The Talented Mr. Anthony talks ‘Talent Time’

Paul Anthony's cable access show combines comedy, talent and spectacle. Catch it live Wednesday night at the Biltmore!

Paul Anthony, host of Talent Time, on stage during the live taping of the “Prom Night!!” episode at the Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver.

Paul Anthony’s Vancouver cable access variety show combines comedy, talent and spectacle. Catch it live every month at the Biltmore 

While most local boobtube fans will be glued to what Fiona Forbe and Michael Eckford are doing Shaw TV’s Urban Rush, they should also tune into Paul Anthony’s Talent Time, a monthly Novus television program that brings people with a rainbow of eclectic skills (read: tribute bands, pre-teen violin masters and, yes, even extreme wrestlers) together on one stage, filmed live at 9 p.m. every first Wednesday of the month at the Biltmore Cabaret


Granville Online talked to Paul about his show, which rather conveniently premiered at a time when Vancouverites began settling into television-and-hibernation mode for the next eight months.


bcliving: What this Talent Time all about?

Paul Anthony: It’s a comedy-variety show that’s set up more like a cable-access chat show, where we have guests from the community doing real things. It is a comedy show, but it’s not a sketch show—these are real people. We’ve had a husband-and-wife accordion duo that I met at a farmers market up in Burnaby come in and play a bunch of polka. But it’s all just fun, fun, fun entertainment. It’s silly, and there are a lot of laughs during the show.


The big focus of it is the live show at the Biltmore, where we have been shooting it. New episodes air on Novus twice daily for a month or so.


So it’s people showcasing unusual talents.

Yes. [There are] novelty acts, as well as comedians and stuff like that.


CR Avery on Paul Anthony's Talent Time, June 2, 2010

Talent Time host Paul Anthony (right) presents a surprised CR Avery with a painting the beatbox poet made of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. many moons ago. See the video of CR Avery performing live for the special Prom Night!! edition, June 2, 2010.


What goes down in the live show at the Biltmore? I heard something about a pinata and cash.

Yeah, we have a regular thing called “Cover Charge Pinata,” where a portion of what people pay goes into a large homemade pinata, and anyone who has a birthday in the month of the show gets invited up to take turns at taking a shot at the pinata, win their cover charge back and shower loonies and toonies all over the crowd. Everyone runs and tries to grab money!


What else do you do, aside from Talent Time?

I’m an actor. I’ve got a film that’s coming out soon that’s been doing really well in the film festival circuit called Suck. It opened in theatres in the States on September 2. It’s a rock ‘n roll road movie about vampires, and it’s me, alongside Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Malcolm McDowell, Dave Foley, Henry Rollins and bunch of other awesome cats.


Paul Anthony’s Talent Time

See a live taping on the first Wednesday of every month at Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret.


Airs at 11 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. every day on Novus TV, Channel 4.


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Tell us about an alleged Christmas CD you did…

I love that CD! It’s so funny, not very many people know about it, but people who have it play it every Christmas, from the feedback I hear. I quite like it, too, but only a handful of people [own] it.


Is it like a Weird Al Yankovic album?

Not really—they’re traditional songs for the most part. One song is an original that I wrote, but the arrangements for [all of] them were done on an old ’70s-style organ with cheesy beats. 


Out of curiosity, what made you record the CD?

Actually, I [recorded] the CD for friends and family one year. My girlfriend at the time played the organ, and she knew all these Christmas songs, so we worked on it as a labour of love, as a special gift to give to friends and family. I just arranged the songs and made them fun to play and sing. People liked it, and we ended up doing volume two, as well. [The album is] called Christmas Is Extraordinary.


11-year-old dancer from the Miss Canada Teen Global Pageant Natasha Carr-Harris on Paul Anthony's Talent Time, June 2, 2010

Natasha Carr-Harris, an 11-year-old dancer from the Miss Canada Teen Global Pageant, performs on Talent Time, June 2, 2010.


Back to Talent Time. Who are your on-air co-horts?

The production team has come and gone and changed. Right now, I’m working with Rob Brownridge, who is my producer and is also at Citytv doing a bunch of [things] there. He has a lot of know-how, smarts and energy—I’ve been working with him for about six month now. We have people who volunteer their time from all over the film and TV community, too.


As far as on stage, we have Ryan Beil, who is my co-host. People know him from Sunday Service Improv and those A&W commercials.


We’ve had guests reappear on the show, like iKandee, who is in his 40s and plays a teen pop singer. When I asked him why he plays teen when he’s not a teen, he said, “Well, you know, rock singers aren’t physically made of rocks, so why do I have to be a teen?” We’ve had him back a bunch [of times]. That’s the kind of people we find, bring [on the show] and cherish. 


Who else can we expect on this season?

Lots of good stuff! I’ve talked to a great Blues Brothers tribute act, who will be on the show at some point. We have a massive choir that would be great to come on and sing the Talent Time theme song in three-part harmony.


We had the Vancouver Complaints Choir on the show September 1. [The idea behind a complaints choir is that] a community gets together and sings their complaints about the city they live in. The Vancouver Complaints Choir is a 14-piece that sings this epic song, [griping] about everything in this city. It’s done in song and is quite hilarious because you get the real complaints, but in a really funny way.


Vivian Liu, a 12-year-old violin virtuoso, who’s played in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, will be on the show ripping it up on the violin. September was also National Square Dance Appreciation Month, so I worked on getting a square dance group in. [The segments are] all short, about five to 15 minutes each. We have a house band, co-hosts, monologues, and bring on guests and chat with them about how they got started. 


Cover Charge Pinata on Paul Anthony's Talent Time, June 2, 2010

A popular regular feature, the ‘Cover Charge Pinata’ gives the audience a chance to win back their entrance fee; here, at the special Prom Night!! edition of Talent Time on June 2, 2010.


My final question to you is, what’s your great talent?

[laughs] That remains unseen! I think I do the show looking at other people’s talents with the hope that, by accident, I’ll find out what mine is.


‘Talent Time’ airs at 11 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. every day on Novus TV, Channel 4.


VIDEO: Vancouver beatbox poet CR Avery performing live on Talent Time


Filmed June 2, 2010 by Hilary Henegar via iPhone 3GS