Hello fellow reddit enthusiasts, I'm Canadian stand-up comedian Chris Gaskin. I have been hard at work in the world of stand-up comedy for 8 years, opening for the likes of T.J. Miller, Emo Philips, and Kenny vs. Spenny. This year I got the opportunity to compete in SiriusXM Top Comic, where the winner gets to perform at Just For Laughs and gets $25,000. If I get enough votes to get me to the finals (at JFL42), I think I can make a splash.

SiriusXM Top Comic Voting & Video Link:

Final Edit: Thanks to all of you who asked questions. Please vote daily, and please share the video with your friends. Hope to do another AMA at some point in the not to distant future.

Comments: 54 • Responses: 28  • Date: 

nolasagne6 karma

How did the open heart surgeries affect your blindness and inability to count to to ten? Is that why you stopped reffing pro wrestling?

gaskincomedy4 karma

Hahaha! One of my favourite parts of reffing wrestling. My open heart surgeries prevented me from being a wrestler. I stopped reffing because of creative differences I had with the owner/booker of the company I was working with. I still ref occasionally.

codingkid5 karma

Why have you had two open heart surgeries?

gaskincomedy19 karma

Was born with Tetralogy of Fallot and had my first surgery at 3-years-old to repair that. Had a pulmonary valve replacement at 18-years-old. I have a pigs valve in my heart, but fret not Jewish ladies, it's kosher!

Santiago_S3 karma

Hi , sorry i came here late but , i noticed that you had sugury for ToF. How has that affected your life? Do you have to get yearly echo's done ?

The reason im asking is because im currently sitting at my 4month old daughters beside after her heart repair. And just would like to get an idea of what will happen to her from once she is discharged.

gaskincomedy3 karma

Sorry to hear about your daughter. As a child I needed to have annual check-ups. Those included echos, x-rays, exercise tests, the occasional MRI, ECGs, and regular blood work. As an adult it's not bi-annually.

I know it made my life, especially as a boy a bit of a challenge. I wanted to play physical sports (e.g. hockey), and be a wrestler. Those were out of the question because it's too much of a danger to me. It has led me to be hyper aware of body sensations, and susceptible to panic attacks. Outside of that, I live my everyday life like everyone else.

I imagine it'll be slightly different as a female, and be forewarned, she will be self conscious about the scar, as I am myself. Part of your job as a parent is to protect your child, you may have to say no to certain activities. My mother, the rockstar that she is, was not the best at this. Her argument was always, "Do you want to die?" Just know that a lot of the protecting you'll do will be emotional.

I wish your daughter the best of luck and a speedy recovery.

Santiago_S2 karma

Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate it.

gaskincomedy2 karma

I don't remember much about my first surgery, but I was told that my mom had to regularly calm me down the few weeks after, even though I just wanted to play. I'd say with the one I had 11 years ago (of which I'll need another of the same type at some point in the future) the hardest part of the recovery was the broken ribs.

If you have any other questions don't be afraid to ask, or even PM me, I'll be more than happy to help.

Santiago_S2 karma

So do you know why they waited until you were 3 to have your surgury?

gaskincomedy2 karma

You know, I'm not actually too sure about that one. I think my ToF wasn't so bad that they needed to operate on it immediately, I do know they kept an eye on it. They also didn't discover it until I was about 9 months old. Medical technology is way better now than it was 30 years ago.

truthaboutcs3 karma

What do you think about the movie Predator?

gaskincomedy4 karma

Been a while since I've seen it, used to reference it in my act, it's a fantastic movie. The 80s and 90s had some of the best action movies. Die Hard, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Total Recall, The Matrix. Damn, I need to watch some of these again!

Stazelney3 karma

Do you have certain comics you prefer to work with or not work with? Why Vancouver for comedy and what would be your pro wrestling name/persona?

gaskincomedy7 karma

When I get to bring openers with me I tend to pick guys who will make me work. I want people to enjoy the entire show. I also get to open for other great comics as well. I like working with Brett Martin, Ivan Decker, and Simon King.

Vancouver is pound-for-pound one of the best comedy scenes in North America. I also have extended family here, and I'm very grateful for the support they've provided. There's a few local up-and-comers that are incredible (Harris Anderson, Randee Neumeyer, and Carl Turnbull come to mind)

I also went with my own name when wrestling. I always get turned off by bad gimmicks.

MartinSchou3 karma

Simply because you bring it up in your stand-up bit - how old are you?

Which comedians do you look to for comedic inspiration? As in "this is the style I do, and they do really well" rather than "Jerry Seinfeld is a gajillionaire, I want to be like him".

gaskincomedy7 karma

I'm 29.

My favourite comedian of all time is George Carlin, right now I really like Bill Burr, Joe Rogan, Joey Diaz, Rob Pue, and Ivan Decker to name a few. Although the inspiration I get from watching them is to work harder.

Treasonable2 karma

What's up?

gaskincomedy2 karma

Just drinking some Orange Pekoe tea, and waiting to answer more questions!

gaskincomedy2 karma

It's not showing this AMA as live, but I can assure you that I'll be here for the next few hours at least

spoonedman2 karma

What is the meaning of life?

gaskincomedy2 karma

To procreate and keep the species moving forward, I guess

gaskincomedy2 karma

45 minutes until I'm AFK. I may still answer some after that.

this_is_your_dad2 karma

Funny stuff! Can you tell us about your first gig and/or worst gig?

gaskincomedy4 karma

My first gig ever was at the PGX (now known as the BCNE) which was a local fair in the town I grew up in. I signed up as local talent, went for an audition, did a joke about going to Disney Land and being so short the only ride I could go on was It's a Small World. They liked me, asked me how much time I could do, and told me I'd be getting a call soon. Didn't get a call until about a week before the event, asking me if I was still interested. I get to the show, it's a clamshell just off the midway, and found myself as a part of PGX Idol (American Idol was huge back then). Went up, made fun of the fact that they didn't read that I'm a comedian, did my joke, and ended up advancing to the finals.

My worst gig ever was at Lafflines in New Westminster. I made the mistake of opening with the wrong bit (which could be perceived harsh), dug myself a whole, and proceeded to bomb for 20 minutes. Bombing is the only place you really learn anything. A huge takeaway from that night was that I'd still be on a stage the next night.

this_is_your_dad1 karma

Yeah you can do your best joke writing when you are bombing.

FYI: Saturday during the first weekend of the Olympics is a terrible time to do an AMA.

gaskincomedy1 karma

I don't really do joke writing when bombing, but you do take something away each time.

I'll probably attempt another one mid week. I've got Handball on the other screen.

rykorotez2 karma

Have you ever been at Sirius when Howard Stern arrives or leaves? I've heard they shut down the whole floor so his highness doesn't have to interact with the common people. You ever seen or heard anything like this?

gaskincomedy2 karma

Never been to the head office. I've heard things though. I get it, people want to focus on their show. I had been sequestered to a different green room because I made the mistake of bringing a friend with me. It sounds crazy, but I think it kind of makes sense.

Godreig2 karma

Hey there! Thanks for doing an AMA. I haven't seen many details regarding your referee career. Would you be willing to talk about it?

Such as: What promotion(s) did/do you work for? What can you say about the job an average fan (or maybe even a "smark") might not know about refereeing?

Do you have a favorite match? Any recognizable names you've had the privilege to work with?

Any funny/unusual/otherwise notable botches in matches that you could share? I always appreciate a good botch or when you can audibly hear a spot getting called: I don't mind it because I'm aware it's all entertainment anyways.

If you read this, thanks! And if you answer, double thanks! :)

gaskincomedy2 karma

I've worked with many Pacific Northwest independents: most notably All Star Wrestling, Maniac Wrestling Alliance, Wrestling Heroes and Villains, International Championship Wrestling, Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling, Real Canadian Wrestling, and a few others.

I would say the goal of the referee in pro-wrestling is to be in the background until needed. Also, because I'm so small I made all the other workers look big.

Favourite match I've reffed was Kyle O'Reilly vs. El Phantasmo at the PGX in 2007. Very early in both their careers, and I knew Kyle was something special back then. I've also worked with Honky Tonk Man, Fake Razor Ramon, Emma, and the Bollywood Boys.

Biggest botch I can think of was a spot where one of the workers lost his grip on a kendo stick and it went into the crowd and hit some kid in the face. The wrestler tried to apologise and check on the kid, while the father was trying to fight the wrestler.

Godreig2 karma

Oh wow! I was not expecting that botch story! That literally left my mouth agape. I imagine the kid was probably more startled than hurt (I hope).

That's pretty awesome those that you got to work with. How did you get into the referee business? And was there any wrestler or type of match that was harder to work(or work with)? Maybe certain wrestlers that improvise more and make it hard to be in a good position in the ring?

Any gimmick matches you had a chance to work? I'm not sure if it's a fair generalization, but some of the independent work I've seen tend to have more variety in terms of match rules (more "No DQ/Falls Count Anywhere" or just matches with extra props added in) than say WWE generally has.

I wouldn't know but I've seen some No DQ matches and other "gimmick" matches and it seems like those would add a lot of difficulty, or at least more work, in terms of being in the right place at the right time and following the wrestlers around as they perform spots outside the ring.

I appreciate the responses! One more I just thought of: How was the environment behind the scenes? Dunno if you want to get into it, but just curious what sort of drama and politics went on behind the scenes and how that might have factored into your decision into continuing working with a particular independent?

gaskincomedy2 karma

The kid was definitely more startled than hurt. The funny part is the handle smoked the promoter's kid in the face, and he just shrugged it off. For the record, I'd rather be hit with the bamboo than the handle.

I wanted to be a wrestler, but because of my heart condition I couldn't be medically cleared. So I became a referee (and sometimes manager, I was quite the heat magnet). I would say that tag matches are more involved than anything, and some have insanely convoluted finishes.

I've worked a few ladder matches, a few no-DQ matches, and a few battle royals. In my opinion gimmick matches are the easiest; just stay out of the way.

gaskincomedy2 karma

I'm live until 11:59 pm (EST), and I am trying to answer all questions as fast as possible.

halamaxrid2 karma

What is the best joke you got?

gaskincomedy3 karma

This can almost change on a day-to-day basis. I'm quite fond of this one though: https://youtu.be/i7AtZGzJOiw?t=39s

halamaxrid-2 karma


gaskincomedy4 karma

You should try to have more of Daniel Tosh style

The thing about stand-up is you really have to be yourself. It's hard to manufacture funny. Me onstage is just a slightly amplified version of me offstage.

I think I'd suit you!

Great Buffalo Bill reference!

TD27052 karma

Hi Chris, fellow Tetralogy of Fallot sufferer here! I'm 26 and had the initial surgery done when I was 1. I have been incredibly lucky and have not suffered any complications since. However my cardiologist estimates that in five years or so I'll need to have a pulmonary valve put in. I saw you said that you'd had this surgery. Would you mind elaborating on the process and letting me exactly what I'm in for? It's all well and good to hear it from a man behind a desk, but to hear it from someone who's had it would be really helpful.


gaskincomedy2 karma

Considering the fact that it's open heart surgery, there's a few things that you'll have to look out for.

Depending on which type of valve you get will determine how different your life will be. I have a porcine valve which they estimate to last 7-9 years, and I'm coming up on year 12. I'm not super concerned because last time I saw my cardiologist, she said the was no degradation. I do take 81mg ASA everyday, but that was added in recently.

After the surgery you should be in the hospital for 5-7 days. You will most likely have chest tubes and pacemaker wires. The latter of which really hurt removing, but then again the doctor who was doing that for me looked like the Crypt Keeper and had no upper body strength. Look forward to mediocre hospital food during this time.

Your chest is going to hurt for about four to six weeks, this is because your ribs and sternum have all been broken. Don't let this scare you, as it's more of a pain in the ass than anything. Basically it just means that anytime you cough, sneeze, or laugh it'll hurt like hell.

Once you start recovering you'll find yourself feeling as you would any other day. You'll wane off the baby aspirin for a few years until you're put back on it. You'll have annual or bi-annual check-ups, and basically will be waiting to do it all over again.

Pretty much, it's like a bad break up, except the pain is physical and not emotional.

If you have any questions in the future, feel free to PM me, or find me on Facebook or whatever, I'll be glad to give you support.

Kullet_Bing1 karma

how do you referee a staged fight?

gaskincomedy1 karma

Straight down the middle.

gaskincomedy1 karma

I'm out for now. Thanks everyone for your questions. I hope you all checked out the video and voted. Feel free to submit additional questions, I will answer them when I can.

Alpinestarhero1 karma

So, the way i interpret this is you refereed wrestling matches with a broken frickin' heart...would you say that statement is true?

gaskincomedy1 karma

Oh it's true, it's damn true!

Alpinestarhero2 karma

straps go back on...only to take them BACK OFF! WOOOOOO! Thanks American Hero! All the best!

gaskincomedy1 karma

Kurt Angle is one of my favourite wrestlers of all time, and may be the best all-rounder.

CelticKillerSOB1 karma

As someone who wants to be a wrestling referee, is there any advice you can give about breaking in as a ref?

gaskincomedy1 karma

Try to find a reputable wrestling school, some of them have lesser fees for people who want to ref. They will also get you connections to independent wrestling companies as well.

yengerme1 karma

How has the whole experience of open hear surgery (from once you were diagnosed and told you would need surgery to once it was suc cedilla completed) influenced your career in comedy?

gaskincomedy1 karma

It's basically made me a 63-year-old trapped inside a 29-year-old's body. I like to yell shit like, "Get off my lawn!"

Ponykegabs0 karma

Will you go on /r/roastme next for material for your standup?

gaskincomedy1 karma

No, I prefer to write my jokes myself, but I have a new subreddit that I'm subscribed to!