Canada Laughs’ Ben Miner celebrates 18 years of stand-up


Ben Miner

December 9th is my second birthday.

it’s the day I started doing stand-up. That was 18 years ago now, and at 36 years old that means I’ve been performing for half my life.

Half. My. Life. Weeeeeeird.

I’ve actually been doing comedy since I was 15 and a teacher forced me to join the improv team. French catholic improv, not exactly the coolest comedy and I honestly didn’t really enjoy it. But I loved the idea of being funny and that became my thing. Suddenly, all my essays were full of jokes and any presentation I made was sure to be goofy.

The comedy bug had infected me.

Having good teachers around at that point in my life was gigantic. I see that now 18 years later but wow, was I ever lucky to have people take the time to nurture me rather than stunt a young creative mind.

The improv team I was forced on to? That was because that teacher was tired of giving me detention for making jokes. How cool is that? It would have been so much easier to just write me off as a pain in the ass, but she didn’t. She wasn’t even a tenured teacher – it was her first year doing the job full-time. That’s someone who was born to do that job.

Mme Roxanne, you’re awesome and thanks for that kick in the ass.

It doesn’t end there, though. I was lucky to be surrounded by all these awesome teachers who actually cared about their students. I was a weird kid, obviously. Once comedy took hold I got even weirder. I’d do odd things, like turn the kitchen table upside down and set the table. Most of the kitchen would be upside down actually – the toaster, the coffee maker, whatever I could think of.

I was also someone who liked high school and had absolutely everyone sign my yearbook, including teachers. Yeah, I was that kid. My grade 10 English teacher was Mme Barbara Haddad and here’s what she wrote:


It was… um… very interesting teaching you this year. In all seriousness, consider a career in stand-up comedy.

I don’t know how serious she was being in that quote but boy, did it ever hammer it home. This was something I could do. This was something I wanted to do. I never shook that comedy bug.

I was lucky to have Mr. Nault as a teacher imparting lessons of entrepreneur-ism and work ethic, Mr Fuoco showing me warmth and caring and teaching me that you have to fight for what you want, Mme Pelletier for showing me the importance of art.

Good teachers changed my life. And I say that as someone who never got A’s and rarely even B’s. These people took the time to be positive forces in my life when it would have been so much easier to just write me off as a pain in the ass. But they didn’t. And here I am 18 years later. Unreal.

And btw, Mme Roxanne and Mme Haddad were both in the crowd the night of my very first show.

Above and beyond.

Thank you, try the shrimp.


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