Days Go By and Still I Think of…

…all the great stuff I learned last week!

All right, maybe I’m doing it wrong. Maybe I’m a total dork, but I am sortof obsessed about learning about comedy. I probably don’t watch enough stand-up comedy specials on Netflix, I do read about it often enough, (currently on Bruce McCulloch’s “Let’s Start a Riot,”) and I suppose one of the big fears I deal with regularly is how much I should be “learning” vs. how much I should be “doing.”

One of the major problems I face with my own comedy is time. I have a Mon-Fri 9-5 job, which is great for paying back debt, but not so great for staying up late and going to multiple shows and partying until all hours of the night at the local open-mic/watering hole. (I do this extremely rarely.) I’ve tried to strike a balance by producing many of my own shows, thus giving myself ample play time, but also seeing many of the acts around town who inspire me and more importantly, who make me laugh.

Another thing I’ve just taken on, is the co-creation of the “Women in Comedy Toronto” group. It seems, so far, that people are really excited about it, and based on the first couple events we’ve had, it’s really evident that this is the kind of community group from which women in the Toronto comedy scene can really benefit. For example, last week Christina Walkinshaw came by to talk to us about her career in comedy thus far, her writing process, tales from the biz, and many other fascinating tidbits, and I tell you, it was inspiring!  I think anyone who was in attendance will tell you the same.

Also, on Wednesday, I attended the I ❤ Sketchfest event at the Steamwhistle Brewery, where they screened the premiere of Bruce McCulloch’s “Young Drunk Punk,” which was excellent, and I’m sorry I didn’t give it it’s own page, like I did with “Sunnyside“, I just ran out of time.

Which is my point. By this point, it’s Wednesday; I’ve helped a friend film her one woman-show, produced a 2+ hour talkback with one of Canada’s most amazingly hilarious female comics, supported my favourite Toronto comedy festival… and I haven’t had time yet to do any of my own writing or work.

Problem solved: Thursday, I booked, produced, and performed in a show put on by my improv duo, Exit, Pursued by a Bear. Friday, I produced and performed in Improv Game Show (and I won! Thanks again Maddox! [as if he’s actually reading this!])

And alas, the weekend called for fun family celebrations in Niagara, which are lovely, but don’t really allow for much writing time. (Nor should they. Family time is important, dangit!)

So, I guess what I’m trying to say, is that it would be nice to have a little balance. Maybe last week was just crazy, or maybe I’m over-committing to stuff. Either way, I’d love to know what your solutions are to feeling like you can never get fully on top of the multiple things you’re trying to accomplish?

My brother recommended I read Chris Hardwick’s “The Nerdist Way,” and it already seems like a great process for helping people achieve their goals. But I’m already looking at it like “I don’t have TIME to create a fancy CHART with all my WANTS AND DESIRES on it, and make it pretty with pictures?!!?”

And again, so much is the nature of an anxious person.  Sometimes we have so much to do, and we can’t just… take… a … breath. It’s always go go go. Sometimes what we need is to slow down, and only in those times can we think clearly and make a plan towards actually accomplishing our goals. Like finishing this damn spec script I’ve been working on for MONTHS. (The outline is now finished. Thank you.)

Sometimes it’s about balancing a crazy week with a following week of cuddling up with your computer at home with a nice (several) cup(s) of coffee in a cozy hoodie.

That’s where I’m at this week.  Until I’m not.

 

Naomi Snieckus & Alastair Forbes To Perform at next GWCI?

I’m so stoked to announce that this Saturday’s show features none other than Second City Main Stage alumni: Naomi Snieckus and Alastair Forbes. And if YOU attend, YOU might get to play with them!

Get to know more about these two phenomenal improvisers/people and read on:

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Naomi Snieckus is an actor, writer, improviser, voice over artist, and director. She studied at University of Waterloo and then Ryerson Theatre School before moving to Vancouver for five years. An alumnus of the world renowned Second City in Toronto she wrote and performed in 5 shows and met her funny man Matt Baram. She is a founding member (along with Matt Baram) of five time Canadian Comedy Award winning The National Theatre of the World and performs and produces: Impromptu Splendor, The Carnegie Hall Show and The Script Tease Project. The National Theatre of The World is a company in residence at The Young Centre For The Performing Arts in Toronto. They have traveled internationally to Berlin, Israel, Amsterdam, England, New York, South Carolina, Chicago, Los Angeles as well as throughout Canada. Naomi won the Canadian Comedy Award for best female improviser in 2010, as well as best female in a TV Series (Mr.D) and was nominated for an Actra Award in 2013 for her work in Mr.D.

