Tuesday 29 April 2014

Chantal Desjardins making a name for herself on stand up comedy scene

Chantal Desjardins is enjoying life as a stand up comic. The gal with the movie star looks had a good career going for her on local radio, with gigs on Virgin Radio, CHOM and latterly on CJAD where she did sports and showed real on air karma  with drive home show host Aaron Rand. When Bell Media purchased Virgin, CHOM and CJAD, essentially merging TSN 690 with the latter, Desjardins was one of the casualties.

Desjardins, 31, can still be seen on occasionally on CTV, but what began as a bit of an extra curricular activity is developing into something more. She will be onstage at Club Soda on St. Laurent Blvd. Wednesday evening, May 7 for  the MediaExperts’ Evening of Comedy with Joey Elias and Friends. The third annual edition is once again being held in support of On Our Own, the Montrealbased organization providing critical support services and affordable transitional housing for young parents wishing to develop the skills they need to live independently in the community.

“I got my start in standup comedy a couple of years ago when I took Joey Elias’ course,” Desjardins was telling me last week. “We had a friends and family night and when it was over three offered me events to perform at. I did not really pursue it at the time, but when I was laid off from CJAD last fall I had the time. Since then I have done 16 shows. It’s been lots of fun.”
Chantal Desjardins

Besides Desjardins, Elias  has invited David Pryde, Jeff Shouela and  Chris Venditto to be part of the  Media Experts’ event. “I had everybody calling me to be a part of this show this year,” Elias say. “Everyone last year had such  a great time, the word really got around and this event has become a regular fixture on the Montreal Comedy  calendar. The cause is truly a deserving one, Club Soda is a great room and I hope we raise even more than we did last year.”

Independent media services agency Media Experts has partnered with On Our Own and Canadian charitable organization, GIVGroups, permitting the public to secure their entry to the show by making a tax deductible donation online. Created to help boost charitable giving in Canada, GIVGroups is a website where Canadians, companies, foundations and charities come together to support charitable causes. GIVGroups hosts matching giftchallenges helping to multiply the good deeds of corporate sponsors with the matching donations of Canadians to increase the value of those donations. 

“Crowd funding is an exciting new trend in charitable giving in Canada,” said Woodrow Rosenbaum, Executive  Director of GIV3. “We are very pleased to see Media Experts and O3 taking advantage of our free platform to raise money and engage donors.” 

On the GIVGroups website, http://www.givgroups.ca/campaign/63 people simply select the On Our Own Media  Experts GIVGroup and make their taxdeductible donation. The public have only to present the printed receipt of  their minimum donation of $40  to be admitted to the comedy benefit on May 7 at Club Soda.

A native of Winnipeg, she came here to be with her then significant other a number of years ago.  Following an amicable split, she found herself single for the first time since the age of 17. The divorce and dating has become part of her routine. “I don’t doubt that at some point I will get back to radio,” she said. “I have a broadcasting agent trying to lure me to Toronto, but I’d like to stay here.”

Desjardins says she was really enjoying her time alongside Rand.  But when the TSN 690 deal came through the writing was on the wall. “I was not insulted,” she said. “Chris Bury is  a good friend of mine.  This is reality. They already had sportscasters right across the hall. It was a logical business decision.”

Could Desjardins end up at Rogers Sportsnet/City Montreal, where there is currently a vacancy for a local correspondent? One would think that both she and Jess Russnak of TSN 690 would be good candidates to succeed Aly Lozoff, who was doing a fabulous job yet did not have her contract renewed.

There is also an opening on weekends at Virgin Radio, with Nikki Balch off to Ottawa. Desjardins would be a great fit there as well.