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!

CBTF on The Visitorium

Looks like our little tour-lette is starting to get a bit of press.  Check out our mention in Ottawa theatre blog, The Visitorium. (Scroll way down.  Sweet mentions of our host Rachelle Todd & excitement for The Young Geologists.  This is a good sign, people! Good!)

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."