“I told my wife, ‘You’re so much smarter than me’. She said, ‘That’s not saying much.’” –Tazz
Big Daddy Tazz’s comedy routines are full of stories from his own life. So, predictably, the story behind his upcoming fundraising show in Virden comes from real life experience.
When Tazz Norris and his wife lost their beloved cat to old age, his wife was so sad that Tazz suggested fostering a cat so they could decide over time whether it would work with their busy lifestyle.
“Meanwhile, I kept thinking ‘dog, dog, dog’. I was never a cat guy. I grew up on a farm and was a dog guy.
“Then my wife found an ad online about fostering Gracie for Virden Pet Network. We went to pick her up at Kathy Heaman’s house in Virden. Gracie climbed up my arm and settled on my shoulder.
“I said, ‘Well, this one’s coming home!’”
And that’s how Big Daddy Tazz became a cat guy. Gracie never did leave his home.
“I’ve failed at a lot of things in life but being a foster fail is the best!”
Tazz is also a philanthropist, doing shows for charities all across Canada.
His performance in support of Virden Pet Network is just the latest in his ongoing friendship with the folks of Virden.
“I’ve done fundraising shows for the daycare, the Oil Caps, I’ve done the Sportsmen’s Dinner at the Legion. I’m good friends with Darcy Cockbill (former owner of the Central Hotel) and Jillian Irvine (Boston Pizza).”
He wistfully remembers the best perogies and meatballs he ever had were in Virden, made by Thelma Quinn.
So it may be a bit like old home day when he comes to town this weekend.
For those who aren’t familiar with the Big Daddy Tazz style of comedy, he suggests a minimum age of 16 or 18 but only because, “The kids won’t get my Flintstones references!”
“People use to tell me if you’re gonna do a clean show, you should tell jokes your grandmother would approve of. Well my grandma used the F word all the time so...
“Seriously, I got 17 standing ovations in Winkler, that’s how clean my show is.”
Tazz tailors his standup routines to the audience. For Virden, he’ll poke fun at animal lovers and share his trials and tribulations with pets over the years (his hairball impression is not to be missed).
One thing he never leaves out is his experiences with mental health issues.
“We didn’t have ADD when I was a kid. We had STOP IT!”
Through his performances, he’s raised about $150,000 for mood disorders groups. As an anti-bullying advocate, he bought a Jeep that he gets kids to sign as a promise not to bully.
And he travels. A lot. In one week alone, Tazz performed in Williams Lake, B.C., Moncton, N.B., and Cape Breton, N.S.
He misses his family and home in Winnipeg but charity – and making people laugh - keep him going.
“My job is traveling and my joy is talking to people.”
Big Daddy Tazz and his family now have two cats, having taken in a rescue kitten named Kosmo as a friend for Gracie. Cats just seem to suit the jet-setting lifestyle of one of Canada’s top comedians.
“Cats are a plug-and-play animal; you can leave them alone for a while. I don’t have a dog because I’m not in town enough.
“But when I retire, I’ll be surrounded by dogs and cats… and maybe a llama or two.”
Tazz performs at the Virden Legion this Sunday evening. Tickets are available from Virden Pet Network and at the door.