Trading Faces

It’s hard to believe a year has past since I shared a stage with Dave Foley.  Not just any stage, the main stage at the Second City.  But alas, here we are, one year later, watching my successors have their moment in the limelight alongside another Kid in the Hall, and a most royal queen, Scott Thompson.

God Save the Queen

God Save the Queen

The show was really good, I was super impressed by the performances, a lot of the writing, but mostly the sheer joy on the faces of the performers as they showcased  what they worked really hard on, ans what they learned over the past two years.

…and I can only IMAGINE the infinitely more positive environment these kids had to work with in the writer’s room and in rehearsal.  They were having fun.  And being creative.  I bet they were encouraged to create, explore and push a couple boundaries.  And you could tell all that by the performances.

It was also nice to bump into some fellow alumni and other industry folk for the evening.  🙂  (Including the good news I heard about a sponsorship for Water Wings – but more on that to come…)

I left the Main Stage feeling pretty encouraged and motivated to work hard on my own stuff.  Nothing like a bunch of kids graduating and entering the world of what you want to do to motivate you to make sure you keep at it yourself!  But first, I must rest… because I’ve got this nasty  cough that just started out of nowhere and I’ve got a busy week (month, life) ahead of me!

Congrats Humber Comedy class of 2013!   Y’done good.  Now keep up the hard work and I’ll see ya on the circuit!

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2012 Was Nuts

2012 was a pretty crazy year.  I just went back and re-read most of my posts from the previous year and how much actually happened in 2012.  I said to myself earlier that I was looking forward to 2013, a fresh start.  But, now that I think about it a bit more, it’s going to be dang tough to top all the amazing things that happened in 2012.  I mean, Dave Foley bought me a beer for Pete’s sake!

I was going to draft a list of my top 2012 influencers on Twitter for 2012; people who had really help shape the year into what it was, but as I got to page 4 of my list, I thought two things; I don’t want to type all these people’s names out, and holy cow – what a great year it was; not just for performing, but for meeting people and becoming further connected as part of this wonderful community of funny people & performers in Toronto. Though it has its seedy underbelly, there’s also a crap-load of amazingly talented and friendly people as well. I’m pleased, because that’s exactly why I started this blog – so I can look back on it and remember the challenges as well as the victories, the obstacles and the peaks initially of clown college, but now expanded to the entirety of this funny little subculture.

When it comes down to it… all I’m saying is… I’m sure glad the world didn’t end this year and as crazy as 2012 was, I’m sure there’s lots more in store for 2013! Bring it on!

A Select Few New Faces 2012

The roller coaster ride of the Humber Industry Show ended at the Dog’s Bollocks in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

We spent all day on Monday at the Second City, so for me, it felt like work, which is a good thing, even though I wasn’t getting paid.  It’s just that, I work there… you see.  So, it was nice to be able to consider the performance element of my time at the Second City as work and not have to rearrange chairs and clean up after people afterwards.

I haven’t written much about the process of preparing for the Industry Show, other than a few snippets here and there, but now that it’s over, and I’m no longer writing and re-writing Greece or Ma & Pa Brothel, I have time to reflect.

Reflect upon  how unfair the process was to many of us and how were were told to suck it up because hey, that’s showbiz.  And on my end, it sucks, because who’s going to recognize the girl who wrote the piece but only had one line and spent the rest of the time in the chorus?

Two events took place at the Dog’s Bollocks that metaphorically represent my feelings about the show and its process:

  • Dave Foley bought me beer and;
  • I got a parking ticket.

(OK, he bought beer for the whole table, but that lessens the metaphor, so stay with me here.)

This business, this school has been a series of ups and downs, wins and losses and, I guess all I can do is wish myself and my classmates the best of luck at braving the storm.

(Photo credit: Becky Moore)

(Photo credit: Becky Moore)

Fangirl Moment

I’m gonna go a bit fangirl for a second.  Please excuse, but I have to contain myself while at school so… here goes:

Um, it’s pretty dang nifty, I’d say, to work in a writer’s room with Dave Foley.  I ugh, how can?  I don’t.  What?  It’s Dave Foley for crying out loud.  My parents hated how obsessed I was with the Kids in the Hall growing up.  I was too young to catch their show when it originally aired, but I would watch re-runs on the early days of the Comedy Network repeatedly.  I would TAPE sketches on VHS, the ones I liked the most.   That feels like so long ago.  I had a pen-pal I met on a KITH fan message board.  A message board!  Do they even still have those?  Other than like, craigslist or kijiji!?!?  She sent me photos of their show in New York and I to her from their show in Buffalo.  She sent me Dave’s autograph.  Holy shit, I just remembered that now.   I used to quote Brain Candy with my friends.  Dina did a great Baxter!   I had a poster of The Wrong Guy on my wall when I was in high school for Pete’s sake.  Most of you probably haven’t even HEARD of the Wrong Guy!

