Employed with two major Chicago institutions: The Second City & Oprah

It’s been another one of those crazy-busy weeks where I haven’t had time to post too often, but last night – Friday – I was at Comedy Bar, where I’d been invited to read a monologue as “Thinking Woman” The Panel Show, a monthly show put on by (a bunch) of the guys from the awesome sketch troupe Shoeless.  (Seriously – any chance to see one of this troupe’s shows – leap!) – followed by a delicious tasty gelato with my best pal from the olden days Dina & her sister Jess.

Another big deal of the week was that I was hired to start working at The Second City as a host – which is a totally huge deal.  I know in the past I’ve been like – meehhh, I don’t know if I want a job in the evenings because it’ll interrupt with my abilities to go out and do comedy.  Yeah, ok BUT… working in a comedy club – not just any comedy club, the fucking Second City, seems like a pretty smart move, I’d say.  So many big comics got their start at the Second City.  And, I heard through the grapevine that if you work at SC, you can get discounts on improv classes, which is great, because I was planning on taking the A-E levels after completing my program at Humber.  Anyhoo – I start on Monday and am totally and completely stoked.

I also interviewed for and was asked to help out as an intern on a new show soon to be shot for the Oprah Winfrey Network.  I don’t know that I’m allowed to talk about what it is or whatever, but they were looking for interns and a pal and I from Humber went on down to the Corus Entertainment building down by the lake on Tuesday morning and got ourselves some good old-fashioned unpaid internships!

In addition to that, we met with and pitched sketches to our director, Gary Pearson, for our end of year Sketch show, taking place at the Comedy Bar mid-April.  I’m happy to say two of my sketches were selected to be put into the show – so hooray for that.  Consequently, Gary is the first person to make a comment about the high-concentration of sex-themed pieces the people in my class write.  No big surprise there.  But he’s the only person in this two year program to say: “Uh, enough.  Talk about something else!!”   There go my next three sketch pitches.

Tuesday was Round One of 2nd years’ Stand-Up Showcase at Yuk Yuk’s and HOLY COW was it a great show!  Solid 4-minute sets put on by half the people in my year, in front of alumni, other comics and a few big wigs.  It was great to see some people who don’t go out too often – sometimes they really surprise you.  You think, jeez!  Where have you been all this time?  Why haven’t you been doing this more?  My hope is that Round Two goes just as well, if not BETTER… because that’s the show I’ll be on, and it’s happening on my Birthday, so if it doesn’t go well, somebody’s going to be drinking away her sorrows instead of celebrating that night.

Why you scared?

Also – and nothing really do to with comedy school, Wednesday was “jab Brie in the arm day” at the doctor’s office.  Apparently my veins are difficult to find when I’m dehydrated due to mandatory fasting.  This was the result.  Bask in my pain.

Back to Comedy -> Saturday was the culmination of a project some of my school colleagues have been working on for the past little while.  They were to transform their 10-minute plays into radio plays with help from a pro from the CBC.  After much learning, editing, re-writing and other stuff, they finally recorded the pieces yesterday at Humber’s sound booth.  I still got to play one of the dogs in Ashley’s Dog Wedding: Rated Radio so what better way to spend a Saturday than trapped in a soundproof extremely warm booth?  No, but seriously, it was a lot of fun, even though my 10-minute play didn’t get picked to go on the radio.  Totally not bitter about that.  It’s really not a big deal.  Nope.  Not even a little bit. It’s cool.  I’m cool.  Everything’s good.

So as not to end on a (totally not) bitter note, last night I had somewhat of a high school reunion.  It’s fun to just hang out with people you’ve known from a simpler time – good ol’ Welland high school/cadet friend days.  Except…instead of MT Bellies, now we meet at Okrutny’s upscale downtown condo on Queens Quay and eat baked Brie.  Consequently, that is also my DJ name.

Cheers all!  Bring on next week!

 

 

State of Play

As you may have gathered from the last late-night post reflecting my predictions of the inevitable discovery of my colleague’s talent by Hollywood or what have you, and the subsequent benefits of that association/friendship I shall reap, her play went rather well.  As did all performances Wednesday and Thursday nights.  Thus, our second year “Ten Minute Play Festival” and most of ours’ first attempt at play-writing comes to successful completion.

There were some neat ones, some serious ones, some non-verbal ones and it was always fun throughout to ask “which one of my colleagues wrote this one?” and to be pleasantly surprised at the answer.

