Think about your average Saturday night: bars, drinks, dancing, maybe a date night at the movies, restaurants, dining… The usual stuff…
I now live in a world where Saturday nights are spent going to the gym at a colleague’s fabulous downtown condo, not to work out on the abs or the gluteus. Ha! Heavens no. Rather, we run elaborate monologue relay races, in which each performer runs a few laps of the room, does a minimum one burpie (if adequately coordinated) and works on their monologue for our acting class or their two-minute stand-up routine. When that gets old, we break out into improv games… Somebody fucking pinch me.
We are encouraged to take in as much comedy as the city has to offer. I went to see a few shows over the past week. Every Tuesday, the downtown Toronto Yuk Yuk’s holds a special segment for Humber comedy students to perform their sets. First years have two minutes before the dreaded red light shuts them down. I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to watch my colleagues perform. It’s also been great to watch complete strangers play. Students training at the Second City put on an improv show last week that was also rather entertaining. But the best performances I’ve seen to date was a series of improv acts last Sunday evening at the Free Times Cafe on College St. put on by a troupe I’d seen previously, when still in Ottawa, called Sex T-Rex. The purpose of this blog isn’t really to review shows, but from time to time I will mention the acts that really inspire me, and this show did just that. I called up a fellow colleague immediately afterward and started working out rehearsal times to work on an improv duo. More news to come on that front as it develops. Not to be prematurely optimistic, but this’ll be a duo for the Fringe circuit for sure! Woo!! Misguided haughtiness!
Also, the BIG news for me now is that I have my first stand-up set booked for Yuk Yuk’s on Tuesday, October 5th 2010! Let me be the first to say, “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! I’m gonna SHIT MY PANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Now that that’s out of the way, anyone who wants to come see me crash and burn is certainly invited to watch! The set is pretty much written, it just needs some fine-tuning, which I hope to accomplish via a meeting with the Stand-Up coach and lots and lots of rehearsing this weekend.
Stay tuned for more updates, friends! I hope to see some of your smiling faces at the club next Tuesday!
From now on, if ever someone asks me if I’ve ever done any stand-up comedy, I can proudly answer “Yes, I have!” (Because this is the kind of question that comes up in conversation often for most people, right?) I’ll be the first to admit that I need a LOT of work before my act is anywhere near good enough to perform in front of a live/real/human audience, but I’ve tried it now. I’ve developed a taste for it…and now, I want more. MORE!!!! (I bet this is how the first person to have discovered bacon felt…)
The greatest thing about this program is the amount of encouragement you get from the teachers and peers. I felt terrible after finding out that I’d spoken for 2 minutes, a full 100% more than what I was supposed to, (I suppose all my tour guide friends will remember my habit of perpetually exceeding my allotted time limit inside the tunnels at Vimy…) However, the teacher attributed this to a certain “Brieness,” as he calls it, which comes out when I take command of that mic. And though my set wasn’t spectacular, there was something really great about another human being acknowledging the existence of this entity, this Brieness.
I think everyone should take at least a few moments a day to acknowledge their own unique “ness”es.
Two weeks in and we’ve finally begun actually doing stuff, as opposed to sitting around hearing about what we’re going to be doing, in the program and in life as successful and/or failed comics.
We’re already working on some cool assignments. One of which is the memorization of a monologue, to be performed in my Acting and Voice class. As many of you may know, a childhood filled with too many hours spent watching television and with the advent of modern instant communication, I probably have the worst capacity to retain and memorize just about anything. So, this has been a fun little challenge. I picked something out of Clerks. (The first one…the good one.) I felt like I wouldn’t have a hard time getting into Veronica’s character and that it would be a fitting role to play as a result. I’d originally planned on doing something out of Juno, but I felt that monologue was too short. Juno has plenty of lengthy voice-overs, but that’s about it. So, Kevin Smith it is.
I’m also working on putting together one-minute’s worth of Stand-Up material for my Stand-Up class. I’m finding it exceptionally challenging to sit down (ayuk) and write jokes. I guess the source of my humour has for a long time come out in the form of rants, which are not jokes, but rather long, drawn-out lists complaints about the state of this or that. The format of a joke is much different. Anyway, I’ve worked on something and I’ll just need to rehearse it before class on Tuesday. I’ll let you know how it goes!
I’ll leave you with one of the most important debates of our time. (Also from Clerks.) If you haven’t seen this movie yet, let this clip and others you find on YouTube be the motivation you need to check it out:
I am pleased to be writing to you from this new blog site, where from now on, I intend to keep anyone interested updated in the adventures of my new life as a comic-in-training in the big city.
I’ll also keep anyone informed about any shows I’ll be playing throughout the year. I have nothing lined up for now, but it both pleases and frightens me to death to know that within the next few weeks, I’ll have performed my own stand-up material at Yuk Yuk’s, here in Toronto.
Let me know what you think, and feel free to ask any questions.
I’ll remain short and to the point for now, but know that my first few weeks in the Comedy program at Humber have been eye-opening and I look forward to sharing my experience with you.