Former Leaside baseball star tells how he caught the break of his life at a Clippers game
Comedian, screenwriter and Leasider Pat Smith is a hit with the ladies.
Under the glow of the TIFF Lightbox’s bar lights and amid the sounds of urban jazz, Smith shares his chance encounter with two of Hollywood’s brightest young scribes: Dana Fox and Lorene Scafaria.
The 2008 meeting with half of what Hollywood calls the Fempire, courtside at a Los Angeles Clippers game, was the catalyst in shifting Smith’s mindset from a life of sports to comedy.
In Los Angeles visiting his old schoolmate Josh LeBrun, who lived in the house former NHLer Nick Kypreos bought, Smith was offered a chance to see a pro basketball game.
What followed his chance encounter with Fox and Scafaria, the 29-year-old Smith says, “opened my eyes to the fact that telling stories could actually be a life.” The L.A. screenwriters, he recounts, had their first major-motion pictures coming out that year: For Fox, What Happens In Vegas and Scafaria, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.
Smith, the Town Crier Athlete of the Year in 2003 who went to UBC for baseball (only to be sidelined by a labral tear), has connected with some of the most successful women in the local comedy scene.
His colleague at Speakers’ Spotlight, a keynote speaking agency, suggested he take classes at Second City. That was Sundance Clugston who worked on a show called Housecapades with comedian Mike Bullard.
It was at Second City that Smith connected with standouts Stacey McGunnigle and Allie Price.
Success followed from 2008 to now. Price and Smith released a parody rap video, Suburbanite, and the two toured sketch festivals in Chicago and Toronto, as well as performing on Just For Laughs.
Now he’s writing and acting with Second City main stage alumni Rob Baker and Adam Cawley on their original TV series, Guidance, which premiered in October on BiteTV. It will air again in a Dec. 27 marathon.
When asked if the Leaside Lancers baseball and football star would have ever thought he’d become a comedic screenwriter, his
reaction betrays his own surprise.
“No way, no way, no way!” he says, breathlessly. “I used to have quite a high voice when I was a kid, so that was in my head that I could not act.
“Then I was told you can’t be tall, and act (he stands at 6-foot-3). I think for me, baseball — sports — was the thing where I could as big as I wanted.”
Though he’s shopping a film script, The Accent, around in Los Angeles, he’s hoping to keep his roots firmly planted in Toronto.