Guess Who’s Gonna Be Eating Bacon?

This message was posted on the Guess Who’s Coming to Improv? Facebook page today.  It is heartwarming and amazing:

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This message is a greater gift than any host could hope for.  And yet, tonight, Rachel came back to the show and gifted me with two hilarious scenes as well as the following:

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I didn’t really know what to expect when I started hosting #GWCI. I wanted to play more, I wanted others to have the opportunity to play more, and I wanted people from all levels of the learning spectrum to mingle and create magic together.

I certainly never in the process ever expected BACON!

These are life’s wonderful little gifts.

Thank you Rachel!

The Actual Year in Review & Optimism

We find ourselves at the beginning of another New Year, and like many bloggers, this is as good an opportunity as ever to think back over the past year and try to find some meaning in everything before moving on to the next.

Here goes:

1)  I turned 30.

2)  My best little friend and partner Peanut (my kitty cat) died.

3)  I got let go from work.

Am I ready for a new year?  Yes please.

Ok. So maybe I’m oversimplifying things by focusing on some pretty negative and shitty experiences. Like, maybe turning 30 isn’t so bad. And losing a pet is awful, but we know they don’t live forever when we bring them into our homes at the get-go. And when they’re super sick, sometimes it’s best to know they’re no longer in pain.

And as far as the job goes, I wasn’t a huge fan of the position quite honestly, and really welcomed the change. Also, because I’m a unionized employee, I was found another position within the corporation and have been totally loving the new challenges, coworkers and environment.

One year ago, I moved into an apartment in Bloorcourt; the heart of Toronto’s indie comedy action. I thought it would be the best place to live/be. As it turns out, my apartment overlooked the neighbour’s balcony and they could see directly into my tiny bedroom/kitchen, their cigarette smoke and blathering idiocy seeped in through my window, which was often left open given the ridiculous lack of temperature control in the building. I moved in 2014, again. Up the road, and this time, with my partner of 4 years, Dan. It’s already nice to have food in the fridge, cable TV, and someone to hug when I get home from late-night comedy shows who isn’t a cardboard cutout of Seth Rogen hanging behind my front door purposed to frighten off potential intruders.

I gave birth to a few babies this year: 50 Shades of 50, The Benoits, Exit, Pursued by a Bear and my fondest little project, Guess Who’s Coming to Improv? Each of these groups/shows have brought joy, fun and a stage to play throughout the year. I am incredibly grateful to all those involved, you know who you are. And if you don’t think I’m talking about you specifically, I am, so don’t worry. You’re amazing. I also adopted Improv Game Show, who continues to grow every single week; and I am as proud as an adopted parent could be of its’ potential.

Non-metaphorically, I welcomed a new brother into my family this past summer, as he and my sister threw the best damn wedding I’ve ever attended. And I’ve been to a few weddings in my short years on this earth, folks. This was hands down, the best. It brought my whole family closer together and it was such a gosh-darned delight to see my now 94 year-old grand-maman stand-up at her walker to boogie down to a few tunes.

I got to work with my brother and my boyfriend on a comedy project; a TV pilot about my hometown. Though nothing came out of the competition part of it, we still plan on creating something together out of the concept and working on other projects as well. We might totally be the next Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, but like, Canadian, …and funny.

I was hired by my dream employer last year to teach improv workshops for students both in English and en français; and every chance I get to share a teensy bit of what improv has done for me to other people is like a tiny little miracle.

I went to New York City to learn more about writing humour. I read both Keith Johnstone’s and Rob Norman’s book to learn more about improv. I read Mindy Kaling, Martin Short and Andrea Martin’s books for inspiration and am now onto Amy Poehler’s. I listen to podcasts about comedy and improv and society and life and I am more motivated than ever.

2014 was a good year. Tt felt like momentum was beginning to pick up. My hope is to keep up the pace and trudge on forward. It’s an interesting thing, finding what you love and working towards doing it as often as possible and trying to make a life out of it. It’s not easy all the time, but it sure is something.

Even though I still miss Peanut like fucking crazy.

Happy New Year my darlings. To an amazing year ahead!

NOMO: An Anti-Movember Intercession

Don’t get me wrong, Movember, the fundraiser, is great. I’m all for men and women raising money and awareness to help deal with men’s cancers and the mental health issues that surround these types of illnesses.

But the act of Movember; the growing of the moustache, the questions that arise, the variety of complexities involved, well that’s a whole other bag of facial hair, if you ask me.

Here are just a few reasons I’m not so sure about Movember:

1.  I might mistake you for your father.

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Look, your Dad might have been good-looking back in the day. And I know a lot of dudes look up to their fathers. A lot of them don’t. Whatever. But I genuinely worry that you might show up, and I won’t recognize you behind your Dad’s genetically identical facial hair.

