Woman Seeking Multiverse

First stand-up set in a while tonight at Yuk Yuk’s. I’ll say I need practice. I will say that. I will also say that people were NOT on board with my joke about how hard it must have been for conservative dudes to admit they felt a budge upon first glance of Caitlyn Jenner.  Perhaps it was the delivery. Perhaps it was a room full of conservatives. Either way, I thought it was hilarious.

It’s insane how quickly 5 minutes goes by. When I was writing out my set, I prepared so much more than what I actually had time to perform. I need to practice more.  I need more hours in a day because I love improv too much to give it the back seat.I need Hermione’s Time-Turner so I can do equal parts of both.Time Turner… too geek?Nah. No way.

 

Intergalactic Women’s Day

I had a marvellous time last night at Holodeck Follies, the monthly Star Trek-inspired improv and variety show put on by The Dandies. Dale creates this wonderful sense of community in the show, which brings together two of my favourite subcultures; the improv world and the world of Trek. This month, he kicked it up another notch by putting the emphasis on the women of Trek by inviting many talented women improvisers, and other female comics to perform on the show in honour of International Women’s Day.

In a community where we see things like ‘the token woman in an otherwise all-male sketch troupe’ or the ‘obligatory one woman on a stand-up show line-up,’ it’s wonderful to attend a show that not only features women, but celebrates them. Not that this is surprising for the Dandies, or people who follow and respect the philosophy of Star Trek in general, TBH. But The Dandies continually stack their shows with a diverse array of players; and not to fulfil any sort of tokenism, but rather because they know a tonne of fantastically talented and diverse performers.hf-mar15-jamillah-brie

A personal thrill for me was attempting to stick to my Captain Janeway character; stern and serious, while playing against a sassy and outspoken Lt. Uhura, played by Jamillah Ross, with whom I’ve never got to play, (unless you count on Twitter.) The low-energy, severity of her character is sortof the opposite of the loud-mouthed dweeb I typically portray!

Every woman brought something great to the set, and what a fantastic group of women they were: Tracy Rowland, Deanna Palazzo, Taz Collins, Dana Jean Phoenix & Marcia De. Along with the weekly cast of the USS Albatross and a roomful of trekkies, it was spectacular, supportive show, which I recommend to all; Trekkies and normals alike.

I leave you with the Holodeck Follies traditional exit greeting: Laugh Long and Prosper!

Windy Inspiration (This is not a post about farts)

It’s still cold, it’s still shitty out, but guess what? I went to Chicago.

That’s right, the Second City itself. I’m a little late to the draw at writing about this, but that’s because I had to spend a bunch of time putting together this cool collage:

Chicacollage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mmm. Collagy-goodness.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you all about the trip in super-extensive detail or anything, as this isn’t a travel blog, let’s be CLEAR about that! But what I will do, is tell you that if you think there’s somewhere in the world that will inspire you, you should visit it, even in the dead middle of February where it’s equally, if not more cold, than your own crap-cold igloo of a town, because it probably will.

Inspire you, that is.

My buddy Sharilyn had mentioned she would be heading to Chicago in February to take a Second City intensive & I happened to be “dark” the week she was planning to go. (That’s TV talk for “the stars of my show had to go to a tropical place and work on their tans,” so we had to stop shooting for a week.)

Nevertheless, bit by bit, the plan came together and sure enough, we ended up in the Windy City, catching a different comedy show every single night we were there. (And bits and pieces of the SNL40 Special, which in hindsight, we should have just watched in its entirety.)

When I was asked at customs what I was doing in Chicago, and I answered “watching a whole wack-load of comedy,” it was a completely plausible answer. I feel like there aren’t many places in the world where you can tell a customs officer that, and not be thrown into some strange questioning cell.

Despite a bout of food-poisoning, the trip was a dream. An frozen, shivering, ice-cube of a dream, but a dream nonetheless. I imagine myself one day, holding a magical green card, actively avoiding some of the dodgier modes of transportation in the city when it gets dark, and performing every night on the various stages that launched the careers of so many of my heroes.

I wasn’t sad when I came back to Toronto. Because it just so happens that a bunch of my heroes started out right here too.

So now it’s back to work, a little more inspired.

Guess Who’s Gonna Be Eating Bacon?

This message was posted on the Guess Who’s Coming to Improv? Facebook page today.  It is heartwarming and amazing:

Screenshot 2015-01-04 02.02.09

This message is a greater gift than any host could hope for.  And yet, tonight, Rachel came back to the show and gifted me with two hilarious scenes as well as the following:

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I didn’t really know what to expect when I started hosting #GWCI. I wanted to play more, I wanted others to have the opportunity to play more, and I wanted people from all levels of the learning spectrum to mingle and create magic together.

