This feature originally appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Trek.
He is considered one of Canada’s best and brightest comedians – popular for his stand-up character monologues and notorious for his flawless impersonations. From Stuart McLean to Harry Potter’s Severus Snape, no one is safe from Gavin Crawford’s sharp ear and keen eye.
Best known for his work on CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, the comic chameleon’s enduring characters include nerdy teen correspondent Mark Jackson; naive, cardigan-wearing librarian Verna Howard; and cynical high-fashion designer Uwe Meyer.
Crawford has appeared at the Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, St. John’s and Halifax comedy festivals, Just for Laughs, and the Aspen Comedy Festival. He has been honoured with numerous nominations and wins for his work as a comedian, actor and screenwriter, including several for The Gavin Crawford Show. Most recently, Crawford received five Canadian Screen Award nominations for Gavin Crawford’s Wild West – a hilarious mockumentary in which he plays six quirky Albertans. www.gavincrawford.com.
What is your most prized possession?
I move around a lot, so I don’t get too attached to things. Having said that, I enjoy my hair and would be pretty sad to see it leave me.
Who was your childhood hero?
Jim Henson and Julie Andrews or, in an ideal world, their love child
Describe the place you most like to spend time.
There is a little screened in porch off the second floor of my home that reminds me of a treehouse. I like to hide out in there reading and planning my attacks.
What was the last thing you read?
The Hungry Ghosts by Shyam Selvadurai. Horrible grandmothers are always worth reading about.
What or who makes you laugh out loud?
British comedian Miranda Hart. She stars in Call the Midwife, and her sitcom – Miranda – is gentle giant genius.
What’s the most important lesson you ever learned?
Try Again… then, try again with feeling
What’s your idea of the perfect day?
A small boat, snorkel gear and a reef in the sunshine
What was your nickname at school?
Coppertop, Molly Ringwald, and Fag were popular.
What would be the title of your biography?
“They’re all gonna laugh at you!”
If a genie granted you one wish, what would it be?
No Network Notes. Those are the handy suggestions that a television executive will give you to make your script better. Often “Better” is code for less interesting and more obvious.
What item have you owned for the longest time?
I still have three fabric movie posters my mother bought at Fanny’s Fabrics in the late 70s. They used to hang in my childhood bedroom and are posters of Bedtime for Bonzo, Bride of Frankenstein, and Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid.
What is your latest purchase?
I can’t divulge without incriminating myself or Rob Ford.
Whom do you most admire (living or dead) and why?
Jim Henson. Henson’s muppets, in addition to being creative and hilarious, are instilled with a hopefulness that is still inspiring people all over the world.
What would you like your epitaph to say?
“Well that was fun!”
If you could invent something, what would it be?
In which era would you most like to have lived, and why?
I like the idea of making it big in Vaudeville – it seems like being in television but with a giant live audience, plus you get to tour all around the country. I think it must have been heady days when people still had to leave their houses to see mediocre entertainment.
What are you afraid of?
Any online comment section
Name the skill or talent you would most like to have.
Which three pieces of music would you take to that desert island?
Sunday In the Park with George by Sondheim, “Nessun Dorma,” and Pink’s Truth about Love album.
Which famous person (living or dead) do you think (or have you been told) you most resemble?
Ron Howard or any red-haired celebrity
What is your pet peeve?
People who pronounce “ing” as “een” – like runneen or jumpeen
What are some of your UBC highlights?
Apart from just the thrill of being on such a beautiful campus, I loved being a member of the UBC Summer Players. The Theatre department would give the students the run of the building for the summer to form a company and put on a season of plays in rep. I recall a lot of time was spent alternately building sets and hanging out at Wreck Beach, but we somehow managed to produce some really great shows… in addition to breaking several fingers.