For Toronto-born standup comedian Sabrina Jalees, there’s no such thing as too much information. The 27-year-old, who has appeared on MuchMusic’s Video on Trial and was a columnist for the Toronto Star, says her routines benefit from her willingness to share. Jalees talks to Rhubarb about why she’s so open, life in the U.S., and gay marriage.
How did you parents react when you said you wanted to be a comedian?
I just did it before telling them. I always knew I wanted attention from people, but I didn’t really know specifically I wanted to be a standup comic until I tried it and got addicted. Doing standup comedy is kind of like doing heroin. No one does it for the first time thinking they’ll get hooked—but the next thing you know, you’re up at all hours of the night trying to get your fix. What I’m trying to say is, I’d sell my TV to buy a mic and a crowd any day.
Once my parents realized I was doing comedy, their rule was as long as you get your school work done, we’re cool with you going downtown and being crazy.
You’re a Canadian living in Brooklyn. What do you like most (and least) about living in the U.S.?
I like most how amazingly driven everyone is. The U.S. and Canada are quite comparable. Politically they’re very different, but coming from Toronto and moving to New York is an awesome experience. It’s a city like Toronto but it’s completely new to me and giant and I’m constantly discovering new people and new places and new things. Coming here was really intimidating but it had a huge payoff. The comedy scene here is really inspiring. I guess the difference between Toronto and New York is the amount of people and the amount of competition. You’ve gotta work hard (in New York) or you’ll just fall behind.