Toronto after returning from L.A. 1997
Comedy At Club 54
As a comic, Derek holds the title of youngest professional stand-up comedian in Yuk Yuks chain of comedy history. He first appeared on stage at his grade 8 graduation at 13, leading to further sets in high-school at 15, where his mother decided while at a Yuk Yuks to mention her son who was 16 at the time. He was asked to perform and management offered him a Yuks T-shirt on the condition he came back after that killer set which he would become known for.
Much can be said in those first 2-3 years as a winner of contests and an appearance on T.V. including press articles. He turned pro by 17, toured Ontario frequently in many instances, stealing the spot-light from head-liners. He has worked with Russell Peters and Jeremy Hotz to name a few back in the day. A Walt Disney producer in town at one point was set up to watch four comics regarding a role, instead he caught Derek's unannounced set and it was he who got the audition. Flashbulbs begin. Many pros were there including Norm McDonald. On another occasion, an assistant approached the young comic asking if her friend could meet him; it was Heather Locklear. Those moments meant a great deal amidst hard work. Certain people who went on to fame on SNL and other avenues admired Derek's talent, many at the time certain he'd be a major star by 24, although things don't always flow the way one hopes. A favourite quote of Derek's referring to Harland Williams says it all, '6 years in Toronto, nothing, 6 minutes in L.A. and I was offered Comedy On The Road.' Timing/ luck as well!
He later performed showcases in NYC as well as famed clubs in L.A. to excellent reviews. (He was always known for his presence and waitresses at all the clubs known for watching top comics would stop and watch as noted by others.) At this time he was studying at Stella Adler and also trying desperately to find ways of legally settling in L.A. but again, things would not pan out. It was around 2000 after a flight mishap stopped him from another showcase in L.A. From that point on through industry frustration and many years of hard work he shelved comedy; if he couldn't be at the top - there was no point - club life was never intended. This stoppage was uncharacteristic of Derek but he sought other endeavours. There were a few attempts at returning during 2002 and 2011, 2013 only for appearances with shows with merit, but timing and more played a role. There is a tentative show partly in the planning stages after 21 years in a theatre setting in 2019...but time and scheduling will tell.
Silly rehearsal footage (intended for my use.) NOTE ALL FOOTAGE IS 'OLD-SCHOOL' all stems from VHS vs digital etc. now.
Great improv due to music cue/ DJ failure; includes callback line from much earlier in the show.
More press to come...the page below is missing a main section.
Friend of Jim Carrey--said this a few times between'88-92 as a comic during the late 80's early to mid 90's Derek often met varied comic talents in L.A., sometimes Toronto, such as Andrew Dice Clay, Richard Jeni, Howie Mandel, Pauley Shore and his idol, Richard Pryor (Derek kept Richard's martini stick after he left the Comedy Store and sat in his seat!) The previous mentioned, he could care less of.