Inside Eve Parker Finley’s one-woman show about laughter, ropes and wit
Eve Parker Finley flips the blue haired wig over her shoulder and winks.
The Montreal social media sensation is in her one-room apartment that doubles as a content factory. Green vines and garlands of doodads cross the ceilings and walls. The cables are tangled on the floor like a pile of spaghetti.
There is a window all over the place, and Eve’s makeshift music and movie studio forms a semicircle around the sunspot. She leans forward in an ergonomic chair and turns on the ring light.
This is where the magic happens.
When the pandemic caused Eve to isolate herself, like other millennials who are bored at home, she downloaded TikTok. It was addicting. Most videos are a few tens of seconds long, made by anyone with a smartphone. The pace is fast and punchy. The content – notoriously raw and loud – ranges from dance challenges to political commentary, adorable toddlers to skits to one person.
Last fall Eve decided to try TikTok’s comedy corner. She has uploaded videos about spooky first dates, awkward COVID-19 conversations, and local codes of conduct in her queer community.
Fast forward seven months, Eve said Radio-Canada Our Montreal that it is rare that she can walk on the Place Saint-Hubert without murmurs and without cries of praise. “Look, a famous person,” whisper a group of young women. “Eve! Thank you, I love what you are doing!” shouts a passer-by.
A small town girl
Classically trained violinist first and foremost, and a familiar face in Montreal’s indie music scene, Eve had – “only once, secretly, an open-mic stand-up” – touched comedy before the pandemic.
Hailing from Campbellford, Ont., A small town known for its cooperative cheese curd factory, teenager Eve felt the allure of Arcade Fire’s string hymns and Grimes’ electro-synth mixtapes.
Ten years ago, she moved to the big city to pursue studies in sociology at McGill University. During her studies, she volunteered in equity awareness programs organizing workshops for the early years on gender and sexual pluralities.
In 2016, Eve made her mark on the local music scene with her debut album anchored in violin loops – The Sensitive But Serious Something other than – under his old nickname Lonely Boa. As she continued to grow as a musician, her sound transformed into what she now describes as “Robyn meets Enya meets Tchaikovsky”.
The majority of Eve’s TikToks are short skits in which she plays two characters in a snap dialogue. She keeps a list of sketch ideas on her phone, which she adds on her walks, focusing much of her content on hyperlocal culture.
Whether it’s a rude interaction between the locker rooms at a queer dance party, co-hosts attending the anti-oppression Olympics, or a broke English speaker asking for a recommendation from the SAQ, the characters of Eve are ripe with attitude, sarcasm and irony.
Eve says it’s liberating to create short pieces. Unlike the long process of composing her albums, she can do several sketches in one evening. And once she posts them, subscribers consume the videos within seconds.
The comedic angle she cultivated was born because she saw a gap in the content. Comedy targeting a younger audience, she argues, does not parody her experiences and those of her friends.
“People are tired of seeing a pristine, perfect image because we all know it’s not real,” she says.
By making videos for queer youth, Eve has expanded her network to Montreal and beyond, connecting with trans children in rural towns across Canada, for example.
As his page recorded likes, from 50 to 1,000 subscribers in a flash and now to 24,000 and nearly 2 million likes, the rise in transmogynous comments has also increased.
Unbeknownst to the trollers, they had just given free material to Eve.
“The function of these comments is to intimidate people outside of Internet spaces,” she says. “So I took back control.”
She turned hateful words into jingles. the Troll songs were born.
“Why does a … transgender … play the saxophone?” she sings laughing afterwards. “It’s such a success. It’s so random.”
Eve continues to hum as she opens a beer and walks over to the upright piano. Her fingers glide along the keys, the neon pink light reflecting off her fingernails. Her head swings from side to side as she experiments with chord progressions.
This month, Eve placed in the top five in several Cult MTL categories. The best of MTL listing. As well as landing in the top TikTok and Instagram categories, she was crowned second best dressed (which she finds hilarious), with Celine Dion taking first place.
“Now I feel that pressure to look cool all the time.”
Expectations came with fame. And fans can cross borders quickly, she admits. Some DM photos of their children, others ask him how to come out to their parents during his live broadcasts.
“I’m not a support worker,” she says. “I’m not saving space for someone else to learn.”
It was his old job. His goal now is to challenge the idea that marginalized people need to be educated and kind.
“I reserve the right to be sarcastic,” she said.
The Montreal influencer has had a busy summer ahead. She is currently in a rural residence northwest of Montreal through the Phi Center. During her two weeks with them, she will be able to master her next album and collaborate with other creators.
On July 2, his single Icarus – a song that tells the Greek myth of a boy with wax wings who flies too close to the sun – will be published. Eve says that Icarus was right to aim so high – “ambition is not a bad thing”.
Where he went wrong, she said, was on his own.
Eve turns off the ring of light.
“Fly high, but don’t fly alone.”
WATCH | Eve talks about combining music and comedy on Notre Montréal: