Luba’s Accordion

It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve been back from the Ottawa/Montreal leg of our Comedy Before the Frost tour and I still haven’t had the time to post any of the photos or videos.  But I’m working on it.  I promise.

… I’ve been busy!

2012 Cream of Comedy

I had my first Level D class at the Second City Training Centre this past Monday (Rob Baker‘s my teacher – So excited! Uh… the comedian, not the dude from The Tragically Hip – although that would also be cool.) Afterwards, I huddled and dodged the hurricane over to the Main Stage to check out the last little bit of the 2012 Cream of Comedy show, where those 5 performers who were selected from Fresh Meat got to battle it out one last time in hopes of winning the Tim Sims Engouragement Fund  Finally, Christi Olson was declared victor and was awarded  $5k & a scholarship to the Training Centre.  Good on her.  She’s hilarious and totally deserves it.  Also, I hear she needs money to buy meds, so… good.  Comedy’s literally keeping this girl alive.

Kudos to the producer Deanna Palazzo for putting for the hard work she put into Fresh Meat and CoC this year.  They were both really fantastic performances, which ran smoothly, professionally and hilariously, just as planned.

I don’t know why, but because I didn’t know Tim Sims, I derived great pleasure out of recognizing him from the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercials where he played Rory Tate, the scientist tracking mysterious peanut butter and chocolaty crop circles.  I REMEMBER those! I guess it makes me feel better because I can acknowledge that though I never got to see Tim perform live, some element of his performance has been ingrained in my memory – so I feel better about being nominated to be in a competition for award in his name.  Does that make sense? I don’t care.  It does to me.

You remember this too, right?


Anyway, C0C was hosted by Kristeen von Hagen, who is hilarious.  And,  having heard she was in town, the wonderful Jess Beaulieu snagged her up to headline her and Laura Bailey‘s popular CHICKA-BOOM show, on which I got to perform with some other fun sketch and improv comedians and none other than Royal Canadian Air Farce veteran, Luba Goy.

The Canadian Ukrainian Princess

“What? Brie, that’s amazing!”

I know.  You don’t have to tell me that.  I feel it too.

She performed a great little bit of stand-up and included some of the fan favorites, including Kim Campbell & Donald Duck.  After the show, Luba kept us out too late for a Sunday, telling the hosts they need to hurry up, get married and have babies (not with each other…) before their parts dry up.  She then picked up what is probably the Free Times Café owner’s family heirloom, a sweet old accordion, without permission and went to town on it – telling us tales of her own one-of-a-kind childhood accordion, which her friend traded in sans permission.  Tragedy, right?

Who could say anything though? She’s Ukrainian Canada’s sweetheart!

Also, Luba tells me I’m no longer allowed to drink sweet white wine, so… I have to settle for Pinot Grigio these days.


Luba Goy – more terrifying than Halloween.

Sweet Meaty Relief

Fresh Meat is over friends. We can all breathe again! Inhale some of that delicious oxygen! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand breathe out. Nope, not working. Still on edge! Well, I guess it’s time to sign up for a new yoga class, Brie!

The Fresh Meat show was a huge success!  The theatre was full (not full-full – because I know what that looks and feels like – but, good full), the masses were laughing and the comics were knocking ’em dead.  All in all, what a wonderful show to have been a part of!

Props & hugs to the producer, Dee and to everyone else I saw running around working hard!  ( Photographer James & Emily backstage +DJ the host) for such a smooth running professional evening. Even content-wise, I was pleased to see a good number of smart, sophisticated humour –  (mixed in with a very healthy blend of the irreverent.)

It was also so great to see all the fun people I normally work alongside, smiling encouragingly as I told a very embarrassing story on stage and reaffirming me afterwards that I didn’t stink!

As silly as it sounds to say it though, I think my highlight of the night was the moment I walked out of the green room after my performance and thought: “PHEW!!  It’s DONE!  Now I can just sit back and actually ENJOY the show!”  I think DJ Demers, the host, summed it up pretty nicely when he commented on how a bunch of the comics were puking backstage because they were so nervous.  It was a nerve-wracking show.  And a healthy dose of competition is good, sure.  Fine.  But this isn’t athletics.  It’s not like we all go at once and then the fastest, or the furthest wins.  I do not envy the performers who had to sit through the entire show, seeing all the performers kill and think – “Oh jeez, I have to do better than him, and her, and them etc.”  Whereas I got to just rip mine off like a Band-Aid.

Most of the time, I like to go last or near-last at a stand-up show, but definitely not in competition, I learned.

