Lorne Elliott will be coming out of his yurt in the forest to joke about his new off-the-grid lifestyle.
“I’ve become much more vegetarian, simply because, while taking down a moose is kind of a labour intensive program.”
After suffering a heart attack five years ago, the Canadiana comedian decided to stop living like an industrialized consumer and adopt an agrarian lifestyle.
“It provides a lot of material for the show,” he said “It’s very real farming – it’s frustrating, mostly work, slogging work.”
But the tedious labour required to live off the land is worth forgoing the frustration of workplace politics.
“You’re up against the reality which doesn’t bear any politics. It grows or it doesn’t,” he said. “ I really don’t know how people do it for money.”
The yurt was an exaggeration and Elliott actually lives on a farm outside of Montreal. On it he produces maple syrup, mushrooms, and picks wild grapes.
“You can pretty well live in the summer off of what we grow and that’s fairly easy to do, but getting enough stuff stored for the winter, that’s pretty tough to do.”
He said his new lifestyle involved major challenges, but the fruits of his labour are worth it.
“I’ll go out there, toss some seeds in the soil. Except then chipmunks eat them,” he said. “Every bite you take you know where the food comes from. There’s something meaningful about eating the food you’ve planted yourself. It makes you feel connected; connected to to the things you’re eating because every mouthful has a story to it.”
On top of to improving his diet, Elliott also made positive lifestyle changes.
“Turns out giving them up cigarettes after the heart attack was the smartest health thing I could have done. Who knew? If only someone had information about that for me beforehand.
“My doctor told me that I’m actually healthier now than before the heart attack,” he said, though he found the comparison unsatisfying.
“Of course I’m healthier now. Before the heart attack, I was about to have a heart attack – that’s not very healthy.”
Because of warmer weather in the Okanagan, it might be a little easier to live off the grid here compared to his province, he said, but he doesn’t want to leave Quebec where his family has lived for three or four generations.
“My mom and dad took the wrong boat I guess. Nobody gave me a choice before I was born, I would have certainly said Oliver.”
Nevertheless, he loves visiting the mountains. He says British Columbia has the best roadside restaurants in the country, and he’ll also be foraging for walnuts while he’s here.
“Last time I came through I got a huge bag of walnuts. I can get them here (in Quebec) but they’re not the same. So I’ve got a whole route where we can forage on our way to Oliver.”
Elliott performs at the Frank Venables Theatre on Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $35 for adults and $15 for students.