I certainly never in the process ever expected BACON!

These are life’s wonderful little gifts.

Thank you Rachel!

Bad Stand-Up Set? Try Improv.

The best way to get over a crappy stand-up set, I discovered last night, was to hit up an improv room.  Specifically, Natasha Boomer’s “Wheel of Improv.”  After a fair amount of ridiculousness, a little practice of my own, watching some newbies go up for the first time, watching some more experienced enjoy the challenge of working with the seasoned pros (in this case, special guests were Ken Hall & Rob Norman as well as a surprise drop-in from Becky Johnson & Kayla Lorette,) and finally chats and cupcakes at the end of the night, I felt a whole lot better about myself.

The stand-up bit needs more work, but at least I don’t feel as bitter about it after having been in the extremely supportive care of the Toronto improv community.

 

 

Finally, screenwriting

I have finally begun writing a fucking script!  I’ve been telling myself since graduation from Humber “Brie, write a spec script, Brie, write a spec script.  Do it do it do it now!”  But I didn’t.  I don’t know why?  Procrastination?  I guess it’s because I can always go out somewhere and perform.  It’s easy to put off writing by justifying the fact that you need to go out and do and see shows; to stay connected and to make sure people out in the community remember your face and that you do in fact, live and breathe.  However, equally, it’s important to have a base of written work in case someone asks you to write for their TV shows one of these days.  (Or so I dream.)

I decided not to write a spec script.  Rather, I’ve had an idea mulling around the ol’ brain box for a number of years now, and I’m finally putting the ideas down in writing and creating my first script for a sitcom pilot. Of course we did work on similar tasks while at Humber.  We collaboratively wrote a workplace pilot, which was altogether a very interesting learning process.  But it was the entire class working on it, so my contribution was pretty limited.  Nothing you could show to an agent or whatever.  We also wrote pitch packages in our writing class, which was also an interesting exercise, and I was told to get writing an episode, but I never quite found the desire for it.  It was a fun project to work on, but I didn’t see the show ever realistically being picked up.  It was about army cadets, and I don’t think there’s a huge interest in youth paramilitary activities.  At least, not since 1945 anyway.

In addition to the writing of words, I also caught a few live shows this week.  On Monday, I attended the Humber College New Faces ’14 show.  (I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since my face was new!)  It was a classy show and featured a guest performance by none other than veteran comic Dave Thomas.  Last year, I left the Industry Show with a sense of joy, maybe because I knew some of the performers still, and I was still riding high from my own experience from the year before, but this year the connection was a bit different.  I now look at the shows more critically, thinking: “if I were ever to direct a show of this magnitude, I would do this differently, or I wouldn’t do this at all, or I would definitely consider this… etc.”  Maybe having taken the Conservatory program at The Second City has given me more experience and a different approach to putting on a massive revue, but whatever the case,  I felt differently about this show than I had in the year prior.

Then I thought about the aftershmooze.  There were some people I would really have liked to chat with, but the room was clearing out and it seemed like everyone wanted to go home because it was friggin sweaty in there.  Also, I felt like what’s the point of talking to someone if they’re really there to see and mingle with the people who just performed a huge show that took months of preparation and 2 years of training?  It wasn’t my night to shmooze.  Or was it?  Who knows?  Are there appropriate conventions to shmoozing? It was a great night to catch up with my ol’ teachers.  Ever since high school I’ve found it slightly easier to connect with the teachers than to most of my classmates.  I know.  What a nerd, right?

Anyway, it was a great show, and it’s always a cool production to see such young, hopeful talent rockin’ their jokes & performing their little hearts out on the Main Stage.  It’s also a great way to get motivated to get my own butt back in gear!

That being said, I also attended a show put on by a great Toronto improv troupe; Fake Cops.  Every month they put on a free show at The Ossington. This week, they had some pretty awesome acts.  It seems like a great show to be able to explore; to make crazy choices and see where that takes you.  To do a set where you end up covered in cereal, or to perform with a mic stand wearing a wig.  Either way, the result was laughter!  There was some weirdness and some messiness, but it was all good, it was all interesting, and the night had a really good vibe going on.  I highly recommend checking this one out (and I’d love to get on it one of these days, if any Fake Cop ever reads this blog.)  Passive-manipulative social media marketing.  That’s my bag!

Aaaaaanyway,  I suppose I still have a job to go to tomorrow.  I best be off to bed.   Bonne nuit WordPress!

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: