Me, as cult leader "John" in Outlaugh Toronto.

2019 Briear in Review

I get it. We’re well into 2020 by now, and I should have done this earlier in the year, but I’m not giving up on me, and the end of 2019 was rough, so just let me do me, OK? OK.

I’ve found tremendous joy in 2016, 2017 & 2018 writing my Year-in-Reviews and I don’t want to miss the boat. And hell, why not feel like it’s January again and not like 2020 is taking off like a rocket into the future and we have no control over it. That reminds me, my Lighthouse Word this year? NOW.

NOW…

In 2019 I…

  • had a continued run of successful Guess Who’s Coming to Improv? shows with amazingly talented special guest improvisers at Comedy Bar, allowing more opportunities for improvisers to share the stage with the improvisers to whom they look up.
  • Completed the Harold Studio Series at Bad Dog Theatre.
  • Released 7 new episodes of The Constant Struggle Podcast with my brother Nick.
  • Performed many fun sets as Semper Pie with my wonderful improv partner Alicia Douglas, including a few rounds at the World’s Biggest Improv Tournament and on the Stupid Good Comedy Show.
  • Continued writing and performing sketches in The Utilidors with my sketch partner Dave Lahti.
  • Continued seeing a counsellor to help manage my anxiety.
  • Had a super successful monthly run of Improv Fallout with Improv Niagara at Mahtay Caf√© in St. Catharines.
  • Was invited to be a guest judge at the Brock Improv Summit.
  • Got a fun Valentine’s Day make-over on the Marilyn Dennis show with Dan.
That hair though!!!
  • Continued run of successful POPAGANDA shows at the John Candy Box Theatre with the amazing faculty members of the Second City Training Centre & other awesome local improvisers.
  • Taught my first (couple) Level C class(es) at SCTC.
  • Was asked to be the special guest in a few improv shows.
  • Improv Fallout celebrated its first birthday with a sold out performance, fun prizes and a special toast.
  • Changed my phone number. (Real-talk: I never liked the 647 one)
  • Survived another year around the sun.
  • Got to reconnect with an old pal & former roomie who lives far far away now.
  • Got back into stand-up comedy, performed all around Toronto & Niagara.
  • Opened an improv studio for Improv Niagara. Promptly closed it after 6 months because of its drain on resources.
  • Was asked to guest on a few podcasts.
  • Got a callback at Generals!
  • We released the series of informational videos about recycling for the Niagara Region.
Stuff Tie Toss!
  • Performed narrative longform for the first time with Improv Niagara in St. Catharines’ In the Soil Festival.
  • Played another season in the Toronto Comedy Softball League. The Jokebox, my team, took home the championship again, although I missed the finals. ūüėĘ
  • Performed in the Toronto Fringe Festival for the first time with the awesome KidsFringe show: BOY VS FLY
You don’t have to throw a shoe.
  • Ran a few improv & mental health workshops for women with Fantastic Funny Folks (Candace Meeks & Alicia Douglas.)
  • Survived a Twitter ban.
  • Had a blast hosting a fundraiser show for my buddy Dan Rosen.
  • Survived my car trying to kill me on College St. Subsequently got a new-to-me car.
  • More auditions this year than ever before. (Thanks Samm!)
  • Went camping for the first time in a long time with Dan under the craziest, brightest Full Moon.
  • Booked my first commercial!
More squeeze, please!
  • Taught stand-up at Second City for the first time.
  • Met the Mayor of St. Catharines at a flag raising ceremony for Culture Days, in which Improv Niagara participated for our 2nd year in a row.
  • Took a really cool photo I hope to be able to share with you one of these days.
  • Made it to our 3rd wedding anniversary with my love, Dan.
  • Took an improv workshop with the former Artistic Director of the UCB, Shannon O’Neill.
  • Made it to Tribal Council in Outlaugh Toronto.
  • Celebrated Guess Who’s Coming to Improv’s 5th anniversary! Brought the show down to Niagara for the first time.
  • Performed with a new improv duo partner, Andrew Lizotte, in a fun project entitled High Status Idiots.
  • Voted in another Federal Election. (My guy didn’t win.)
  • Sold a friggin’ house & moved into a new home.
  • Raised 150lbs of food for needy people in our community in Niagara.
  • Nous avons dit adieu √† ma tr√®s ch√®re grand-m√®re, qui nous a quitt√© √† l’√Ęge de 99 ans.

So probably the end of the year is why it took me so long to write this year-end post. I realize that now. However writing it now feels very good, very cleansing. My grand-mother was full of joie-de-vivre and a very funny woman. I’m certain she would want me to continue doing a similar path.

Que la sant√©, l’amour et la r√©ussite vous accompagnent dans tous vos projets. Bonne ann√©e!

Episode #10 with RYAN HUGHES is UP!

http://theconstantstruggle.podbean.com/e/e10-hurricast-with-ryan-hughes/

In this episode, Nick & Brie chat with actor, writer & improvisor Ryan Hughes about some of the struggles he’s currently facing in the pursuit of his art.

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Dis Ryan!

Ryan speaks of a few pros and cons of the day job, and what happens when it’s gone. He discusses issues of confidence and mental health. We also delve into a deep discussion about women in comedy and *~*GASP*~* even feminism!
***
With GREAT shout-outs to:
CARLY HEFFERNAN
JESS BEAULIEU & NATALIE NORMAN (THE CRIMSON WAVE)
CATHERINE MCCORMICK
DANIELA SAIONI
ILLUSIONOID
***
Be sure to check Ryan out on Twitter @ryanfhughes & his improv troupe
Peggy Molson @peggymolson
Peggy Molson are competing in the Big City Improv Festival‚Äôs ‚ÄúTKO‚ÄĚ tournament. Their semi-final set is at Comedy Bar on Tues. Oct. 13th @ 8:00 PM. Go check ‚Äôem out if you‚Äôre in Toronto.
#StruggleOn

Ten “New Year” Thoughts

Quick musings on the start of my new job and what feels like a new year (because of how we’re socialized as children to see the school year to be a new year and even though I have’t been in school for a few years, it still feels that way…)

  1. I need to see a physiotherapist for my shoulder. For real. (but AFTER softball season’s over.)
  2. I’m getting pretty tired of administrative work. Can someone please pay me for my thoughts, and not my ability to print shit soon?
  3. It’s way better to take the streetcar at 7:30 AM than 8AM. That half hour makes an insanely stupid difference in TTC service.
  4. I miss working on Steven and Chris.
  5. I miss working with the people at PanAm.
  6. For two days, I feel like I’ve been in control of my schedule. Let’s see how long that lasts. (My guess, until the first JFL42 show I see.)
  7. I’m getting pretty sweet at editing our my podcast. Even though sometimes I have to splice together pieces that, for continuity’s sake, make no sense whatsoever. (Example: Let’s go bowling.)
  8. You should be on and listen to my podcast.
  9. I haven’t performed in like, 4 days. I both miss it, and am incredibly relieved to be doing other creative things that don’t involve hourlong train commutes.
  10. I went to the gym! #PointsMe

Thanks for indulging me.

New Episode of @StrugglePod: E09 – Summer’s End

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http://theconstantstruggle.podbean.com/e/e09-summers-end/

Well kids, summer’s over and with that brings a whole new world of struggles, but not without mentioning the break we took from them during the warm months to relax and refuel the tank.

In this episode, Nick talks about his trip to Chicago, IL with his buddies and Brie mentions her voyage to Halifax, Nova Scotia for the Atlantic Fringe Fest. Both reference their respective cities’ great garlic-bread-type products.
We discuss new and ongoing projects and how to jump back into them now that the colder months are upon us.
Special podcast shout-outs to:

Special Parks Canada shout-outs to:

  • The Citadel
  • Green Gables Heritage Place
  • Province House National Historic Site of Canada

Special Toronto festivals shout-outs to:

And to everything garlic bread, we thank you.

 

Check it out on iTunes, Google Play or at the link right under the banner!

