Trevor Boris

Trevor Boris bares all

[an edited version was originally printed in Xtra – April 26, 2010]

(photo for Xtra by David Hawe)

There’s a long and proud tradition of great television bitches: Alexis Carrington-Colby, Amanda Woodward, Wilhelmina Slater and now, Trevor Boris. As the star panelist and producer of MuchMusic’s Video on Trial, Boris gleefully attacks big-name celebrities on a daily basis even as he edges dangerously closer to becoming one himself.

On the eve of the release of Over Easy, his first full-length stand-up DVD, Boris admits his teasing had consequences: music clearance rights issues pushed the disc’s release date back. “I can’t use a Madonna ringtone?” Boris asks. “I’m sure I could help her career a little. People will hear my ringtone and say, ‘Oh yeah, Madonna, I remember her from five years ago. I’m gonna go buy her album!’ I’m doing her a favour!”

This celebrity schtick comes easily, Boris says, because, “I’m dead inside. It makes it easy to judge people when you’re dead inside.” But when he started doing VoT over four years ago, he admits, “I remember thinking that I was going to get all kinds of hate mail but I take as many shots at myself. You learn that it gets old making fun of the same thing—‘Oh, look at this video ho.’ There’s always a video ho!”

Sure, I venture, not every music clip can be as legendarily ridiculous as, say, Total Eclipse of the Heart but Boris laughs at me, “Your references are so old! I thought I felt old!” Oh no, he did not go there. The blond, baby-faced bitch has now earned the big question: how old is Trevor Boris?

“I don’t want to say,” he says, “It messes up my game dating teenagers!” He laughs and says, “Oh, it’s super fun but it’s hard to keep up with those kids though. I look younger than I am so I tend to not bring up age early on.” Not good enough, Boris. He leans back into his chair and begins, “True story—I was on my second date with this guy in Vancouver and as we were being signed in at this fitness club, I’m asked how old I was. I panicked and said ’27,’ then a couple days later, he said, ‘I looked you up on Wikipedia and it says you’re 29.’ It’s hard to lie when you’ve been Googled. But even that was wrong—I was actually 30—and about a week later, I felt bad and said so. He didn’t care but then it was my birthday the following week. In two weeks, I’d gone from 27 to 31 and he said, ‘Trevor’s going to be 40 by Christmas!’”

“I was like a creepy Benjamin Button,” he laughs but admits that, despite taking “the high school romance I never had when I was that age” to an Oprah taping in Chicago (“That’s a big step in a relationship, am I right?”), it didn’t last: “Turns out he’s 19 and from Vancouver!”

Born in Selkirk, Manitoba, Boris got his start in the Winnipeg comedy scene before moving to Toronto in 2003. At the time, he says, “I thought it was going to be amazing—gay guys everywhere!—but I didn’t date anyone my first year. Everyone I’ve dated in the last few years is from Vancouver or Ottawa.” But now, Boris says, dating more in the last year has affected his stand-up act: “I’ve definitely gotten a lot edgier lately, more sexual.” He jokes about a recent date, admitting, “We had sex in his parents’ bed but we had to because we couldn’t fit in his racing car.” Laughing at his own line—an oddly endearing quality he has—Boris says, “Sometimes an older crowd will have trouble with a joke like that but I’m not one of those comics who’s all like, ‘No, I’m gonna shove it down your throat.’ That’s fine for some but I want people to have a good time and leave happy. That’s my job. Some comics forget that and make it all about them.”

Having written for the Juno Awards and performed as far away as South Africa, Boris tailors his material for different audiences. “I have jokes that are good gauges. You dip your toe in a little.” For instance, he says, there’s asking the hot gay identical twins if they’ve ever had sex. “But it’s another you!” he squeals, “It’s really more masturbation than sex, right? I just know that if I had an identical gay twin, I’d…well…I can do better than me.” Boris laughs and says, “That’s the kind of joke I’ll pull out if I feel the crowd’s on my side.”

Boris says his biggest fans are college and university student and, perhaps oddly, teenage girls. “I’m the Hannah Montana of Canada,” he says, “I’m the fourth Jonas Brother! It’s definitely very bizarre to have 15-year-old girls as a big part of your fan base. I do all-ages show sometimes and they’re a hard crowd because they don’t get a lot of it. You can’t make jokes about dating 19-year-olds to 19-year-olds—there’s no distance.”

But that said, he goes out of his way to please them—riffing on Miley Cyrus and Harry Potter and, as a brilliant sales gimmick, “I’m going to personally phone everyone who buys my DVD. 15-year-old girls love that kind of stuff. I figure we’ll talk about boys or I can help them with their homework.” Boris admits he’s done the math and found that even a brief two-minute call will only mean 30 calls an hour, 240 a full day: “After a month, I think I’ll hire an actor who sounds like me.”

Boris says juggling his act and his producer duties at Much demand a frantic pace but it’s hard to feel sorry for a guy who looks half his age, calls his own shots and commands a loyal army of teen girls. “I’ve always been lucky,” Boris says, “Because I’m not threatening, I’ve never had a backlash, even had a heckler.” Best of all, he gets to be a role model. “I get emails from kids who watch VoT who say they’ve come out because they watch me on TV, which is really nice,” Boris says, “And then I say, ‘Where do you live? Are you 19?’”

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About Scott Dagostino

An arts & culture journalist who's the bastard love child of Van Morrison and Jessica Mitford
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