Kay Bye: Ottawa Comic Moves to L.A. to Further Career

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Graham Kay is a stand up comedian, an actor and a television writer! All three of his jobs sound amazing, but the one that Kay prefers most is his role as a comedian. According to Graham, “it's a combination of everything and I get to be the director and editor. Saying what you want and how you want is an amazing experience in artistic freedom.”  The artistic freedom is what he loves most, along with the hours that he works: “Being my own boss and setting my own schedule is great. Also, making people laugh is OK too. It feels good.” Graham has made people laugh with a variety of subjects, both at live shows and on his album, Comedy by the Graham (available on iTunes). Topics range from haircuts to the Canadian Healthcare system, as well as what it was like to live with dial-up internet. (No, he didn’t like that sound either.)

At the time this article was written, Graham was preparing to move to Los Angeles, California to further his career. In anticipation of the move, he said that he was most looking forward to “a bigger stage, more opportunity [and] being challenged and inspired by a bigger pool of comedians.” He was also a part of his own going-away-party style comedy show called “Kay Bye”. Other comics who were part of the send-off included, Alex Nussbaum, Dylan Gott, Matt O’Brien and more.  

A lot of things have led up to Graham’s big move. Most recently, Kay worked as a writer for CTV’s comedy series, Spun Out which stars Dave Foley of Kids in the Hall fame. Graham said that his favourite part of this experience was working with his super talented friends. Among the many writers for the show are Sara Hennessy and Match Game host, Darrin Rose, who both appeared alongside Graham on Much Music’s Video On Trial.

However, Kay’s path to stand up comedy had to start somewhere:I started doing comedy seriously when I was 25, after 5 years of wishing I did it and doing the odd open mic once a year.” He waited tables and managed to save $10 000, which allowed him to quit his job.

Afterwards, he said, “[I] spent 3 months concentrating on starting my amateur comedy career. I eventually had to get another job, but I had worked out a system and figured out what kind of schedule I would need to continue. After 4 years of that, I was eventually a full-time comic and was able to quit my last day job. The rest is a slightly less than boring history.”

The Ottawa native attended Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, however he advises aspiring comics to not take a class specifically designed for comedy: “You will meet people just like you and at the same level if you go to open mics.” Kay returned to Nova Scotia to appear on The Halifax Comedy Festival stage where he spoke about his real-life experiences, including the time he broke both arms at once!

 To keep up with Graham in L.A. (and to see old photos of his broken arms) you can follow him on Twitter @GrahamKayComedy and visit his website. All the best to Graham on his new adventure!