#StruggleOn

Struggling On

logo1On a day like today, the first day this month that I’ve had to work full time hours on the weekend (just Sunday this week, in the coming weeks it’ll be expected of me Saturdays and Sundays), more than ever I feel the need to promote the latest episode of Nick & my podcast; The Constant Struggle:

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/a28d3-56ed11

This episode was taped on Father’s Day, and we discussed the grind of getting your creative work done under not-so-ideal circumstances. I have a feeling the next episode is going to talk about more of that because this month I will have even less time to do the things I love, which is pretty crazy disheartening.

It’s getting more difficult to manage the balance of work and passion. Work seems to be weighing more heavily. Too bad I’m not a millionaire, y’know?¬† Anyway…

In this episode, we give shout-outs to:

  • Drop & Give me 20 stand-up show (Marc Hallworth)
  • Robert Ariss Hills (improviser, graphic designer)
  • Dan Dingwall (a dude)
  • Susannah Kiernan (triple threat)
  • Ken Hall (improv guru)
  • Alexis Bernstein (networking queen & creative expert)
  • The bird clock
  • Porter Airlines

Books & Movies

  • Save the Cat (Blake Snyder)
  • Whiplash (2014)
  • Inside Out (2015)

Podcasts

  • The Moment (Brian Koppelman)
  • WTF (Marc Maron)
  • The Crimson Wave (Jess Beaulieu & Natalie Norman)

***

#StruggleOn friends!

A L’il Rasgal Drops By TCS

Our newest episode of The Constant Struggle podcast is up, and for the first time, we’ve decided to feature a guest on the show. We invited Susannah Kiernan, member of the hilarious duo “L’il Rasgals” to come on by and talk to us a bit about the various challenges she’s had to face in the noble pursuit of her art.

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/93qcz-56b618?from=wp

You can also find the episode on iTunes by searching “The Constant Struggle”

Give it a listen. It’s a great episode & Susannah is a wonderful guest. While you’re at it, follow her on Twitter at @SusannahKiernan and follow us at @StrugglePod.

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Struggle on!

 

 

 

Sketchfest: 2014 Edition

It’s Sketchfest season again everybody! ¬†Hooray and celebrate! ¬†This year, I am not working quite as diligently with the organizers as I’ve done in the past, mostly because I’m too busy with the day job to sustain all the evenings of hilarity and drinking and fun times. ¬†Fun times are exhausting, you guys. ¬†Anyway, I have been checking some of the shows and so far they have been GREAT!

Speaking of great, I wrote another article for She Does the City and it 100% has to do with Sketchfest, so please go ahead and check it out:

shetchfest

The idea was that I interview all the all-female troupes (Templeton Philharmonic, Ladystache, 2 Weird Ladies, LadyBusiness & She Said What) participating in this year’s Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival¬†& find out more about them, their style, and why the readers of shedoesthecity.com should check them out. ¬†It was a lot of fun. ¬†I quickly became aware of why podcasts are so popular, because interviewing other comedians is really fun and insightful. ¬†I wouldn’t want to do it all the time, because transcribing takes a LOT of time, but the sitting down and talking to funny and interesting, hardworking and genuinely great people was a lot of fun!

Tonight, I’m off to check out the Kids in the Hall (if only 16 year-old Brie knew how many opportunities she would get in the future to see these guys live) as they do a live reading of their film Brain Candy. ¬†It’s going to be great! ¬†I love how they all hated one another when they made this movie, and now they’re revisiting it as older, cooler buds.

As the festival continues, I will attempt to post more, but don’t just sit here and read. ¬†Make sure you go out and see as many shows as possible. ¬†This is seriously such a great comedy festival, a wonderful place to study styles and methods of performing the art and basically just a really sick party.

My highlights of the fest so far are:

  • Bri-Ko¬†(but they’ve already went back to Chicago, so you missed them. ¬†Sorry. ¬†Check them out if ever you’re in ¬†Chicago though, because they blew my MIND!)
  • Peter n’ Chris¬†(they’re done with Sketchfest too, but you CAN check out this video pilot for their new webseries thing coming out, which is a lot of fun. ¬†It’s called Hardly Men and you can catch a glimpse here: