Mentor Meeting

Everyone at Humber Comedy gets the opportunity, should they desire, to meet with Mark Breslin, founder and CEO of the Yuk Yuk’s chain of comedy clubs.

So to those of you who think it’s a big deal that I met with him one-one-one, face-to-face & had a lovely and productive meeting with him, I just want to tell you…

It is.

He owns Yuk Yuk’s and now he knows my name!  Eeeeeeeee!

Sure, now he knows everyone else’s name too.

But still, EEeeeeeee!

 

Another Yuk’s Night -> Reading Week Edition

It’s February and it’s reading week.  Over the past two days, my apartment has become a completely different entity; no longer the disastrous shit-pit it was only a week ago.  There’s now a functional bed (ie. one that won’t collapse just resting my school bag on it,) the futon has returned to an upright couch-like position and I feel like I have room to breathe again.

So naturally, I’m writing this blog post at Starbucks.

I felt it might be a good idea to ride the wave of positive feedback after a pretty good set at Yuk Yuk’s to more creative things.  Normally, I just let that happy feeling drain away as I embark on the one hour journey back home on the 501 streetcar.   And, although this location will be closed in 20 minutes, I intend to find somewhere else nearby to help me work out a few more pieces including a radio play I need to edit, which we will be performing at Comedy Bar on Monday March 5th (Mark your calendars.)

Many of us second years are currently working hard trying to shape our showcase sets for our end-of-year stand-up performances taking place the last Tuesday of March & the first Tuesday of April.   These are the shows Mark Breslin, industry professionals and Humber alum will be present to evaluate our performances.  Basically everything we’ve managed to pull together over the past two years of stand-up comedy classes,  on display for everyone to judge.

  • My slot’s on Tuesday, April 3rd.  If you don’t know why that date has any significance, you should probably go check my Facebook profile.

Nah, I’ll save you the trip.  That’s my birthday.  (Mark your calendars.)

It seemed like it would be a pretty stressful night to begin with before I knew it was going to be on my birthday.  Most people probably think, “Meh, it’s a day like any other.  What’s the big deal?”  But I don’t know.  I just feel like a lot’s riding on this because if I bomb, not only will I have made a fool of myself in front of my peers and potential future employers, but I’ll have done so on my BIRTHDAY!  The day of my birth!

That being said, if my showcase gets the response my set received tonight, I think I’ll be OK.  One thing’s for certain one way or the other -> The booze’ll be flowing big time the night of April 3rd.

STAY TUNED as my next post will hopefully have something to do with BRIE’S FIRST ADVENTURE IN TELEVISION.

It’s OK to be curious.

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."

3/4 There

Tomorrow begins the last and final chapter/semester of Clown College.

"I don't think any of us expected him to say that."

How do I feel about that?  Well, I’m a bit of a mixed bag of emotions right now.  This term sortof marks the height of our accomplishments over the past two years.  We spend the last month (I think) showcasing our best 4-minute set in front of Mark Breslin & many other important people at Yuk Yuk’s, our best sketches and some of the top-plays will be selected to be put on at another performance – (location to be announced,) and finally, we compete for a coveted spot in the esteemed Industry Show on the Second City Mainstage.

I guess nervous, is what I am.  Nervous and excited.  Those are two things that really fuel me in this business/world/heavily-dominated-by-psychotic-people-industry so far.  Because if I was sortof bored and blasé about the performances, I think it’d be a sign that I wasn’t really into it.  I like the fact that for a few minutes before I perform a set, my brain pretty much shuts down and goes into “self-preservation” mode.  It means I’m doing something that evolution is telling me scares the shit out of other people. And not even a little part of me thinks that’s stupid.

I like locking myself in my apartment and working my words over and over again until I get them just right.  I’ve had help with that ever since first year univ… no wait, high school.  Writing something is one thing, but re-writing again and again and again is a whole different skill.  It requires patience, LOTS of patience.

What I’m not looking forward to is the getting-into-my-own-head-iness that I’ve been doing a lot; presuming things about people and their perceptions without anything but my own experiences and insecurities to back them (the presumptions) up.  Hopefully I’ll try to work on that as I continue in my attempts to cultivate mindfulness and appreciate the significance of being “in the moment” in the clown college atmosphere, because there genuinely is no other atmosphere quite like it.

So, wish me luck with as I embark this last semester with an open mind, that will almost certainly be shut ten minutes into class, because in actuality, I’m a terribly impatient human being.

Also, watching the Simpsons in languages I don’t understand is funny.  So here:

Mark Breslin’s Coming to Town

Howdy Blog-followers!

