Daphney

It was so fun to get to interview my friend Daphney Joseph on Nick and my recent Constant Struggle episode. She and I have had some great chats in the past when we were NOT being recorded, so I knew be very valuable to have her come and chat to us in a conversation we could share with the whole world! (Or mostly Canada and the US, to be honest. Some people in the UK too…one or two Australians as well.)

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She and I are both French Canadian, but from two different francophone communities. Montreal and Welland are pretty much worlds apart in terms of French culture, but somehow the language has the ability to bring people together in this country.  So much so that we’re now both playing LNI-style improv with Les Improbables, the popular French-language improv group in Toronto. This style of improv is the first kind of improv either of us learned, since both of us went to French language schools growing up, and this is pretty well the most popular form of improv among French-speakers worldwide.

Check out what Daphney has to say about francophonie and SO much more in our latest episode of The Constant Struggle.

Download this episode (right click and save)

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Wooden Anniversary with the 6ix

Thanks to Facebook, it’s  now easier to get super-reflective on the stuff you’ve been up to over the past, well… since you joined Facebook…. For example, on this day, 7 years ago, I visited Lyon, France. I had a panic attack in a taxi on the way to a Coldplay concert and wasn’t quite sure at the time what was going on. I carried on anyway because I would eventually stand so close to Chris Martin, I’d hoped to catch a bead of his sweat in my mouth. I would later discover Lyon is the hometown of the first CBC employee who would call me a friend.

See how close?

See how close?!?!

On this day 1 year ago, Gill and I had our first improv set together as a duo at Winprov at the Cage. We called ourselves Exit, Pursued by a Bear. A name combining her love of Shakespeare and my desire to be chased by bears. I would later discover we were bound for more than just that one performance. We founded a monthly show for emerging and established comics to come present and perfect their material all while doing the same with our own craft. This would eventually bring us out to Halifax, where I am currently enjoying performing daily hour-long improv sets for completely new and different audiences than those from our Toronto base at the Social Capital Theatre one Thursday night per month.

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“…unusually surrealist…”

At this time, 5 years ago, I was settling into my new apartment in Toronto, having up and left my life in Ottawa. I had some big dreams, which is apparently rare for someone leaving the civil service. I was happy because if I walked a few feet away from my apartment and gazed through the trees, I could see the CN Tower, not knowing how significant that landmark would become to me. I went back to school. I was weeks away from performing stand-up comedy for the first time. Months away to writing my first comedy sketches. Years away from producing my own shows and touring the country, working in one of Canada’s most significant cultural establishments as well as one of North America’s most recognized comedy institutions, from meeting my future husband, (still not used to saying that,) meeting new best friends, new amazing colleagues & immensely talented creative partners and laughing more and harder than ever before.

I would later discover Toronto (dramatic pause) …is my home.

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Happy anniversary, you beautiful bitch.

Take a Stand

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Weezer @ Rama 2013

Ever seen a rock concert at Casino Rama?

Either that place is really tame or I’m getting old to the point where the bands I like are only performing venues where the fans can’t/don’t move anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, Weezer totally killed it last night. They were really tight and the hits kept on coming and coming, I didn’t want it to end.  What I did want to do, was stand-up and rock out.  But, given the nature of the venue, apparently the only people who stand up are the few people on the ground level that charge to the stage within the first few seconds of play.  The rest of the audience sit back, bob, and that’s about it.  A few people sing.  A few drunk people try to impress their significant others by dancing terribly, but everybody else is all about the bob.

It reminded me of Bluesfest in Ottawa.  No offence, Ottawa.  But when people get pissed off at you because you’re standing in front of their lawn chair, 15 rows into the crowd of a fargin’ rock concert, it’s time to take the earplugs out and listen up.

Rock isn’t supposed to be comfortable.  It’s supposed to make you stand up, dance, punch the sky and air-drum until your arms go numb.  I don’t want to sit down at a rock concert.  I want to charge the stage and shout my head off along with drunken fools and people who’ve kept cocaine in necklaces to avoid being caught by security on the way in.  I want to flank the crowd and sneak my way to the front, like I’ve been doing for years.  I want that slight, tiny, minuscule chance that the people performing on stage will reach out and give me a high five, or at least, make eye contact and, if only for a second, acknowledge my existence.

Or, if I get tickets in the stands, I at LEAST want to stand up and sing along to the hits, without worrying the people behind me sitting down’a experience will be compromised due to my, God forbid, desire to have some fun.  For Pete’s sake world,  get off your asses!  It’s a rock show.

You sit on your ass all day long at work (well I do, anyway.) How does something like this not make you want to stand up and just have the time of your fucking life?

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!

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…

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:

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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.