Stand-up comedian James Mullinger is a transplant from the UK, and loves his new home in the Maritimes. Mullinger is looking to give the people of Pictou County a good laugh or two, by pointing out some of the absurdities that arise in being a British dad integrating into Atlantic Canadian life.
Mullinger, whose show takes place this Friday at the Glasgow Square Theatre, said “there’s no real big, deep underlying message (to my comedy). For the most part I talk about almost anything in my comedy.”
Mullinger is a prolific presence in the world of comedy, nominated for several awards, including a Canadian Comedy Award and a Just For Laughs Best Comedy Show Award. Mullinger has gained such a following that one of his shows in 2016 sold out the Harbour Station Arena in St. John, N.B., outselling fellow comedians Jeff Dunham and Jerry Seinfeld, when they performed at the same venue.
In a call with The News he said he really appreciates the sense of community he has found, since integrating into life in the Maritimes, saying “I don’t think I knew anyone on my street, living in England. Generally, on public transportation, nobody talks. Here, I know everyone in my town.”
“The thing that has preoccupied my comedy and my life for the last four years has been the transition of moving from London, England, to the Maritimes,” said Mullinger. “Equally, I’m a dad, so there’ll be a lot of dad-stuff in there, and stuff about my kids.”
Mullinger said a lot of what he’ll be talking about onstage will have a positive tint to it, in what he hopes will reflect his admiration of the people and culture of the Maritimes. The show will take the perspective of a newcomer looking in, focusing on the differences and “the affinity for English culture. Lots of people watch shows like Coronation Street, and there’s a lot of interest in the royal family out there. People are often quite interested to hear what it’s really like in England, as opposed to what they hear.”
“I like to infuse positivity in my shows, along with a joy and love of the East Coast of Canada. I’m trying to give the audience a show that emphasizes the difference between life in England and life in the Maritimes,” said Mullinger. “I have very few complaints. I have friends who visit from London, and Sydney and New York – when they come here, they are always blown away by how beautiful it is and the quality of life here.”
One of the themes of his routine, Mullinger noted, is the disconnect between the reality of living in London, and the “sanitized version” of life in the United Kingdom on TV which people are far more familiar with.
“There’s a higher cost of living, and in some areas, there are colossal areas of crime. There was probably more violent crime in a week on the Street I was living on, in London, than "in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia in an entire year.”
Mullinger is looking forward to Friday’s show – it will be his second performance in Pictou County, having played the Pictou County Wellness Centre before.
“I had a wonderful time (at the Wellness Centre). When the people with the Glasgow Square Theatre got in touch and asked me about bringing my show here, I jumped at the chance. I can’t wait,” said Mullinger.