"Make 'em laugh."
That could be the motto Jessica Holmes lives by. She's one of Canada's best known and successful female comedians, having opened for A-listers like Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen DeGeneres.
Holmes parlayed a stint on Royal Canadian Air Farce into a career as a motivational speaker (She's also a HuffPost Canada blogger).
Her goal is to help Canucks find humour in everyday things, from raising kids to tripping while running errands. And though she describes herself as a big ol' goof in her 2010 book I Love Your Laugh: Finding the Light in my Screwball Life, we beg to differ. Not only is she a published author and television star, she's a mom to two young children.
What makes this Ottawa native tick? Read on to find out.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
When my kids crawl into bed with us in the middle of the night. Their restless toes kneading my tummy while they mouth breathe and cuddle in is adorable!
What is your greatest fear?
That I'll mess my kids up (they're ages 4 and 5). I'm a fun mom; using most teaching opportunities as excuses to sing, dance, and crack jokes. All was well until I now see my kids getting in trouble at school for being the class clowns. Oops, sorry, kids.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Hmmm. I don't deplore anything in myself, or anyone else. But I do strive to feel less guilty about the choices I make (right, working mamas?!). I think I should also watch less TV, but I can't, because Timothy Olyphant is such a hot marshal.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Dresses! Go big or go home is my motto on stage. The daughter of a feminist, I now take every opportunity to get glam. I like following fashions and buying pieces that speak to me — I like Judith & Charles and Victoria Beckham — both have really well-tailored dresses. My best friend loves it because she inherits everything I've worn on stage. I'm also a garage sale junky for kids' toys, but my husband put the brakes on that once we became eligible to be on Extreme Hoarders. Even my kids say, "Don't stop, Mom. It's all junk!" when we drive by garage sales.
On what occasion do you lie?
I prefer to use the term "grossly exaggerate." It's what I do for a living (taking the mundane and making it hilarious), so I feel okay about it. It drives my hubby nuts though; he has no idea when to take me seriously. I'm the girl who cried wolf, comedically speaking.
What drew you to comedy?
When I was a kid, I'd sit quietly and enjoy listening to my aunts and uncles joke with each other. I even started writing down the things they said in a book I called my 'funny journal.' When something funny happens, I wanna shout it from the mountaintops and/or tweet it (@happyfeetholmes).
What is one thing you'd change about your industry?
When I first started 15 years ago, comedians didn't seem very encouraging of each other. I'm happy to say that is changing: bitterness seems to be down from 90 per cent to 89 per cent ;). Only kidding — I find comedians a lot more supportive in the last few years.
When and where were you happiest?
Random acts of kindness give me this great sense of happiness, whether it's seeing someone else do something meaningful, or if I do something helpful anonymously. It makes me so happy that I 'ugly cry' right on the spot.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Getting over postpartum depression, and speaking about how we can all be happier REALLY fulfils me. For a lot of the live shows I do now, I mix comedy and inspirational stories about wellness and reigniting your spark. It means a lot to me. Don't worry though, I'll never abandon toilet humour and impressions!
Who are your heroes in real life?
Growing up, I loved how comedians from Carol Burnett to Mike Meyers made the world a really fun place. I'm also in awe of the talents of speakers like Loretta LaRoche and Marianne Williamson.
What's one thing you hope to do in your life?
I just want to keep following creative inspiration, seeing where each whisper from my inner muse takes me. I try to say yes to every adventure that comes my way; it makes life very, very interesting!! I'm writing this from Fort Chipewyan where I just did a show :)
What other notable Canadians would you like to see answer these 11 questions? Are you interested in taking part? Contact us with your suggestions.