What if I call you mister? You might like it, but I don’t want to be subjected to the humiliation that would ensue.

What if we go out somewhere and someone mistakes me for your daughter?

When we got to a restaurant, people will automatically give you the bill, which given my current financial status might not be terrible, but it is inherently sexist, so we can’t be having any of that!

Worse though, what if your moustache has controlling elements on your psyche and makes you act like your father as well?  What happens then, huh?

 

2.  If you get something stuck in there, I won’t know whether or not I should tell you about it, and that might drive me crazy.

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Is it from something you ate? Did something just fall out of the sky? How did it get there? Is it food? Is it a non-food substance? What the heck is that on your face?!

So many questions as to the life-story of the crumb stuck on your upper-lip. I’m nice and all, for the most part, but I might not tell you about it just to see how it plays out.

You’re not used to facial hair.  You don’t know the weight it carries?  You could be walking around all day with an entire strip of the bacon you had at breakfast and you would just think “well, I guess my Mo’ is growin’ in nicely” but NO!  You got BACON in there, sir!

 

3.  If you can’t grow it out properly, I will likely lose respect for you.

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Yup, I can be that shallow.

If you participate in Movember and your moustache is all splotchy and uneven, I’m going to have a whole heap of criticism ready. You want to talk modern theories of masculinity?  I’ve got plenty of ammunition right here in my Feminist Political Thought background; about what it means to be a man; how you are perceived amongst your peers let alone around women,  how you should look and act, and most importantly to this circumstance, how your facial hair should represent your sense of self.

If none of that adds up, I might call you on it, bro.

4.  Regardless of if it DOES turn out OK, it will still never look as good as Nick Offerman’s.

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Mo-Perfection

… SO WHAT’S THE FRIGGIN’ POINT?!?!?!?!

5.  What if you’re ACTUALLY an old-timey prospector, and Movember is your one chance to act like yourself after years of hiding clean-shaven, in plain sight, in a time that isn’t even your own!?

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That speaks for itself, I think. How can any of moderns deal with that? I’ve seen Outlander.  That shit gets messed up.  Although it can be a little kinky at times…

 

6. How am I supposed to tell the difference between if you’re a sketchbag or just growing a moustache for Movember?

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I wanna wear your skin!

This is important for the average woman. I know it sounds terrible, but if you’re just a dude wearing a ball cap representing your favourite football team, that’s one thing. If you’re doing the same thing, the football team happens to be from the South, and you’ve got a weird moustache-thing going on, well then I have to ask myself some questions and ponder walking on the other side of the street.

 

7. And lastly, what if you decide to keep it beyond Movember?  

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I can’t even…


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*For all intents and purposes, I do actually support Movember and agree it is a hugely worthy cause, so please support it. Here are two mo-growers to whom I’d like to encourage people to donate; my brother Nick’s mo: http://ca.movember.com/mospace/828278, or my captain Dale’s mo: http://ca.movember.com/mospace/3138449  *Sorry if I’m too late mo-bros*

Dr. Strangelove

This is a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, for various reasons, but I thought about how fitting it would be to know how even the greats had their tough moments of eating shit on stage, and that should be motivation to keep on keeping on.

 

 

 

Not to ensure this doesn’t happen to me when I deliver my Maid of Honour speech tomorrow…

My New Hair Doll

Maybe I’m ready to start writing again.  I had a pretty brutal couple of weeks there, but things are slowly beginning to become funny again.

As most of you might know by now, my itty bitty Peanut recently passed away.  However, she did used to shed a lot, so I have since collected and created a fur-doll with her remnants.  It’s almost as though she hasn’t gone at all!

 

New necklace.

New necklace. Why yes, that is regurgitated cat fur!

I’m also somewhat looking for jobs as it has become necessary since I’m on the verge of losing my current one.  I can’t say  I’m happy with my employer’s decision, so to make it right I will be spending my remaining time there repeating work I’d already completed to render my redundancy notice accurate.

My bridesmaid’s dress has arrived from China.  When I told everyone at work it was too big, they all congratulated me for having lost weight.  I didn’t tell them I ordered the dress 2 sizes too big.

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Just take a couple inches off…

My new sketchprov troupe (that’s what you call it when your troupe performs both sketch and improv comedy) “Red Herring” are excited to announce we’ve applied to our first comedy festival; the Detroit Improv Festival.  Fins crossed. I hope we get in. I really need the motivation to get my damn passport renewed. For some reason,  the call of chicken wings from Buffalo just isn’t strong enough for me these days.  We also have a few cool shows coming up in May and June. It’s always so great working on a promising new project that can actually go places, like Detroit!