Anyone who knows of my history as a tour guide at Vimy Ridge would not be surprised to discover I was the playwright of “the one about the WW1 brothel.”  It turned out well!  It was serious against a backdrop of ridiculousness; drunken and horny soldiers, Brandon in drag as the “Madame” of the establishment, Ron successfully pulling off a full “under the slip” boob grope to an unsurprised and perfectly-deadpan French whore, Ashley.  And my two leads, Kyle & Paige, keeping the romance and escape plan serious and honest while all this other nonsense is going around them.

It’s so rewarding to see the words you’d written and rewritten and rewritten performed on stage with the help of a seasoned director who can make your vision appear, and extracting emotional responses you hadn’t even considered in the writing process. There’s also some interesting feeling about seeing the actors work hard at memorizing their lines and becoming these characters; putting in the effort so that they too, can make your vision a reality.

I hope I was able to do that for the two roles for which I was cast – one as a middle-aged strict Russian dance teacher, propositioned by two jocks who just really need to pass their ballet exam to make the football team, at whatever cost. 😉 – and Gracie, the teen dog who’s getting too old to play pretend with her dog-brother and her human mother who wants nothing more but to create the most beautiful Dog Wedding in history.

Whether it was that or Romeo learning to appreciate his wing-man, or an English teacher getting his funk back. Getting past  St. Peter into Heaven or curing his son from his own online game persona.  Buttoning down and finally applying for that first job at No Frills, or  watching the Tooth Fairy struggle to get the job done…it sure was nifty to see the talent and creativity of my colleagues’ brainboxes come to life.

Bravo, all!

Let’s Play

Our director, the fabulous Mr. Shawn Campbell has announced the schedule for our Humber College’s Ten-Minute Play Festival!

See: 10-Minutes in Heaven

If you’re interested in the details, here they are:

Humber Comedy’s Ten-Minute Play Festival:

Wednesday, February 1st & Tuesday February 2nd 2012

Join us for a formidable festival of 10-minute plays written and performed by the second year students of Humber College’s Comedy Program!

This is a free event and we encourage anyone to attend! Friends, family, family-friends, co-workers, ex-lovers, craigslist randos, etc.

Invite whoever your heart desires!

THE PERFORMANCES:

First Night – Wed. Feb 1st – Curtain 7pm.

1. At The Gates – by Avery Edison
2. Facebook Is Ruining My Life – by Carolyn Nesling
3. The Talk – by Blake Finnie
4. PTA Games – by Jim Crone
5. The Adventures of Procrastination Man and his Sidekick Gentle Reminder Boy – by Andrew Barr
6. The Shaft – by Adam Parlette

INTERMISSION

7. All For Nothing – by Nola Cooks
8. Ballet For Beginners by Paige Turner  (<—– I’m in this one, as a Russian ballet teacher.  Awesome, right?)
9. Pre-Wedding Jitters by Steve Di Cecco
10. Tourist Season – by Kate Barberio
11. La Maison Bethune – by Brie Watson (<—- I wrote this one.   All my Vimy peeps:it’s about a brothel in WW1 France, the male lead, you guessed it, a tunneller)

Second Night – Thurs. Feb 2nd – Curtain 7pm.

1. Romeo And Reality – by Archi Zuber
2. Fatherly Advice – by Rob Jodoin
3. The Decision – by Brandon Mohammed
4. Hypothetically Her – by Matt McAllister
5. Harlequin – by Rachel Moore
6. Team Work Works – by Sam MacDonnell

INTERMISSION

7. The Contract – by Kyle Woolven
8. The Train Ride – by Eli Terlson
9. Dog Wedding – by Ashley Moffatt    (<—— I’m in this one too!)
10. Eric The Hapless Knight – by Charlie Shanbaum
11. For A Few Teeth More – by Jorge Viveros

10-Minutes in Heaven (aka a WWI-era French brothel)

OK, here’s something school-related:

I just found out the 10-minute play I wrote for my Comedy Script Writing course was selected to be put on in our 10-minute Play Festival happening on the 1st & 2nd of February. (Pretty sure this is a free one, folks! … js.)

(Note: Out-of-towners, this gives you plenty of time to book the nights off to get here and see the play. For those coming in from Ottawa, the 10 minutes of performance will totally be worth the 5+ hour (depending on traffic) drive to get to see it.)

But for reals here, I’m super happy my play was selected because I put a lot of work into that thing, writing it and re-writing it. Loving it, having it torn apart, hating it, then finding it at least tolerable enough to hand in.

I know it will be hard work to see all these plays come to life; lots of rehearsing, memorizing lines etc. But it’s going to be so much fun. Just like filming those parody sketches was tremendously fun!

I can’t wait to see my classmates transform into WW1 soldiers and French prostitutes. It’s going to be a blast!

Better stop shaving your pits, Paige.