Canadian Comedy Awards: 2013 Edition

OK – I just finished my last thing interfering with Conservatory this past weekend, so all posts until December, and then maybe a little bit in January, should be about this final process of the Second City Conservatory program.  We’re getting down to crunch time, and our scenes are coming together, I think,  and I want to work on my scenes and write about the whole process and let you know how cool it is… but I can’t yet… because I have to talk about this minor interruption.

The 2013 Canadian Comedy Awards Festival

If you’re a connection of mine on LinkedIn, and you should be, you’ll note that this year, I was asked to help out with the Canadian Comedy Awards Festival in Communications; predominantly social media.  So, I signed up for HootSuite and off I went.  I took on a number of different duties since my initial on-boarding, such as translation, submission vetting, and most recently; taxi service.  Ironically, I did very little social media work while I was in Ottawa for the festival this past weekend – most of the time was spent running around trying to meet various arrival/departure timings of guests and nominees and coordinate other people doing any number of the numerous tasks that needed to be done to, you know, make the festival happen.  I wish there was a way to simply describe to you how the weekend turned out from the perspective of a volunteer – well, not just a volunteer, but a coordinator of volunteers amongst other things.  The best I can come up with is “AAARHG!?!!!!$^@GOGOGOGOGOGOGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  Yeah. I think that sums it up nicely.

Though the organization of the festival was the butt of many of Awards host Ryan Belleville’s jokes at the award ceremony, I was very pleased to hear how appreciative many of the attendees were of the organizers and volunteers who worked really really really really really really really REALLY hard to make the CCAF happen.  (Did I mention it was hard work?)

And beyond the simple happening of the festival, it was really cool that this year seems to have sparked a deeper level of conversation about the very nature of Canadian Comedy.  Example, Naomi Sniekus & Lauren Ash’s speeches at the Awards ceremony and Steve Patterson’s HuffPo piece:

It’s Time to Take Canadian Comedy More Seriously

This was my 4th year volunteering with the Canadian Comedy Awards.  I volunteer because I think our comedic talent should be celebrated.  And I think we owe it to each other to support each other and the institutions that help us keep doing what we do.  That’s why I help out – I’ve met some great people in the community through this festival – people I hope to work with down the line, people who’ve become close confidants within the industry, and people who are just, plain and simple, awesome and hilarious.

I may still be quite green to this world (yup, 3 years is still green, Mom & Dad)  (Oh, green is industry talk for “new”)  (See, I am learning stuff) – but if there’s one thing the Canadian Comedy Award makes me want to do than anything else, it’s create comedy and be a part of this great pool of hilarious and talented people who makes the country laugh, make our great cities laugh, and hell just make each other laugh after working over 12 hours driving people to-and-from the Ottawa suburbs in an overcrowded van.

But the Festival is over – no more interruptions, I’m going to work on this Con show to make it blow your minds and bust your guts!  I’ve got some COMEDY to birth, Canada!

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JFL Forty-Boo-Hoo

I was feeling a little bummed out lately because my financial situation has rendered it impossible for me to check out any of the JFL42 action currently taking place around town – and I really wanted to go see Family Guy – as much as a bunch of you are probably like “buh, Family Guy is so lame!  My grandma’s more edgy than Family Guy!  Seth MacFarlane can eat his own butthole!”  Well, feel that if you may, but I still really wanted to see the live show – it would have been awesome.  Also, I like a man with that kind of flexibility.  Nevertheless, I’m broke.

THAT BEING SAID… I had to take a step back and remember a little thing called “appreciation.”  Because yes, I may not be seeing the amazing alternative, and not-so alternative (Family Guy) comedic acts taking place in our great city over the course of this week, but I AM, going to see one of my comedy HEROS, thanks to the generous donation of a benefactor who shall remain nameless, (it was Dan,)  the incomparable John Cleese, performing his “Last Time To See Me Before I Die” tour stop at the Winter Garden Theatre.  I haven’t been there since my first year in Toronto, when I was volunteering at my first Canadian Comedy Awards, and met awesome Canadian comedians the likes of Mary Walsh, Colin Mochrie, Luba Goy, among others.

