Comedian, writer, advocate and feminist scholar, Christine Taylor shares her personal success, what makes her laugh and one thing she had to learn the hard way.
By Jennifer Hartley | Photo by Jeffrey Bosdet
Multidisciplinary artist Christine Taylor Fearing burst onto the national scene in 1990 as a member of Corey and Wade’s Playhouse, a Newfoundland-based comedy troupe that included comedian Rick Mercer. Born and raised in Newfoundland, she left her home province in 1991 to tour her work internationally, eventually finding a new home base in Victoria.
She is an advocate for neurodivergence, a comedian, a writer and feminist scholar. She/They (Fearing’s preferred pronouns) are currently curating an accessible performance installation called Fear of Flowers, expected to debut in 2025, as well as navigating a path to an interdisciplinary PhD through Memorial University in Newfoundland.
What was the scariest moment of your life?
In the Juicy Danger Show, I toured with a chainsaw juggler and I had a flame cannon. My first play, Man on the Moon Woman on the Pill had a bomb threat — sniffer dogs even came to the Vancouver East Cultural Centre! I’ve also performed privately for Madonna — but none of those things are as scary as facing your neurodivergence and the internalized shame that came from years of hiding and not understanding. It’s like coming out all over again.
Tell me about your work with neurodivergence.
My work is primarily focused around the neurodivergency of dyslexia, with a focus on promoting the strengths of a dyslexic brain. I am very much interested in the history of dyslexia and its development in science, civil society and policy. Through my artistic work and research, I am cultivating dyslexic pride!
What do you view as your biggest personal success?
Oh wow! I navigated a career in comedy pre-MeToo movement! That’s no small feat. I can extinguish a cigarette with a bullwhip. That’s not really what you are after. I would say … I earned a thesis-based master’s degree at Mount Saint Vincent University without an undergrad degree. Frankly, being able to extinguish a cigarette with a bullwhip helped me get through a feminist theory class, but I digress.
What do you do in your spare time?
I’m a member of the Victoria Horticultural Society. It’s a cult, and we are always looking for new members. Come, even if you don’t have a garden.
What makes you laugh?
Physical comedy — hands down. That’s what makes me laugh on the outside. Smart comedy makes me laugh on the inside. And, I know it’s corny, but my husband Stephen Fearing seriously cracks me up. I can’t really spill the beans because he is a Canadian folk legend and has a front to keep up, but seriously … he’s a total eejit!
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“Make your mess your message,” a quote attributed to broadcaster Robin Roberts. I can lean into that one for a long time.
What is the one thing you have had to learn the hard way?
Are you kidding me? I’m a queer, feminist dyslexic — was there an easy option to learn things?