By Nick Tayolor – Calgary Is Awesome – November 11th, 2013

      You’re most likely to know comedian Greg Proops from watching him on the classic improv show ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’, the British version made popular in Canada by reruns on YTV in the 90′s. Though what we watched was edited to protect our precious ears and childlike sense of wonder, you could tell from the many performers over the years Proops was the one with an edge. In the years since ‘Whose Line’, Greg has been continuing to build his status as a top international comic, regularly delivering his politically and socially driven stand-up to crowds in dozens of countries. Proops will be appearing at the Laugh Shop, Thursday through Saturday for 7 shows, including a taping of his popular podcast, ‘The Smartest Man In the World’. Greg was nice enough to talk to me ahead of his appearance.\

      Proops got his start in stand-up in the 80′s amidst the San Fransisco comedy scene. Despite his improv fame, stand-up was his introduction to comedy, ” I didn’t know what improv was till I went to college. A group played in my dorms cantina. They asked for a volunteer and I jumped up. The next day they asked me to join.” Since then his career has taken Greg and his wife Jennifer, who frequently joins him on the road, from Australia, to Europe and across North America constantly.

      The first of 7 shows during his run in Calgary will be a taping of the ‘Smartest Man’, “Proopcast”, as he lovingly refers to it. Unlike his stand-up, the podcast is a stream of consciousness, where he rails against politicians, corporations and the social inequalities we see in the news every day. The popularity of the podcast makes it a necessity in every city he plays, “I make it a point to do a podcast at every club. I want deeply to do it.”

      For Proops, ignorance isn’t an option. The comedian spends at least an hour every day catching up on the day’s headlines. When you advertise yourself as the “Smartest”, you need to be prepared. Equal rights for women and the LGBT community, corporate greed and any misunderstanding of the US constitution (he carries a small pocket copy at all times) are just a few of his causes. With such confrontational view points you would expect a man like Proops to run into trouble more often, “I have answered a few irate emails and received no response. Irate people usually disagree on politics and cannot conduct a conversation.”

      One of the most enjoyable parts about listening to the podcast is Greg’s passion for his viewpoints, especially in the face of a quiet or apathetic crowd. You get the feeling that his tongue lashings, while harsh, are only because he loves you, “I am going to do my thing. The audience can either deal or not.”

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