Which brings me to the impending 2013 Canadian Comedy Awards, for which I have been Tweeting semi-regularly. That reminds me.  Can you hold for 140 characters please?

Ok, I’m back.  I got distracted by the “Best” and “Worst” Emmy moments “article” I stumbled upon, but they meant absolutely nothing to me as I didn’t watch the Emmy’s last night.  Rather, I went out and enjoyed prime rib, thanks again to a generous benefactor, who shall remain nameless. (Dan again.  Totally Dan!)

Yeah, so the Canadian Comedy Awards are also coming up – which means I get to spend 4 days in my former home of Ottawa. (I miss you Lisgar House!)  And I’ll get to see some of the best Canadian comedy has to offer.

I think I just wrote this post to cheer myself up.  I hope you don’t mind.  But it kinda worked, so that’s good. Sure I’m missing Marc Maron tonight, and tomorrow – where he’ll be a guest on Strombo, in the same building where I work, and it would be free, and I bet it’s gonna be awesome, but I’ll be working – hard, and a lot – and dealing with… stuff…

But so So SO much more importantly…

Con Round 4, Fringe Round 2, Head Spinning Round and Round

It’s been longer than I would have liked it to have been between blog posts, but there was a good period there were my sole energy was spent on trying to stay awake, and thus blogging became less of a priority.  I have a new bed now, so that seems to have helped the situation, for now.

Also, I just read something that really inspired me to keep writing my little CCCs.   So back on the saddle again I go.

Today I am beginning the first day of my 4th Second City Conservatory course.  This is, for those of you who are not aware, when we begin to write what will eventually become our own little Second City-style revue.  We’re down two (and nearly 3 for a while there) people from when we began the process in January.  (Was it January?  Let me go back and check…yup January.)  We’re starting fresh with a new teacher (this guy)  and we were just asked to read this incredible blog about creating a Second City show from the perspective of a former Main Stage director in Chicago.  I was glad to have had the opportunity to have worked at the Second City as a host, specifically because I was able to witness this process first hand. (Not through the eyes of a director, however – Melody didn’t think the surgery would be particularly beneficial on her end…)  However,  I got to see what it was like for one show to slowly absorb new material and evolve into what would become the next revue.  I saw it and I wanted so badly to be a part of it.   And here we are in Con 4, a taste of what it would be if we were performers on the Main Stage.

 

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I look forward to documenting (more closely hopefully) the process from here until our big sexy Conservatory 6 production.

***

Simultaneously, I am working at CBC still.

Simultaneously, I just moved to the suburbs.

Simultaneously, I continue to contribute my help, where possible, to the Canadian Comedy Awards Communications Committee.

Simultaneously, I try maintaining a relationship with a bear.

Simultaneously, I am working with my Water Wings partner on bringing the show a bit more up to snuff to take to Winnipeg, where hopefully we will get a bit more support from the community in terms of seeing our little comedy show and enjoying it.  We met a few days ago to discuss some modifications to the scripts, an edit here, an added dance here.  Things we can do to tweek the show and to make it better.  Not, because we didn’t think it was good before, but because these things are in a constant state of evolution.  What worked in Montreal may not work in Winnipeg.   What worked in Toronto didn’t work all the time in Montreal.  Adjustments, tweeks and rehearsals are critical within the next few days in order to ensure the show is superb by the time we bring it to Winnipeg. I had my first over-the-phone interview in French, by the way.  That was pretty excitant!  (But not in the France French way.)

I leave for Winnipeg in a week.  Holy crap.

I’ll have to miss two Con 4 classes for this.

And use up all my CBC vacation time.

But this isn’t complaining.  This is what has to be done.

