Avery's laughing it off

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

It was one of those moments that you only see in the CFL.

While non-playing Argos running back John Avery continued to fulfill his roster duties by practising yesterday, a large television crew from the Comedy Network turned the field into a set as it filmed a show about the veteran's life.

With his playing time cut to nothing after the arrival of Ricky Williams, Avery has had a bit more time to work on his comedy, giving him an entertaining distraction. He had his first major standup gig last night at Club V downtown and is the star of one of 13 episodes of Punched Up, which will debut on the Comedy Network in the fall.

"It (comedy) has been therapeutic as far as me giving me something to do," said Avery, who just recently broke his media silence. "When you're not involved, you're not playing, it's easy to go crazy. I thank God for giving me some other abilities to kind of vent through, so that's what I do."

Not one to shy away from microphones, tape recorders and notepads, Avery continually offered no comment after Williams was signed. The third-year Argo, who had battled injuries in his first two years but came into camp in excellent shape, said he was reluctant to talk for a reason.

"I didn't want the management and ownership to look like they were turning their back on me. That wasn't the case," Avery said. "It was more or less a thing where here's a guy that can draw a crowd and here's a popular name and he can play football. It just so happens he plays the same position as John Avery. They knew if anybody could handle something like that, it was me."

Having said that, wouldn't the well-compensated Avery rather go to a place where he could play?

"No, (not with) as good a life as I have here right now," he said.

That life includes Punched Up, where comedians attempt to help the stars of their show turn their lives around to reach their goals. In Avery's case, the producers want to turn him from a brash American into a humble Canadian. That, they think, will help Avery land a deal for the sitcom he has produced about his life, tentatively titled Avery-day Life.

"You watch this episode and he is a funny, funny guy," said Punched Up producer Allan Novak, whose next filming will feature an anchorwoman from the Naked News. "All the potential is there. In fact, we're interested in talking to him about producing his show."

BRIEFLY

Defensive back Clifford Ivory will serve a one-game suspension Saturday when the visiting Argos face the Saskatchewan Roughriders for being involved in an undisclosed incident near the end of the team's previous game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.


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