If you’ve been to any comedy shows in Winnipeg, chances are you’ve seen Ben Walker perform. He’s one of the city’s hardest working stand-up comics. Between weekly hosting gigs at Jekyll and Hyde’s and Rumor’s Comedy Club, Walker still finds time to hit as many local open mics as possible.
That busy schedule has informed Walker’s approach to his utilitarian Osborne Village home.
“I’m out all the time,” Walker admits. “I do shows three to seven nights a week, and I try to go to as many other shows as I can. So this is a space for me to decompress. I’m a people person, but I see people outside. When I’m home, I like to just chill and have my free days.”
His approach to his living space comes from a very specific cinematic ethos.
“I live my life like Robert DeNiro in Heat,” Walker jokes. “‘Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you’re not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat.’ I have over 20 pairs of shoes though. Because you can’t wear a couch to the bar.”
As if his schedule in Winnipeg isn’t busy enough, Walker has bigger geographic markets in his sights.
“I’m working with a guy who produces comedy shows in Korea,” Walker says. “They have a gap in the schedule, so I’m excited to try doing comedy there. I’m skipping doing roadwork in North America and going straight to the Korean market.”
1) WINNIPEG ARTWORK
“Jane Testar (of improv comedy troupe Outside Joke and sketch group Hot Thespian Action) came over one time, and she was making fun of me because I had nothing on my walls. I’m lazy, so I gave her some money and she decorated the place. She did these pieces.”
2) GOLF CLUBS
“I have no storage space right now, so I keep the golf clubs in the living room just in case I feel like hitting some balls off the balcony.”
3) BASEBALL BOOKS
“These aren’t my favourite books, but they’re a snapshot of what my dad gets me every year for Christmas. I like to read, and I’ve liked baseball since I was a kid. So every year my dad gets me a different baseball book. I’m like, ‘Dad, I’m 35. I like more than just baseball. I don’t need any more baseball books.’ But he’ll still get me a book about the best American ball parks.”
4) FREE PRESS WALL MOUNTS
“The top one came from one of those Winnipeg Free Press comedy contests. I lost every year. I said, ‘I can’t win the contest, I’m taking these wall mounted pictures.’ I think I took three of those... The bottom one was an article about the Winnipeg Comedy Festival four years ago. When I peaked, I guess. It’s me on top, John B Duff in the middle, and Aisha Alfa on the bottom. So it’s in reverse order of success.”
5) SASKATCHEWAN/MANITOBA MAP
“I’m from Regina originally, and I moved here about 10 years ago. A friend of mine I went to university with, she’s American, and she got a job in Washington, D.C. On her first day she went into her office, opened her desk drawer, and coincidentally there was a Saskatchewan/ Manitoba map from 1979. For what reason, I don’t know why. She mailed it to me as a surprise gift.”
Published in Volume 70, Number 18 of The Uniter (February 4, 2016)