Vasily Djokavich: Russia’s #1 State Approved Comedian. Interview with Morgan Cranny.

Vasily Djokavich: Russia’s #1 State Approved Comedian. Interview with Morgan Cranny.

Morgan Cranny is one of the hardest working local comedians and actors in Victoria—a member of the legendary local troupe Atomic Vaudeville, an improviser with the hit serial Sin City since its Victoria début, a regular at comedy open mics, warm up comedian on CVV TV, side-kick to Derwin Blanshard’s on the Extremely Classy Sunday Evening Programme, performing with Langham Court Theatre, Giggling Iguana, Theatre Inconnu, Island Repertory Theatre, UVic Phoenix and on the Fringe circuit (World’s Greatest Dad, War of 1812, Rerentless, The Money Fast) as far away as Prague (Circus Fire).

His latest venture takes Vasily Djokovich, a Russian stand-up comedian, on a cultural tour of North America, starting with a gig in Victoria April 29, and then touring to the Orlando, Winnipeg and Edmonton Fringe Festivals.

Vasily April 2016
Vasily began as a bridge character in an Atomic Vaudeville show.  As the troupe was batting around ideas for a character who could take them from one place to another in the story arc, co-founder Jacob Richmond suggested a Russian who couldn’t tell jokes, and asked if anyone could do a Russian accent.  Cranny volunteered.  The jokes consisted of stats, and the perennial tag-line “not that one. Don’t want to get shot in face” surfaced.

Audiences were drawn to Vasily’s still and nervous nature—which Cranny points out is quite the opposite of his gregarious and outgoing one—and he made regular appearances in the Atomic Vaudeville cabarets.

At one point Cranny’s friend Mike Delamont (God is a Scottish Drag Queen) suggested he had enough material to do a complete show and encouraged him to enter it on the Fringe circuit.  “Now, I had to create a full show”, he laughs.  “Of course, I did run the idea by Jacob (Richmond) just to make sure he was ok with it”.  Delamont is producing and directing Vasily.  “Mike’s been a great help; he has great ideas and is very encouraging” Cranny relays.

Cranny has written most of the jokes and premises (with an assist from Delamont)—Vasily will reveal a little about his hidden dreams, there will be some audience participation and a comedy training piece, he’ll teach a Russian rhyme—it will be happy and sad at the same time as Vasily embarks, an Eastern European fish-out-of-water, on his cultural tour of North America.  Differences between Russian and Canada (America) have Vasily musing.  The comedy is earnest and never mean-spirited.

When it comes to similarities to Bhorat, Cranny mentions there is no “gross-out” humour.  He’s been looking for ways to highlight the differences and similarities across cultures, without overly politicizing the routines.  “We like to think that Russia and other places are different, but they aren’t really. People can relate to Vasily—doing the best he can, in his clueless way, under the shackles of a government.”

Winnipeg and Edmonton have large Ukrainian-Canadian populations and Cranny is eager to see the audience reaction to Vasily, given the current political climate.

For the moment Cranny is focussing on feedback from local audiences at his preview shows April 29th (7 and 9pm at the Intrepid Theatre Club).

As to whether audiences can look forward to further tours—Cranny says “I hope people have fun and that they enjoy it.  I’ll see from there—right now, it’s a bit overwhelming”.

Vasily Djokavich: Russia’s #1 State Approved Comedian
April 29 at the Intrepid Theatre Club (7 and 9pm).
#2-1609 Blanshard Street (at Fisgard)
Tickets $16.13

From the award winning director of God Is A Scottish Drag Queen comes Vasily Djokavich, Russia’s #1 State approved comedian! Starring Morgan Cranny, follow the dimwitted and shy Vasily as he embarks on a hilarious cultural tour of the west!

Starring Morgan Cranny
Written by Mike Delamont & Morgan Cranny
Directed by Mike Delamont

About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.


  1. […] some moves in this show) and his painfully awkward deadpan comedy routines. (Here’s an earlier interview with Cranny—from […]

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