Jeff | Uncategorized | Sunday, June 12th, 2016

About a month ago, I decided it was high time I wrote another blog entry. I was stumped as to what to write about though. Finally, after mulling it over for some time, I just decided take another trip on down to the Luke and Trav well. It’s a well I’ve visited several times over the course of my comedy career and, fortunately for me, it has yet to run dry.

Therefore, this will be the first of two blog entries I hope to write this summer. This one will focus on my cousin Luke or “Dukey” as often call him, especially when I’m drunk, while the next one will be all about the incomparable Big T-Rav. This thing is a little long so I don’t expect you to read it. Since Luke’s about as avid of a reader as I am a welder, I don’t expect him to skim through it either. If you do decide to give it a shot though, I hope you enjoy reading about old Dukey as much as I’ve enjoyed writing about him.


Luke and I have been close for as long as I can remember. I think we always got along because we were both funny kids who were a tad mischievous. Actually, scratch that, I was a tad mischievous. Luke was a demon seed. He was always stirring up shit and picking fights with his little sister Shirley. He made me laugh though, so I liked him. At family gatherings, the two of us would crack our relatives up by impersonating the characters we saw on television. When Family Matters was on we’d disappear from the living room only to reappear with our pants hiked up to our chests. “Did I do that?” We’d ask, repeating Steve Urkel’s annoying catch phrase at the time. Our favourite characters to mimic on television weren’t stars of any sitcom however. They were the stars of that “I smell burnt toast!” Canadian Heritage Minute about famed neurosurgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield. The ad features an epileptic woman having a seizure in an overly dramatic fashion and…well here, just watch……

Whenever that thing popped up on television, I would start flopping around on the floor as Luke hollered at me in his best French Canadian accent “I said d’ere’s no burnt toast!” Then we’d laugh like hell. I mean, we really thought we were hilarious. Our Nanny, who just happened to be epileptic, thought otherwise. “Stop it, you little assholes!” She’d yell. “You keep that up and you’ll regret it someday.” We paid no attention to her, obviously. I kept flopping, Luke kept hollering and we both kept laughing like hell. Then 20 years later I was walking to the Eaton Centre when I suffered a seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy. So apparently karma really does exist. Either that, or my vengeful, old Nanny wished a neurological disorder upon me.

My Aunt Cheryl worked really hard (some would say she worked her ass off:) ) trying to provide for Luke and Shirley. They bounced around from place to place as she did her damnedest to keep the wolf from the door. As a result, sometimes I wouldn’t see Luke for months on end. You can imagine how excited I was then in 1996 when Luke, Shirley and Aunt Cheryl moved into a house trailer on my mom and dad’s property. The three of us kids had a bunch of fun playing together. We especially enjoyed playing a game Luke and I invented called “King of the Bales.” The rules of the game were pretty simple – we’d run back and forth across these rows of 6 foot high round bales while trying to bodycheck each other off of them. Shirley never won as she was a few years younger and a whole lot lighter than us. I always kept this in mind and would gently nudge her off the bales while Luke would send her flying through the air in a deliberate attempt to permanently injure his little sister. Shirley’s a tough chick though so she never got hurt despite Luke’s best efforts.

Oh, did I mention Luke and Shirley fought a lot? Holy Christ, those two fought about everything. They even fought over what to name some mangy, most likely diseased cat Shirley lured up from the barn one day. Luke wanted to name it Fang while Shirley insisted on calling it Sweetpea. This led to them punching each other until Aunt Cheryl finally declared “Enough! The fucking cat’s name is Fang Sweetpea and that’s final!” After all that arguing, Fang Sweetpea didn’t last very long in the trailer as it was a feral barn cat and not a house pet. It was a wild animal that would bite and scratch you if you got anywhere near it. I hated the goddamn thing and was thrilled when Aunt Cheryl let it run back down to the barn about six weeks later. Upon its return, a cow promptly sat on it so my cousin Bob gave it a respectful burial in the manure pile out behind the barn alongside the remains of my budgie Cheepers. Rest gently, Fang Sweetpea, and rest well.

In the fall of 1997, everybody went their separate ways again. Luke, Shirley and Aunt Cheryl ended up in Acton while my mom and I moved to Milton. When I was in Milton, I attended a one room Baptist schoolhouse called Graceway Christian Academy. I had some good times at Graceway thanks to my buddy Greg Isaak and his family but decided to move back in with my dad in the summer of 2000. Although I missed living on the farm, the main reason I moved back was so I could attend Acton High School with Luke and Trav. I’d never gone to school with either of them and knew it would be a blast. And it was, eventually.

Acton High didn’t get off to a great start for me as the school’s principal was skeptical of the education I had received at Graceway. He cut my credits in half by not recognizing the religious courses I’d completed at Graceway and placed me in a bunch of dummy classes. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of how I ended up in Lucas Payne’s English class. Oh it was truly awful as every weekday I had to report to a classroom full of mouth-breathers and Mr. Men books. Then Luke stormed down to the principal’s office on my behalf. The principal was out for the afternoon but the guidance counsellor Mrs. Tamblyn was in.

“Why the hell do you have my cousin in all these retard classes?” Luke asked, in his typical understated manner.

“First off, don’t use that language, Lucas, and secondly, isn’t he in your English class?” Tambyn countered.

“Ya, he is! And I’m a retard when it comes to English!” Luke said.

Luke had that conversation with Tamblyn on a Friday afternoon. The following Monday I was taken out of all my classes and put in University courses. Thanks, bud. I owe you one.