It was great to see the members of the community, once again assembled to celebrate and encourage those starting out in the business.  It’s great to hear that that’s what Tim Sims was about – because it’s not an easy thing to get into and to continually rationalize and justify as your debts pile higher, but your gigs get better… slowly.  Slowly.  And you work well into the night – performing, writing, re-writing, rehearsing, hounding down colleagues to coordinate stuff, producing, etc.  It’s not easy.  But is it worth it?

Three minutes, we got on Monday.

Three minutes to myself on the Second City main stage.

You’re damn right it was worth it!

Nervous Meat

It’s been a crazy week. (+ a few days.)

I volunteered for the Canadian Comedy Awards again this year, which was great!  (With the exception of the biggest joke of the night: $13 + tip glass of wine.)  I worked in the box office throughout the end of last week to sell tickets for shows put on by nominees in the various categories.

(If you’re curious, you can see the results of the CCAs right HERE.)

Then, I worked backstage for the actual Awards ceremony, where I had the pleasure of un-blazer-ing Alan Thicke of TV fame, holding stuff for Gavin Crawford, also of TV fame – and basically running about rounding up presenters for the rest of the evening.

The after-party was a lot of fun as well – every year I know a few more people at the CCAs & feel more welcomed as part of the community.

Which leads me to Fresh Meat.  I am so nervous about Fresh Meat.  I’m freaking out over Fresh Meat.  People are telling me to relax and that I’ll do fine, but I am freaking out over Fresh Meat.

(If you’re like: “WTF is Fresh Meat?” Click HERE)

I’ve been working so much this summer in the evenings, and whenever I’m NOT working, I was trying to find jobs, or trying to network, or updating a resume, or writing, or doing ANYTHING to improve my financial situation (which was, until very recently, at risk of requiring me to move back to Welland…) that I haven’t been able to go out and perform as much as I would like.

In fact, tonight, at Comedy @51, I performed the set I wanted to do for next week’s Fresh Meat and it sortof flopped.  I’ve run over in my mind a bunch of reasons why it didn’t go well, and I’m glad I still have a few more nights this week to rehearse it, but only at the beginning of the week, because guess what – Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun evenings, I’ll be cleaning tables and pushing drinks at work (ie. NOT rehearsing.)


There is some hope though, at least financially.  Last Wednesday night, I was surfing craigslist looking for work (as one does when one becomes desperate) and I applied for a few.  Thursday morning, whilst at Canadian Tire getting an oil change, I got a phone call asking if I was free to come in for an interview for a job as an Office Manager in Richmond Hill.  I went to the interview and, despite my profuse nervous sweating, I got the job and started the next day, Friday.   It’s a 9-5 temp job (with the *fingers crossed* possibility of extension – depending on what the boss says when he gets back from vacation,) which would allow for free evenings to go out and practice the work I so desperately want to do.

Ugh.  I’m a great big ball of stress right now, folks.  But this is the life of an artist, so I’m told.

Fresh News

“The Tim Sims Encouragement Fund (est. 1995) and The Second City are pleased to present ‘Fresh Meat 2012’, a showcase of the hottest fresh new faces on Toronto’s comedy scene. On Monday, September 10th, 2012 at 8pm, Toronto’s best up and coming comedians will strut their stuff at this exciting annual comedy event.”

I woke up to the announcement of the line-up for this year’s Fresh Meat showcase, and was excited and pleased to see yours truly listed on a line-up of otherwise exceptionally talented funnyoids, which is what I call comedians.  Or at least, will begin to do henceforth.

They are:
Templeton Philharmonic
Steven Boleantu
Danish Anwar
Jess Beaulieu
Two Weird Ladies
Ben Beauchemin
Josh Infald
Pink Slip
Christi Olson
Jamie O’Connor
Lwam Ghebrehariat
Lance Byrd
Joshua Elijah
Vincenzo Giovannini
Robert Keller
Rulers of The Universe
Cash Grab
Troy Stark
Natalie Norman
Michael Jagdeo
Brie Watson


They idea here is that we’re competing to continue onto the next round of performances entitled: “Cream of Comedy” and the winner of CoC is awarded the prestigious Tim Sims Encouragement Fund – a scholarship to the Second City Training Centre – and a whole bunch of other awesome goodies too.

For more information about the Fresh Meat show ticket-purchasing process, go here – and for more details about the Tim Sims Encouragement Fund, click here.  Go forth and exchange knowledge of this event, because it’s gonna be a good one.