STAGELA_STAGEComedypx468Alastair Forbes is a Second City Mainstage Alumni, Dora Award nominee and two-time nominee for the Canadian Comedy Awards Best Male Improvisor. You may have seen him on your TV (Insecurity and The Ron James Show, CBC; The Bridge, CTV;Breakout Kings, A&E; That’s so Weird, YTV) on your big screen (My Ex Ex) on your stage near you (Theatre by the Bay, Thousand Islands Playhouse, Centaur) or have seen his voice on your radio (Go!, CBC Radio One). He has written for YTV’s That’s So Weird and is a story editor on a CTV development project Matt and Jeff. Oh, and yes, he’s probably that guy from that commercial you saw. You can catch him almost every week performing at the Comedy Bar or with his critically acclaimed improv troupe Bonspiel!

For more information, check out:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1510937449152943/?fref=ts

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:

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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:

It’s Latin so it’s Gotta Be Good

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Last night I had the pleasure of hosting a fantastic comedy variety show at Musideum; that word, that name… you know any venue with a Latin suffix is bound to be awesome!  This amazing little space on Richmond St. was filled with hundreds of musical instruments, a beautiful grand piano and, in this case, a bunch of hilarious performers and a super-supportive audience.

The weekly show is put on by The Sandbox,  comedy troupe formed in the Second City’s Conservatory program, who’ve stuck together to continue their comic journey.  Damnit, now I’m describing the Conservatory program as a journey.  What have I become?

Anyway, The Sandbox kicked off the show with some great fun and lively improv.  They were followed by a musical comedy troupe called The Sour Keys, who were super impressive.  They performed songs ranging from adorably punny to really disturbingly cute.  Next on the bill was 2 Humans, a great little sketch duo set to perform at this year’s Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival (so go check them out!)  Finally, closing the billed show was a solid and hilarious improv set put on by well-known troupe Sneak Attack.  The night wrapped with an improv lottery jam, in which yours truly was invited to participate; and I was a dinosaur and a horned-up old lady at the LCBO hitting on a 19-year wine salesman.  Playing within my range, y’know.

Oh, did I mention there was a gigantic, awful, miserable snow storm yesterday?  And yet,  the Musideum was packed to the brim for the show with a warm and very supportive audience of people who just seemed happy to be there and were rewarded and delighted by the night’s hilarious performers.

What a fun night of comedy!  Even better, there’s a new Comedy Night at Musideum every single Wednesday, so next time – you can be there to experience the fun for yourself!

 

3 Fun Friday

It’s been a nice, quiet Friday, brightened up by the fact that:

  1. I spent most of the day listening to Mark Andrada play show tunes on his Internet radio show and was consoled by the fact that there are many other musical theatre geeks in the comedy community.  (The show is for reals dope – don’t let the whole musical theatre thing dissuade you from checking it out: Way Too Early… with Mark Andrada) and;
  2. I found out I get to help out again with this year’s SketchFest!  (I think I mentioned that in my last post, but I don’t care – I started doing some actual stuff today for it and so shut up.  It counts.)
  3. We begin filming the next episode of CatChatz tomorrow!  Hooray for cats!  Meow! Meow!  (On a similar note, it looks like Peanut’s starting to feel better, so hopefully she’ll be in ship-shape for the shoot.)

OK, back to point #2 (hehehehe, #2…) anybody excited about SketchFest should attend this event right here:

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Drinks, fun and oysters – sounds like a party to me!

 

The Speed of January

Eee!  Last night I performed with my Con class in our first Con show to date!  I think it went well for the first time all of us performed together and I look forward to doing it more frequently.  But when? I’ve been so busy lately, except when I spoke to someone the other day, I was like… “oh you know how slow January can be?” What?  How can my brain think it’s simultaneously slow and incredibly busy?

I blame the weather.  It’s more difficult to operate at my pace when all day it feels like it’s 7pm, until 4:30pm, at which point it feels like it’s midnight.

But I digress.  So Con’s going well.  The Incubator’s going well. I’ve got an upcoming news-show I’m beginning to prepare for with some other exceptionally talented ladies.  Trying to do sets here and there. And I really want to get writing some spec scripts and other types of packets.

Also, I just found out I get to help out again at this year’s Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival!  CODPIECE wasn’t quite ready to apply for the festival, so I’m glad I can participate at least in some small part!  Keep an eye on my posts on the TO Sketchfest website and BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

 

PS.  The Second City Festivus party was awesome.  Working at the Second City and therefore having that venue in which to party is right up there with: Partying at the Governor General’s house and Partying on the battlefields of the Somme.  (Man, I’ve worked in some pretty cool places! #lucky)