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!

Chicken Pod! (The Constant Struggle’s Newest Ep!)

Episode 6 of my brother and my podcast, The Constant Struggle, is up & we’d love it if you’d giver a listen.

This time around, Nick’s got a new writing deadline he wants to get to before he takes off to Scotland with his family. Will the trip inspire him to write something while he’s over there? We’ll see!

Will Brie survive her month of insane-work hours and continue to work on her comedy all throughout, or will she have a complete mental breakdown along the way?

Find out, by downloading the episode on iTunes or checking it out right here:

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/audio/postId/5711034?url=http%3A%2F%2FTheConstantStruggle.podbean.com%2Fe%2Fe06-chicken-pod%2F

Oh, and if you want to sign that petition to help get Kevin Smith Canadian citizenship, click here:

https://www.change.org/p/government-of-canada-grant-kevin-smith-a-canadian-citizenship?recruiter=309221733&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_twitter_responsive

Struggle On, friends!

Brieviews: Fringe Edition Part 2

I was finally able to check out a few more Fringe shows after a lovely improv class down at the Second City Training Centre.¬† I made my way over UofT’s campus for a switch from solo performances to an evening of ensemble casts.

Fringe Show # 3 ->  I will never listen to Annie Lennox the same way ever again.

A friend of mine highly recommended Tony Ho’s Sad People – and I was happy to find out it fit into my schedule last night because I never got around to seeing these guys during the last year’s TOsketchfest.¬† Finally, my time had come to be weirded out by their talent.¬†¬† I chugged a beer at a nearby O’Grady’s Pub and proceeded to climb the many stairs up to the Robert Gill theatre for, I’m not afraid to say it, one of the weirdest and most wonderful performances I’ve ever seen.¬† They’re really nothing like other sketch comedy troupes in the city.¬† Though bizarre and hilarious, there’s a powerful humanity behind a lot of their sketches and monologues – as depressing as that may sound, particularly in the case of the guy who wanted to put his 51 year-old mother in a home.¬† I was impressed at the strong, very real emotions the characters could portray, for a comedy show, especially in the nurse/patient scene – even though one of the characters’ face was covered with gauze throughout the entire sketch.¬† (I’m thinking just the shy side-to-side movement on his wheelchair spoke volumes!)¬† My favourite sketch of the show had to be the time traveling one.

So many good ideas!¬† Such great performances.¬† And cool guest performances.¬† If you’re into sketch comedy, you should check out Tony Ho for sure.¬† Here’s what they’ve got left, Fringe-wise:

  • July 13 11:30 PM
  • July 14 01:45 PM

Two days left!¬† Check ’em out!

Fringe Show #4 ->  Not the War of 1812 I learned about in high school!

I ran over from UofT to Spadina (not a very far run) to catch the National Theatre of the World’s performance of “The Soaps” A Live Improvised Soap Opera.¬† Another one of their formats I’d never seen before, but equally as hilariously entertaining as the Carnegie Hall Show and the Script Tease Project.¬† This edition of the Soaps had a background of the War of 1812, which had a certain fun significance for me because I used to give tours in a Niagara-on-the-Lake historic home that was used as a field hospital during the War of 1812.¬† If you live in Southern Ontario, particularly near or on the Niagara River, you’re gonna year a lot of stuff about 1812, at school and otherwise.¬† This year happens to be the bicentennial of the war.¬† (I really think they should take this production down to the Niagara Region – there’s huge 1812 hooplah going on down there this summer – I bet tourists would go CRAZY over it!)¬† But I digress.¬† The cast, composed of some heavy-hitting Second City alum, played British, American and First Nations characters as their stories entwined over issues of romance, betrayal, drama… and corn!¬† Every night is a new story with the Soaps, so I URGE you to see this one because if you like good improv, and I mean really great, nothing beats it kindof improv,¬† you will lose your SHIT over this one.¬† Only three days remaining at St. Vlad’s!

  • July 12 09:15 PM
  • July 13 12:30 PM
  • July 15 02:45 PM

(I can say lose your shit in a review right?¬† Whatever.¬† It’s my blog.¬† I’ll write what I want.)

Finally… A Different Kind of Review –

I’d like to post a review of the car break-in I experienced last night.¬† Nothing on the car was broken or destroyed, which is a plus.¬† Well done, jerkoffs.¬† (Which leads me to believe I may have left my doors unlocked, but that’s not likely.¬† It’s like, automatic behaviour for me to lock my car after paying for parking.)¬† I DID, however, leave the windows open SLIGHTLY so the car wouldn’t be stifling when I got back from my Fringe-hopping.¬† That must have been it.¬† When I got back to my car, all my CDs had been taken, as had my change in the ashtray.¬† I worry some of the former car-owner’s old mail was taken, but go figure, they didn’t take the shitty $15 fan I bought at Canadian Tire as a substitute for my broken car air conditioner.¬† Luckily, I’d just emptied my car earlier that day of some a pretty nice North Face jacket, and some other clothes.¬† Also, it was fortunate these creeps didn’t know how to open my trunk, because they might have liked some of the stuff they found back there.¬† (Like that dead body!!! Moohooohahahahahahahaha)¬† All in all, I give this crime a rating of: “Fuck you, you delinquent fucks.”

Funny, I never had my car broken into when I lived in Ottawa!¬† (Then again, I didn’t own a car in Ottawa.)