It’s Spring.  The Earth is waking up and so am I.  <—- who says that shit?  

(I do. Sometimes.)

 

HOW TO AVOID BEING ASKED FOR WEDDING ADVICE @SheDoesTheCity

It was a big day for Canadian women yesterday.  We took home the Gold in Hockey and Curling, and on the home front, this Canadian gal had her own personal little victory.

I’m talking about my first article published in She Does the City, a most excellent website geared towards all things women.  It’s a wonderful site with all sorts of great resources concerning events going on in town as well, so check it out, and have a laugh.

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It’s Latin so it’s Gotta Be Good

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Last night I had the pleasure of hosting a fantastic comedy variety show at Musideum; that word, that name… you know any venue with a Latin suffix is bound to be awesome!  This amazing little space on Richmond St. was filled with hundreds of musical instruments, a beautiful grand piano and, in this case, a bunch of hilarious performers and a super-supportive audience.

The weekly show is put on by The Sandbox,  comedy troupe formed in the Second City’s Conservatory program, who’ve stuck together to continue their comic journey.  Damnit, now I’m describing the Conservatory program as a journey.  What have I become?

Anyway, The Sandbox kicked off the show with some great fun and lively improv.  They were followed by a musical comedy troupe called The Sour Keys, who were super impressive.  They performed songs ranging from adorably punny to really disturbingly cute.  Next on the bill was 2 Humans, a great little sketch duo set to perform at this year’s Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival (so go check them out!)  Finally, closing the billed show was a solid and hilarious improv set put on by well-known troupe Sneak Attack.  The night wrapped with an improv lottery jam, in which yours truly was invited to participate; and I was a dinosaur and a horned-up old lady at the LCBO hitting on a 19-year wine salesman.  Playing within my range, y’know.

Oh, did I mention there was a gigantic, awful, miserable snow storm yesterday?  And yet,  the Musideum was packed to the brim for the show with a warm and very supportive audience of people who just seemed happy to be there and were rewarded and delighted by the night’s hilarious performers.

What a fun night of comedy!  Even better, there’s a new Comedy Night at Musideum every single Wednesday, so next time – you can be there to experience the fun for yourself!

 

Elementary, my dears

Well now, my trip on the Bipolar Express has finally come to an end and with it comes the end of my experience with the Conservatory and the beginning of a deep, dark valley of despair and the unknown.

Wow, that got dark quick.

I am, actually, a bit down about being finished with the Conservatory.  In the same way I was sortof down when I was finished Humber.  Because now I don’t have any pre-determined path to follow on a regular basis to achieve a certain goal, or conclusion.  It’s like I’m back at the beginning again.

Chris Martin gets it.

If you’re reading this, maybe you can comment on some tips and tricks you give yourself to stay motivated and to keep creative?  I know, in the Winter months especially, it can be particularly difficult to come home from your day job and feel like working on creative endeavours.  Most of the time lately, I’ve just felt like curling up in my blanket and watching a Sherlock marathon.  (How has it taken me this long to watch that show, seriously?)

On the plus side, I have gone out and done a couple stand-up sets now, so that’s starting up again.  I participated in a show this weekend, an open-mic strictly for ladies at Free Times Café (try their brisket poutine, you’ll plotz.)  Put on by none other than than the fabulous Chicka Boom hosts; Jess Beaulieu & Laura Bailey, the night proved performer after performer of solid, fierce material in one of the most supportive evenings I’ve seen.  Maybe you see a trend here? Catherine McCormick runs an LGBTQ/Women only room = super supportive.  Chicka Booms runs a ladies-only room = super supportive.  All other rooms = hurry the fuck up and finish what you’re saying so I can get on and do my 5 minutes because they’re better than yours, and I’m more important than you, AAAAAAAH ANGER, HATRED AND RAGE!!!

Ok, not true.  Not all other rooms, but these ones do tend to be incredibly supportive and positive.  Not the material; the material ranged from dark and tragic, to adorable cat-related tales and all throughout, making a few dirrrrty stops at one-night standsville and period-town along the way.  From relatable to extraordinary, it was just a damn good night of comic entertainment and I’m glad I spent the evening there instead of streaming the Grammys.

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On a different note, I got my first call-back EVER the other day.  So clearly my commercial acting career is taking off at incredibly fast speeds!  (SOC auditions are the BEST, amirite?)

Other than that, I intend to  keep plugging away.  I wish we could open this up as a discussion for other comics/performers making their way in the biz, so please share the posts & your own experiences.  Let’s get the conversation going!

In the meantime, I’m off to Netflix to watch my distant relative keep Cumberbatch in line.   I mean, I’m off to clean the dishes, Mom.