The semester’s winding down now!  You can practically hear the sleigh bells in the hallways between classes!

Both myself and my computer were feeling a little under the weather recently.  But systems seem to be getting back to normal, and in the case of my computer, even better than normal.  (Sometimes, factory flaws are fun, because they mean your computer gets a new keypad thingamajig even four years after you bought the dang thing!)

Anyway, today Mark Breslin gave a presentation at school.  He’s the guy responsible for the Yuk Yuk’s chain of comedy clubs in Canada, and ultimately, the reason any of us Humber kids are allowed as much experience as we are on a Yuk Yuk’s stage.

Here are a few things he brought up that really resonated with me:

1)  Consume Culture, in all its forms:

I remember last year, the topic of comedy as an art-form was discussed in class and compared to music as an art-form.  There was debate in class on that subject, suggesting the two were incomparable, but my opinion, as shared by many others, I recall,  was that they are very much on the same scale.  Breslin went so far as to compare his era of stand-up comedians as the comedy equivalent to the punk rock scene in the 70’s.

It makes sense that we should embrace all forms of the performing arts as performing artists.  Why not increase our understanding of the theatre, opera, live music, poetry or any other art form if we wish to be recognized as legitimate artists?

2) Authenticity, a reminder to myself:

Forget about the fact that Humber kids tell dick jokes every Tuesday, Brie.  You don’t have to tell dick jokes.  You don’t.

3) Well, that was embarrassing…

That thing, that think you hate about the way you look.  The audience is looking right at it, no doubt.  That little piece of your history that you’re too shy to talk about, that’s going to make someone fall off their chair laughing.  That story, that thing you do, that problem you have, that thing that hurts you the most…

That’s what’s going to sell.

There were a lot of other interesting discussions in the lecture; a question about the systemic problems inherent in Canadian television programming rendering it exceptionally difficult for homegrown talent to hit it big on the home front; musings about bullying and whether or not anti-bully laws might stifle the future creativity of some poor kid stuffed in a locker; how women are socialized toward loneliness (ha!) and how that makes life on the road as a stand-up comedian more difficult for (some) women.

Anyway, lots to think about.

I do enjoy this program, but I’m starting to really look forward to the post-this program to see where all this will take me.

Another reminder to myself: Brie, don’t let your lookingforwardness take away from each lesson you learn in that school.  Wasn’t today a good improv class?  You know it was.  It was.  You got to yell a lot.  You like yelling, right?  It’s fun!

Alas… Mark Breslin’s visit to Humber, everyone.

See you soon!

Another Yuk’s Under the Belt

Last night’s Yuk’s was a ball!  Sadly, I’m stuck at home this evening memorizing a monologue & writing topical jokes, or I’d be out telling more jokes tonight.  This semester’s been busy.  I can tell this not only because of the amount of work I have due, but more visually, because my apartment is in an almost constant state of disorder.  In university, I used to clean my room as  a means of procrastinating.  Maybe I should get back into that habit, (instead of blogging to procrastinate.)

Yuk Yuk’s Humber Night – October 19 2011

This is how I get called up:

      “Your next comedian is, um… Brie Watson.”

Technically, she got it right. Yes I was next, and that is in fact my name.  But how about a little oomph please?  I walk up on stage to that and the crowd already thinks I’m going to bore them to death.

But I get up on stage and couldn’t be happier about the fact that the three people in the front row, off to the side, look like celebrities.  More specifically, they look like a blonde Justin Bieber, the bearded-guy from Modern Family (but not a red-head) and a less-coked-out Courtney Love.  Bringing this information to the audience was one of those moments I’ve heard Larry refer to as: “A gift from the comedy gods.”   Just a moment when something comes up and you just KNOW it’s going to be good and it’s going to resonate well with the crowd.  And it DID.  Which is GREAT! Because I was going up with all new material and I was worried the set would be garbage!

But this guy was blonde.

God!  I just re-listened to it.  I HATE re-listening to my sets.  The second half of it WAS garbage, I stumbled so many times.  Gotta tighten it up, that’s all.  Tighten it up.  I wonder what Larry thought of it.  I LONG FOR HIS APPROVAL.

AND for Andrew Clark’s.  That’s why I talk so freakin’ much in his class. LOVE ME, ANDREW!  Get me a gig with Breslin when I graduate this place!! Don’t send me back to Ottawa, I don’t want to go back there! I can’t do it!  I just can’t!! (Unless it’s to do gigs at Yuk Yuk’s! In which case, SEND ME BACK TO OTTAWA!! PLEASE!)

The gay dude from Modern Family!!

I think I’m starting to crack under all this pressure.

No not really.

Havin' a good day.