 

My Online Presence Renewed

Recently, a friend and colleague of mine told me “You need to have more of an online presence,” which I took as a sign that I haven’t posted anything here on CCC, so it’s time to get back to it. No more excuses or nonsense.  It’s not like I’ve been all that busy or anything…

Well…

Part of the reason my posts have been dwindling is because I’m co-managing another website lately for my sketch duo Lake Erie.  We’ve been working tirelessly at creating content for our upcoming Fringe show and in an effort to promote it, we put this little website together:

http://lakeeriecomedy.wordpress.com/

So far the show is coming along nicely, and we had our first shot at performing some of its material tonight at the JokeBox Live Comedy Lounge.  We spent all day yesterday preparing for the set and filming what will soon be our first promo short for the Fringe show.  I don’t want to spoil anything, but I may or may not have been driving around in a Mustang convertible for the shoot.

With all the Lake Erie stuff coming together, it’s hard to believe I’ve also just finished stage 2 of the 6-part process that is the Second City Conservatory program.  Last Wednesday my class had our final Level 2 show, and we finished with some fun improv and our first shot at performing some scenes written a la Second City style/process.  Our next term starts in a few weeks, and we’ll be focusing mainly on archival material, which is always fun.  I remember back from the Archival Show I did at Humber that performing other people’s stuff can be pretty darn fun.  Heh.  Colonel Angus

I’ve also added to my responsibilities belonging to the Communications Committee for the Canadian Comedy Awards.  The festival is going to be in Ottawa this year, so well in advance, I’m warning my remaining Ottawa peeps that it is very important we get together and get drunk while watching some hilarious shit that weekend in October.

No rest for the wicked, they say.  Which I’ve never really understood.  Does that mean people who are busy are witches?  Probably.  I’d better get back to my cauldron folks, but stay tuned, I’m going to try harder to update this puppy more frequently as we approach our Fringe show dates and the anxieties increase!

Huzzah!

Oh, and in honour of our first performance as Lake Erie tonight, world, I want you to remember a simpler time when this was relevant:

 

Normalcy

The Holidays are OVER!  Great!  Now let’s return to some semblance of normalcy, or whatever normalcy exists when you’re trying to be a comic.

Normalcy

Normalcy

Tonight kicked off the Comedy Bar’s annual Festival of New Formats, which I really wanted to attend, but found myself too tired to after an unusually long commute from Richmond Hill to find fancy cat food, which will supposedly stop Peanut from scratching her own face off.

That being said, my own show is being launched tomorrow on Day 2 of the FoNF and you should totally come and check it out:

Geekomedy jpg

The idea is to incorporate more media into live comedy performances.  The irony is that I’m not much of a tech-y, I just really like the idea of incorporating my computer to my comedy, since the funniest stuff I’ve written over the years can probably be found in old FB chat, MSN & ICQ conversations. Anyway, we’ve got some sweet acts lined up, so click on the image above, it’ll take you to the Event page on FB and provide you with ALL the details!

 

Now, before the clock struck midnight on NYE – the day before, in fact, I was privileged to perform in a really awesome show, again at Comedy Bar, in association with the Canadian Comedy Awards:

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Squint & check out that sweet line-up.  The entire show was professionally recorded and shortly, I will be given a copy of my performance, so that I’ll have a top-notch quality video of me performing stand-up that I can submit to various festivals and events.  I submitted a really shitty quality video to a comedy festival already and have yet to hear back, but I’m still keeping my fingers crossed.  At least next year, they’ll be able to see that I’m not just a series of very pale blurs.

The CCAs are being held in Ottawa this year – and I’m super excited because I will definitely make the trip up for them, so former friends of Ottawa, I warn you now – I will be begging to sleep on your couches/spare bedrooms in the not-too-distant future.  Maybe we can hold another show at the Avant-Garde while I’m up there.  Who knows?

Only time will tell.

So stay tuned CCA readers…

And check back to find out how Geekomedy turns out!  Or better yet, SEE FOR YOURSELF!  Tomorrow night at Comedy Bar.  7pm.  FREE.  Be there.