While it was far from his best subject, Luke wasn’t a “retard” when it came to English. He failed most of his classes in high school because he simply didn’t care to pass them. He’s also always had a bit of an issue with authority. In fact, the reason he was banished to the dummy English class in the first place is because he’d gone to war with his previous English teacher. Her name was Ms. Coulas and, unbeknownst to her, she remains Luke’s arch-nemesis. I always got along with Ms. Coulas but she talked to Luke like he was stupid, which pissed him off something fierce. So much so that instead of paying attention in her class, Luke (who is a surprisingly good artist) passed the time by drawing large, intricately detailed vaginas right on his desk, which is such a dick move but also so funny.

He probably was the funniest kid in Acton High School at the time. He always thought I was funnier than him and I always thought he was funnier than me. When it came to physical comedy however, there was no comparison. Luke’s one of the best physical comedians I’ve ever seen and I lived with a mime for a year for some reason. Luke’s gift of mimicry only got better over the years and he used to be able to impersonate John Van Damme to a T. Yes, that’s John Van Damme, not to be confused with Jean-Claude Van Damme. Jean-Claude Van Damme is a world renowned martial artist and movie star. John Van Damme is an old drunk from Acton who’s walked with a pronounced limp ever since the night he got shitfaced and fell off the roof of the Erin Hotel. We’d often see John hobbling across Acton with a 2-4 in his hands so whenever we were near a case of beer Luke would pick it up and start hobbling like John just to make me laugh.

Luke was also a talented improviser. I’d joined our school’s improv team at the beginning of Grade 11 and spent the entire school year trying to convince him to come aboard. He finally did the following year and was instantly better than me and everyone else. All of his scenes were hilarious! Now, sure, critics will point out that all of his scenes curiously revolved around him humping one of the female improvisers, but they were hilarious nonetheless. He was the best improviser the Acton Improv All Stars had. He was also the reason we were quickly eliminated from the Canadian Improv Games.

Allow me to explain the Canadian Improv Games to those of you who were actually popular in high school. At the Canadian Improv Games, teams of anemic, socially awkward teenagers battle it out in a single elimination improv tournament to determine the biggest theatre nerds in the country. Okay, that’s not exactly the mission statement they have displayed on their website, but you get the idea. Our improv team was stacked with legitimately funny people so we really thought we had a chance to win it all. Instead, we found ourselves locked in a fierce first round match up with a more experienced team that featured Alex Tindal, a really funny cat who I wound up going to Humber with.

Dukey was on fire that night, humping every poor female improviser in sight as he tried to secure us a spot in the second round. The scores were so close between the two teams though, everything hinged on our final scene. For our final scene we were told to improvise a talk show segment. Luckily for us, we had improvised talk shows in our improv club in the past. Our team leader Tom Wilson always played the role of the talk show host while the hilarious Geoff Webster, Luke and myself were always the guests. The four of us quickly stepped forward to take part in the scene. The referee for the game (a.k.a. weird old man who determined the scores) then asked the crowd to shout out some adjectives. They did and he went about assigning them. “Alright, I want your character to act jubilant.” He told Geoff. Then he told Tom to act silly, me to act paranoid and Luke to act pompous. We all nodded our heads and quickly huddled up as we had thirty seconds to strategize before the start of the scene. The rest of our team then joined us and offered suggestions. During the huddle, I could hear Luke muttering something but I chose to ignore him as did everyone else. Turns out we should have listened to him as Luke was muttering stuff like

“Guys, what the hell does pompous mean?”

“Ya, none of you answered me so I’m going to try this again. Guys, what the hell does pompous mean?”

“You fucking assholes! We have three seconds left! What the hell does pompous mean?!!!”

Having no idea how to act pompous, Luke stumbled his way through the scene as a simple straight man. He cost us valuable points in that final scene which cost us the game. To this day, Luke still blames me for the loss, saying that I shouldn’t have ignored him. I contend that if he would have paid attention in Coulas’ class instead of just doodling coochies the whole time he wouldn’t have needed my damn help to begin with. Regardless of who’s right and who’s wrong, the “pompous incident” was an incredibly embarrassing moment in Luke’s life that he’s never really gotten over, which is why I make sure to bring it up as often as possible.

Dukey never finished high school and now makes more money than most people with a degree. He jokes that he shovels rocks for a living and that’s pretty much all I know about his job. We’ve never discussed his work in detail as he knows I wouldn’t understand what the hell he was talking about. We text each other often and trade barbs on Facebook daily. We don’t meet up much but always have fun when we do. We still laugh about the night we went walking around Acton with our buddy Chris Norman a few years ago. During our stroll we stumbled upon a billboard for “Glen Sheepwash – Acton’s #1 Real Estate Agent!” We literally laughed until we cried. Only in Acton would the number one real estate agent in town have such a stupid last name. Then we started imagining Glen disciplining his unruly, teenage son.
“Goddamn it, Justin, you’re a Sheepwash! Start acting like one!”

We should see each other more often but it’s hard to socialize when I’m scared of strangers and Luke hates the human race. He loves his girlfriend though, as well as his house in the bustling metropolis that is Woodstock, Ontario. And that’s pretty much all you need to know about my cousin Luke. He’s an employee, he’s a taxpayer, he’s a home owner and he’s a good boyfriend. Now that might not seem like much to you folks but in our damn family it makes him Saint Paul. Lucas Payne is a man you can be proud of, and I most certainly am.


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