Stand-up guy // Secret Life

David Heti knows how to get a laugh

By Jennifer Marston

On Thursday March 14th, 2013


“Crown, do you find this offensive?” the judge asked, putting David Heti on the spot. Heti, who was articling for the DOJ in Toronto at the time, was in bankruptcy court to “say three words and then leave.” Knowing nothing about the file or why the judge was outraged at the bankrupt’s position, the longtime stand-up comic resorted to humour. “Are you asking me as an individual, or as a representative of the Queen?” he deadpanned. The judge laughed and moved on.

Heti launched his comedy career six years ago in Montreal, before starting law school at McGill. Called to the Ontario bar in 2012, Heti now does research for a hospital, working at the intersection of health law and bioethics. It’s a position that allows him to keep up with his stand-up.

For Heti, who was once described by a critic as “Woody Allen without the international success,” comedy offers a perfect complement to law. The law upholds society’s values while stand-up subverts them, he explains. “The two provide this really beautiful balance.”

Web exclusive: Outtakes from the photo shoot

Photography by Daniel Ehrenworth