Stand-up comic Lili White’s ladylike demeanor and sweet voice – that’s her real name – belie a dagger-sharp wit and astute observational skills. Prior to her comedy debut, three years ago, White’s only stage experience had been in Community Theater while in her early twenties. Judging from her vibrant appearance, it's not all that long ago. These days, she’s performing stand-up as often as five times a week, and loving every minute of it.
White is an accomplished writer, painter and film-maker, with experience in the corporate banking world. She's been a regular contributor to the “Toronto Star” Condo Living and Metro sections as well. Her talents as an author, clearly evident in her stand-up material, continue to flourish. To date, she has published seven works of non-fiction.
When asked how performing stand-up comedy has impacted her life, White responds with a line from one of her sets. “I thought doing stand-up would make a big difference in my confidence and self-esteem, and it has – it’s much worse now!” Though stand-up comedy is a challenging art form, White gratefully acknowledges the benefits of her new craft. “Truth is, doing stand-up has had a huge positive influence in any situation that involves speaking to a group of people. That happens now more than ever, probably because before I'd avoid those situations, but now I welcome the opportunities.”
Stand-up comedy has also provided White the confidence to try her hand at radio. On Wednesday evenings, White co-hosts “A Little Bit Zany,” on Mike 105 FM. The Train Wreck segment features host David Nankoff, plus two local comics and White, “doing our take on weird news stories from around the world, among other things. The intent is to make listeners laugh and put them in a happy, light mood before bed.”
Having left Toronto five years ago, White is deeply loyal to the city she now calls home. “Montreal has a great energy – especially in summer, when all the festivals are in full swing. Now all I want do is go out, eat poutine, have fun, see stand-up and do it myself. Everything I never did in Toronto.” What she loves most about Montreal, not surprisingly, is the annual “Just for Laughs” comedy festival. “Where else can you see all your comedy idols gather in one city, watch their shows and get to hang out with them too?” The only drawbacks about the city, she concedes, “are the treacherous sidewalks in winter, but the rest of the year more than makes up for breaking a leg or two.”
Valentine’s Day is a major occasion for the writer, who has penned helpful guides for the romantically challenged. “It’s a fantastic thing to be truly in love,” White acknowledges, “ but the word ‘love’ is too often substituted for ‘lust’. Lust plus marriage equals a sky-high divorce rate.” What is her Valentine’s advice for the lovelorn? “The one love-sickness cure I personally know of,” she quips, “is marriage. After just three husbands, I’ve already built up enough anti-bodies to be totally immune to this debilitating condition.” As White’s stand-up routines attest, the rocky road to romance is never smooth, but there are always laughs to be found, along the way.
Those searching for romantic guidance can preview White’s book, “Match Points,” on her site. "'Match Point’ is a quiz book that’s guaranteed to help anyone judge if their partner will likely be a match made in heaven or hell, before getting emotionally involved. I wish I’d have known when I was young what I knew when I wrote this book.” While White does not promise true love in less than a week, it’s definitely not too early to get a jump start on Valentine’s Day, 2014.