And now I’m working with him in a writer’s room!!!!  Life, you’re being awesome right now!

 

Mini Comedy Lab

I wanted to write a bit long insightful post about how amazing our 3-day workshop with Mike McCarthy was last week – but it’s one of those things where, like — I don’t want to give it all away.  You know?

If you were there, you know – Seriously helpful stuff.

It was probably on the top 3 of: Most Practical/Important Things Humber’s Offered me as part of the Comedy Program

(I think I reserve a hug from Dave Foley as #1 – but my priorities may be a bit out of whack.  Who can tell?)

Between Jesus and Tom Green

Ladies and gentlemen, the founder of modern planking: Mr. Tom Green:

Every couple weeks at Humber, we have guests, people who have achieved a recognizable amount of success in the comedy industry, come speak to us about their experiences in the business.

See:

Dave Foley & Kevin McDonald

Mark Breslin’s Coming to Town

Last week was no exception.  What a treat to find out Tom Green would be taking a break from his stand-up tour to come talk to us Humber comedy geeks! #fun, right?

Breslin, Green & Clark Ltd.

Now let’s be honest, I’m not the #1 hugest Tom Green fan of all time.  BUT, as a friend (and former girlfriend) to some pretty huge TG fans, it’s fair to say I’ve been following his career for a long time now, I guess since he had his show on MTV. I feel like one of the few people in the Humber crowd that remembered his marriage to Drew Barrymore and his battle with testicular cancer (two issues that were, to my surprise, NOT brought up in the Q&A!) In fact, I’d even met him before, in his hometown of Ottawa.  He was doing a book-signing for Hollywood Causes Cancer at the Chapters on Rideau.  I told him he had a nice suit.  It was pinstriped.  I should probably read that book.

ANYWAY.  Let’s rewind.  Tom Green, Mark Breslin pointed out, is one of the founders of shock humour, reality television (of the non-sociological-research-based-variety) & comedy-rap. He was so influential in Canada that Macleans once had to decide between featuring Tom Green or Jesus as a cover-story!  (They went with Jesus, btw.)

He’s like the precursor to Ali G-type stuff in that he started subverting what TV is and going places TV hadn’t gone before.  (Humping a dead-moose, WHAT?)  Tom Green tapped into the American zeitgeist and started doing stuff that set the precedent for stuff like Jackass and a bunch of other crazy MTV stuff.  And for what?  Because he’d consciously taken note of the funny that comes from unsuspecting people’s reactions to bizarre situations.

Right?  We love that shit!  That’s one of the reasons shows like The Office are as funny as they are!

Sidenote: The main reason I’m writing this is so I can use words like subvert and zeitgeist.

Tom Green encountered some pretty significant difficulties seeing eye-to-eye with the higher ups in Hollywood, who didn’t really understand his vision.  One of his bits of advice to us was to know where to draw the line between keeping your vision intact and handling the bureaucracy of the industry. (Presuming we ever get that opportunity.  Fingers crossed)

Another was to separate yourself from the rest with your hard work.

Green admitted he never wanted to be a big-shot movie star, that he was given creative control of Freddy Got Fingered and that that’s why the movie is how it is.   His ambition was to be a Letterman-style talk-show host, and now he interviews celebrities on his Internet TV channel at tomgreen.com.

He’s also returned to his roots, touring the world performing stand-up comedy.  (Tom started doing stand-up at 15, performing at Yuk Yuk’s in Ottawa!)  I probably should have gone to check out one of his sets, but I was performing one of my own last weekend and I wanted to make sure I was prepared for that.

(It went really well, btw.)

Another great experience with an influential comic, thanks to Humber College.  (If this is the kind of stuff my tuition pays for, it’s totally worth it!)

Stay tuned, as one of my future posts will tell you the tale of the exclusive performance of Andy Kindler for us Humber kids at Comedy Bar!

I totally got him to say "My pie."