#BrieCIF2015

I did it! I performed AND participated in this year’s Big City Improv Festival! Huzzah. My first time performing in the festival! Youpidyday!

My own. My precious. (Also, that's not my thumb)

My own. My precious. (Also, that’s not my thumb)

My first performance in #BCIF2015 were interesting an unexpected. Such, I suppose, is the nature of the art we practice. I was asked by my former teacher Robin Duke to perform in a show with other Humber alumni. I said yes, because Robin Duke. It was a while before I realized this show was actually part of #BCIF. It seems that because Humber is a sponsor, this is the show they contributed to the fest. And I got to be part of it. Yay.

In all honesty, I really didn’t know how to feel about it. I remember improv not to be one of the main focuses of the Humber comedy program. In fact, here’s what I remember about improv class at Humber:

  1. Alan Guttman continually blowing my mind in class, dropping his early Second City and Johnstonenian wisdom and;
  2. Adam Cawley running a longform workshop, which likely convinced me to sign up for Second City classes.

The students interested in performing stand-up seemed to outweigh those interested in improv in number and in willingness-to-give-it-a-try-ingness. All I’m saying is, it’s hard for someone who’s hiding behind a microphone to completely throw themselves into improv; it’s a art that requires a lot of letting go. I think one thing that makes stand-up do their thing, is an inability to let go; and also, in fact, a desire to to instead repeat the thing most people would let go over and over again in exchange for the laughter of strangers. Don’t get me wrong, I love that laughter, but I think I like spontaneity and discovery a wee bit more.

That being said, I was incredibly pleased and delighted to find out that improv at Humber is stronger than ever. Our show featured short form games. The performers were quick, they played fun characters and they were SMART. I got to play a super fun scene with the wonderful Ashley Comeau who was generous enough to give me a gift that allowed me to have SO MUCH FUN. All she had to say was “you looooooooove her” to cool guy Malik Powell and the game was afoot.

Following that set, I ran over to a friend’s house for, get this: her birthday, pizza, carrot cake, the Blue Jays victory, a tasty butter tart & a Liberal majority in Parliament. I excused myself and ran down to Bad Dog where I had my SECOND EVER SHOW in BCIF. Two shows in one night! I waited years for one show, period. This is like a woman who can’t get pregnant, so she overdoses on fertility meds and ends up getting quints…OR so is my understanding of reproductive medications.

So, an 11pm BCIF edition of Improv Game Show was show #2. On a Monday. The same day the Blue Jays were playing. And everyone was watching a pretty historic election. And despite all of this, the show was great! The energy was fantastic. Oliver Georgiou hosted and rocked the night! Our tech Scott, who I just met for the first time that night was freaking hilarious. ALL the improvisers were GREAT and the games were so much fun. We play this game all the time, and yet this edition felt particularly special.

The following day, my 1950s-inspired babefest Fifty Shades of 50 performed a magical set in the cabaret space. It was pretty wacky, there was a lot of talk about fart-smells, and we mentioned a character named “Little Noah No-Arms”. So…you know… improv gold! I love this format & performing with these women so much.

Here’s a shot my camera took of us mid-action:12042790_10101301938113596_5355067159631151847_n

There were many other performers and performances at this year’s festival filled with hilarity and greatness. But that’s not what this post is about. This is a different post.

In this post, I did it! I performed AND participated in this year’s Big City Improv Festival! Huzzah. My first time performing in the festival! Youpidyday!

 

 

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LaughDraft vs. Ron James: A Comparative Analysis

It has been a busy week.  Most of the week was spent rehearsing and memorizing lines, leading up to LaughDraft‘s first live performance since our Launch Show back in June.  All this, while trying to keep up with school work!  You’ll be pleased to know that the show went very well!

The next day, I’d been offered a chance to check out a taping of the Ron James Show at the CBC building by my Sketch and Improv teacher, Robin Duke.  I figured, though he’s not necessarily a comedian targeting my demographic, what the hell!  Why not?  It’ll be cool to see a live taping of a comedy TV show and I’ve never been to the studios at CBC, so shooo, let’s go for it.

As such, this blog entry will analyse certain of the differences between these two shows; the LaughDraft SEASON OPENER and the taping of two of the episodes in Ron James’ 3rd season with his own show on the CBC.

Ready?

OK.

The Venue

Have you ever been to the CBC building?  That place is COOL!  We were up on the 10th floor in a studio not unlike those I visited during my tour of NBC Studios in New York.  The sound was crisp, the equipment was pro.  The set was very cool.  The air flow was very comfortable.  The seats were nice.  They had to bring more in to accommodate everyone who had come to the show that evening.

The Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture’s performance space is in a basement.  The sound was muffled by a perpetual talk-radio background for some unknown reason, the mics, not strong enough.  Some of the actors could not be heard at the back of the room.  The equipment had just been installed that day.  The lights, put up by our “crew” aka Joey, who had the day off.  The air flow was, wait… what air flow?  It was hot and humid as sweaty balls in there.  The seats were from IKEA.  If anyone else had come, they would have had to stand.  The pipes were dripping on spectators and performers alike.

Advantage Ron James.

The Crowds

Upon arriving to the CBC building, there were many security guards who directed us to where we needed to go to pick up our tickets.  Then we stood in a massive line in the CBC building’s main atrium? (Is it an atrium?) and waited for ushers (not-uniformed, I should specify) to bring us up the fancy scenic elevator, down the hall and to the left and finally to our seats in the studio.  The joint was packed.  Average age was probably 50ish.  Get ready for jokes about people who don’t know how to  use Twitter everybody!!  Consistent laughter, even when RJ had to repeat the joke over and over again to get it right for TV.  Which is weird.  Imagine going to a stand-up show and hearing the comic tell the joke, and then come back at the end of the set and say: “OK, apparently I messed this one up or you guys didn’t laugh hard enough, so here we go again!”  Stand-up would be an easier business if that were the case, methinks.

People drizzled into our show.  There was no gigantic line-up.  The outside was poorly lit, so I’m surprised people were able to find us in the first place (Thank you Paige and Ron for drawing the crowds in!) They’re just as good as ushers, and better looking at that!  AND, they actually looked happy to be here! BUT people could go right in when they arrived.  None of this standing around and herding people like sheep business.  No, not for us.  Although there was a bit of a cram as many of them in as possible like those evil chicken farms where they all poop on one another and get sick and stuff. Our venue had a nice amount of people in it, not completely packed, but just about.  Average age, probably 22?  (A much younger crowd than our Launch Show, which was interesting – Thank you first years!) Good laughter!  Absolutely no chance for telling the same joke over again.  If we fucked up or missed a line, we just kept going because we don’t have the luxury of an editing room.  This is LIVE people! People actually got excited for our stuff though, it didn’t seem so generic, laugh here, clap here. I think there was a bit more surprise to our show.  Not that stand-up monologues and sketches really compare in the kinds of laughter you get out of them, but still, ours felt good.

The Show

It was really cool to see a live taping of a television show and it was super cool that Ron James made a plea to get people to go check out live comedy.  I guess he feels like he owes it to his brethren.  He knows what it’s like to be working the circuit.  He’s made it, it’s easy for him now.  He has a team of writers, make-up, wardrobe, professional everything, GOVERNMENT FUNDING!

US?  We had fun.  We have the satisfaction of having put something together, worked our butts off at it, and performed.  No network censors.  No elaborate spending.  Just pure, raw comedy!!!  We’re just getting started.  We’re at the opposite end of the career-spectrum as RJ, and it’s an exciting place to be.

Advantage LaughDraft.