Amazing Race comedian plays Vous tonight

By Ken Kellar
Staff writer

A fan-favourite comedian is bringing his comedy chops back to Fort Frances to help celebrate an amazing accomplishment.

Comedian Cedric Newman is returning ot La Palce Rendez-Vous tonight for two seatings of a comedy show. While the comedy is its own thing that Newman has been specially preparing for the people of the Rainy River District, it also follows directly on the heels of another special event at La Place Rendez-Vous. Cedric and his son Tychon Carter-Newman were participants on the most recent season of The amazing Race: Canada, and Tuesday night saw the entertainer hang out with fans at the restaurant to watch the most recent episode.

While Newman couldn’t discuss many details of their time on the show ahead of Tuesday night’s airing, particularly as the season still has a handful of episodes left to go before the final champions are revealed, he said it was a great experience to be part of with his son, especially since he’s been a fan of The Amazing Race since its earliest years.

“It was my idea,” Newman said.

“I’m 51 years old and I watched the American version first, and then I watched the Canadian one, so I was in my 40s watching the show and I just kept thinking to myself ‘I would love to do this.’ I’m a comedian that travels across Canada, and I’m Jamaican so I’m always last minute on trying to get to gigs, so the pressure ofm e jumping in a car and having to speed to a gig to get there and make people laugh, I thought, ‘I’m built for this show!’ So I brought it to my son, and I submitted and audition tape.”

While the producers behind the show liked their tape, Newman said the year they were passed over the first year that they submitted their audition because the theme had been reserved for “heroes,” such as firefighters and paramedics. Following another season and then the COVID-19 pandemic, once the show was brought back to shoot its currently airing season, Newman and his son made the cut.

In the interim, however, the strength of their audition tape also brought some recognition and historic firsts for Newman’s son.

“Because the producers loved our interview, they asked us to go on Big Brother Canada, and then [Tychon] went on it and won,” Newman explained.

“So he’s the first Person of Colour (POC) to win Big Brother Canada, or any Big Brother franchise around the world. He’s a pioneer, and because of that they cast six People of Colour on the American one and a Person of Colour won that one too right after him.”

Comedian Cedric Newman and his son Tychon Carter-Newman took part in The Amazing Race Canada this season. The fan favourite will be on the Rendez-Vous stage tonight for a free comedy performance, where he will share some insights on the show and life. He’s hop- ing to shine a spotlight on some local comedic talent, by offering an opening gig to an up and coming comedian. —Submitted photo

The overall experience of taking on The Amazing Race Canada has been positive for Newman and his son, not just as a father-son team, but also as the first POC father-son team to compete on the show.

“Just for us to be the first POC father-son team on the show is a huge accomplishment for us, just because kids or other fathers will be at home and see us,” he said.

“The stigma of black fathers in their communities is a very sensitive issue, and the fact that we are role models for this is huge for us. It just goes to show how much further a kid can succeed with a father in their life. It’s a good thing moving forward, with everything we’ve gone through with the George Floyd movement.”

Of course, the viewing party at La Place Rendez-Vous is only one part of Newman’s stop in town. Wednesday night will see Newman return for two sittings of a special comedy show at the restaurant, which he’s been preparing for with regular drives around town to gather new materials just for his local fans.

“I can’t talk about the show too much, obviously,” he said.

“But they can expect to laugh, I have fun with being in a small town. I was going through some of my material just now, and I’m going to bring some stories of things that happened to me out here. Like my first time going fishing on Rainy River and learning the difference between a walleye and a pickerel.”

Newman was a featured performer at La Place Rendez-Vous last year for the big Wing Night anniversary celebrations, and said that he always tries to tailor some of his content to local populations because it helps them to be in on some of the jokes, though it can also go too far.

“That’s one of the strengths of my comedy; local reference jokes,” he said.

“Every time I get up on stage, it’s a fine line. If you do five minutes on local stuff, people love it, they appreciate the homework. If you do seven minutes, if you go two minutes over, people go, ‘ok, he knows too much.’ They want just enough.”

Every great comedian needs an opening act, and Newman’s shows at La Place Rendez-Vous are coming with a special opportunity for a local entertainer. There’s a chance for someone in the area who thinks they have the comedy chops to be the opening act tonight, and Newman is willing to spend some time helping them iron out a short comedy set for the occasion.

“I’m looking for a five minute opener if you think you’re funny,” he said.

“I’d love to see if anybody could open and do five minutes, because that would be cool if we had a local. Even if they come and meet me an hour earlier and then I could help help them write it.”

It sounds like a tall task, but Newman has proven its very doable. Before his adventures on The Amazing Race Canada, Newman helped write and develop a short routine with the Humber College Yuk Yuk’s comedy team in roughly 24 hours, which ended up with a video posted online that quickly racked up more than 7,000 views.

Anyone interested in trying out their comedy stylings is invited to reach out to Cedric Newman through his Facebook page. Newman’s comedy shows at La Place Rendez-Vous tonight are at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on the patio. The shows are free to attend, but age of majority is required.