Busker HoF 58 – Byron Bertram Interview


This Episode proudly sponsored by: Bottom Line Productions bottomlineprologo-sized

Bottom Line Productions is an Edmonton-based arts marketing company founded in 1993 by Darka Tarnawsky. One of Bottom Line’s first clients was the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival. Twenty two years later, Darka and her team at Bottom Line continue to promote the festival and the amazing artists that are part of it each July. “Throughout my years in the biz, nothing makes me happier than the street artists I have the privilege of meeting at StreetFest each year. Their talent, courage, unique stories, sense of humour and humility…. it’s a treat for me to juggle the media and put them in the spotlight every summer in Edmonton! www.bottomlinepro.com

Episode Notes:

Comments: Equal measures of youthful enthusiasm, blind ambition and fearless resolve launched Byron Bertram into the world of street theatre at the tender young age of fifteen years old. In his own words, during the first few years he ate a ‘bag of dicks’ while he tried to figure out how to translate his desire to do a good show into the confidence and chops to actually execute one.

Eventually his determination really did pay off. This is a guy who, no matter whether it’s a street show, a stand-up stage or an acting set just doesn’t give up. His tenacity is unstoppable and there’s no question that over the years, it’s paid off. Byron, through sheer repetition has cracked the entertainment nut in every venue he’s tackled, and most certainly will crack others as his career continues.

Magic Brian sat down with Byron in New York City to dig into the back story of this multi-faceted entertainer to find out a bit more of his history and current ambitions. This is a great conversation full of insight and the sort of truths that are sometimes uncomfortable, but incredibly revealing.

Bonus images from the archives with commentary by Byron:

01-Bari-Sax-Framed“1978 – I come from an artistic family – crazy artistic parents infusing the artistic gene into me – here my mom is stuffing me into my dad’s baritone saxiphone… And you wonder why I became a street performer???”

02-promo-framed“1996 – promo photo, shot in Vancouver. Notice my use of angles and the very deliberately laid out prop – three boxes, four clubs and eight balls… Not that I could ever juggle eight balls.”

03-amsterdam-framed“1997 Amsterdam – Leidseplein Square – the first international show I ever did. I was nervous as hell. At that point I was still using a rope instead of the chains with the straight jacket and check out those super cool white tube socks!”

01-framed1998 Vancouver promo photo – massively insecure 20 year old Byron hoping juggling will get him laid, it never did. Imagine that… Juggling and girls not going together – crazy!

05-adelaide-framed2000 – Adelaide Fringe Festival – still massively insecure. I remember looking at Al Millar and thinking why can’t I make as much money and get as many girls as him (or any girls for that matter)? Maybe it was it the hair or perhaps it was the attitude?”

06-denver-framed2001 – Denver International Street Performers Festival. I remember getting really crappy pitches and times at this festival which may well be the reason my face is so scruntched up.” (photo by: Dan Shulruff)

02-framed“2003 – Edmonton, Alberta – I was going through a phase in Edmonton at the Fringe. I’m not gay anymore.

08-edinburgh-framed“2006 – Performing at the legendary Edinburgh Fringe Festival – I remember this show vividly! It was AWESOME! Huge hat and the old ladies absolutely adored me!

09-hockey-framed“2008 – Not only a successful street performer, by this point I was also developing my other performance credits. Here I’m modelling for hockey equipment deodorizer. Who says being pretty doesn’t pay off!


2014 Yuk Yuks Toronto – my first time headlining at Canada’s most prestigious comedy club. Did a weekend’s worth of shows and almost made as much as a really great street show. There is no middle class in stand-up comedy.


On stage at the 2015 San Diego Comedy Festival in January. I ended up making it to the finals where I didn’t actually win. Oh well, there’s always busking!


2015 – Canadian Fringe Festival Tour – Winnipeg Flyer – this for my one man show that combines my three passions – the techniques I learned on the street, the comedy writing I learned from stand-up and just a hint of acting – but don’t get your hopes up it’s mostly me being massively self-loathing AND egotistical.

And thanks again to: Bottom Line Productions for sponsoring this episode! bottomlineprologo-sized

Find out more about Sponsoring this Podcast by emailing cbg@BuskerHallofFame.com

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