 

 

 

Nervous Meat

It’s been a crazy week. (+ a few days.)

I volunteered for the Canadian Comedy Awards again this year, which was great!  (With the exception of the biggest joke of the night: $13 + tip glass of wine.)  I worked in the box office throughout the end of last week to sell tickets for shows put on by nominees in the various categories.

(If you’re curious, you can see the results of the CCAs right HERE.)

Then, I worked backstage for the actual Awards ceremony, where I had the pleasure of un-blazer-ing Alan Thicke of TV fame, holding stuff for Gavin Crawford, also of TV fame – and basically running about rounding up presenters for the rest of the evening.

The after-party was a lot of fun as well – every year I know a few more people at the CCAs & feel more welcomed as part of the community.

Which leads me to Fresh Meat.  I am so nervous about Fresh Meat.  I’m freaking out over Fresh Meat.  People are telling me to relax and that I’ll do fine, but I am freaking out over Fresh Meat.

(If you’re like: “WTF is Fresh Meat?” Click HERE)

I’ve been working so much this summer in the evenings, and whenever I’m NOT working, I was trying to find jobs, or trying to network, or updating a resume, or writing, or doing ANYTHING to improve my financial situation (which was, until very recently, at risk of requiring me to move back to Welland…) that I haven’t been able to go out and perform as much as I would like.

In fact, tonight, at Comedy @51, I performed the set I wanted to do for next week’s Fresh Meat and it sortof flopped.  I’ve run over in my mind a bunch of reasons why it didn’t go well, and I’m glad I still have a few more nights this week to rehearse it, but only at the beginning of the week, because guess what – Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun evenings, I’ll be cleaning tables and pushing drinks at work (ie. NOT rehearsing.)

IIIIIIIIIIIII’m SCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARED!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

There is some hope though, at least financially.  Last Wednesday night, I was surfing craigslist looking for work (as one does when one becomes desperate) and I applied for a few.  Thursday morning, whilst at Canadian Tire getting an oil change, I got a phone call asking if I was free to come in for an interview for a job as an Office Manager in Richmond Hill.  I went to the interview and, despite my profuse nervous sweating, I got the job and started the next day, Friday.   It’s a 9-5 temp job (with the *fingers crossed* possibility of extension – depending on what the boss says when he gets back from vacation,) which would allow for free evenings to go out and practice the work I so desperately want to do.

Ugh.  I’m a great big ball of stress right now, folks.  But this is the life of an artist, so I’m told.

Canadian Comedy Awards – Year 2

Some things just can’t be the same the second time around, but, you make of them what you can.  This was my second year volunteering at the Canadian Comedy Awards.  This was its 12th year and was originally supposed to be held in Ottawa. I have no idea why they decided to bring it back to Toronto, but hey, who’s complaining?

I volunteered by checking in award nominees when they arrived to the Delta Chelsea hotel in Toronto.  I got to meet a lot of fun performers just sitting at a table, handing out sweet swag bags.

By chance, a man I had met last year, who organizes the Stand-Up gala portion of the Awards weekend recognized me and asked me to help out at the gala.  I turned him down, obviously.  What?  No.  Of course not, I went and met Shaun Majumder, who was hosting (and was a super nice guy!) and some of the other featured performers for the evening.

By virtue of my selfless acts of volunteering, I was allowed to attend two nights of after-parties, which were both very fun.

Was it because the Kids in the Hall were there last year?  Some of my heroes?  That I actually got to see the Awards show?  That it was my first time surrounded by such talent because I hadn’t been up that often performing yet?  Was it the booze?  I don’t know, last year’s party just seemed a bit crazier, a bit more exciting.

But it was still a great time and I’m excited to even have been allowed into an “industry-only” event.  I’d encourage any of the Humber students to volunteer, except, then I might not have got my spot and would have had to fight more people off to get into the after-party.  So.  Yeah, stay at home and watch TV, kids!

I need to go to bed now.