than theatre; you need an audience for it to grow,” he says. So when Buddies presented him the opportunity for an extended run, it seemed too good to pass up — he signed on enthusiastically.
Single White Douche features new musical arrangements of songs by Madonna, Heart, the Spice Girls and Marilyn Manson. The musical workings have been whipped together by his friend and frequent collaborator Mim Adams.
“Her contribution is the greatest asset to the show because the music is the backbone. It supports my comedy.”
The debut of Single White Douche marks exactly one year that these two have been working together, and Hitchins has nothing but praise for Adams’ talent as a composer. He says that no matter how far-fetched the ideas he presented, Adams never shied away from the challenge of making a song suit the show as a whole.
In describing his style of humour, Hitchins says that he avoids making fun of people and instead finds value in being kind. Unlike many comedians, he claims to have no interest in using negativity in his performances. He says his hope is simple:
“I invite people to laugh at and laugh with me.”