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  (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)


(Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)


Comedian Elvira Kurt on the couples mission to Mars Add to ...

Elvira Kurt is among the comedians performing in The Stratford Festival’s Forum series “Stand Off” event on June 13 at the Studio Theatre.

Are you married? Do you have a spouse or a partner?

I do. We’ve been together 10 years.

Are you middle-aged?

I’m definitely middle-aged.

Then you’d be a prime candidate for a planned space mission around Mars and back. It’s no joke. A billionaire is funding the mission and seeking a middle-aged married couple to volunteer for the 16-month journey. Would you consider applying?

I couldn’t think of a worse hell. Yikes! We have a house you can walk in and out of. I can’t imagine … “I gotta take some private time.” And what are you gonna do, float to the ceiling?

[But] in some ways I’m also the perfect candidate. I’m not a people person. I don’t like a big crowd. This seems ideal. I need to make myself columns, the pros and the cons.

The pros would be no dishwashing, no yard work, no endless cell calls. And the cons? Great lack of privacy and you have to drink your own recycled urine.

Those are pretty heavy cons. I could take an incoming cellphone call over recycling my urine. Listen, would we be able to access a therapist in any way? Some kind of mediator?

Let’s say on a mission costing a billion dollars, they could spring for a mediator.

Maybe a phone hook-up. Someone you could turn to and say “Do you see? Do you see? See what I have to deal with?”

And deal with for 16 months … I’m presuming the mission’s patron is seeking a traditional man-woman couple. Would it be an extra inducement or statement for you to blast off as a same-sex couple?

Our relationship is the same. Is his rational for sending a straight couple that it’s societally more palatable? Or is he presuming some horrible thing is going to happen to the Earth and these two might actually be the last people on the planet – in which case they’d need to repopulate. So, with a same-sex couple, just send an extra vial. Of sperm. If it’s two ladies. If it’s two dudes? Yeah, I guess that’s the end of mankind.

Is there any couple you’d like to send off into space and not have to deal with for 16 months?

[Justin] Bieber and his monkey! I know they’re not middle-aged [but] I’d like to not hear about them for a while.

So you wouldn’t consider a 16-month mission around Mars with your partner. How about a road trip to Saskatoon?

Yeah, that I can manage. Who wouldn’t want to go to Saskatoon in the middle of the summer? The gophers are beautiful that time of year.

What is the best and worst vacation you have shared?

The best vacation was a trip to Tahiti. The worst? This is not going to be for the right reasons. We just went to Disney World with the kids and I had a hard time resisting killing myself.

How would a trip around Mars be worse than that?

You’re really locked in there. I’d need to order out for sushi at least once, and knowing that I couldn’t … I’m worried that I’d start taking out my little frustrations on my partner. And that’s not fair.

No fees or salary for the Mars mission have been indicated. Is this something people should pay for, or be paid for?

It seems a strange thing to pay for. “We’re going to waterboard you. Can you give us a hundred dollars?” No. I can’t see that happening.

So we’ll say it’s a salaried job. For what would you ask?

Because I love what I do so much, getting paid is almost beside the point. Maybe some awesome swag. I’d want to keep all the mugs and maybe some awesome T-shirt.

You work cheap.

And maybe a lifetime of therapy. Do I get smaller when I come back.? If I’m smaller, I want a new wardrobe.

You’re a stand-up comedian. Wouldn’t it be cool to be the first stand-up where every way is up?

We just saw Chris Hadfield. Did he do any astronauting? Every time I saw him, he was breaking out some musical jam. He didn’t do any jokes.

Sex in space. You’d presume it has been tried – or mandated as an experiment – on past space missions. Yet it’s never mentioned in mission reports.Would it be a feature of this mission?

What is this, the Hundred Mile High club? Thousand Mile?

If it’s a middle-aged married couple and they’re up there, it’s not really an issue. Is it an issue with same-sex couples? Is there going to be less sex in space? Not an issue. Stack of good books and your imagination.

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