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.

 

Advertisements

2013 Humber Grads Stand-Up Showcase aka Payback Time!


Last night I was asked to attend and “evaluate” the second night of a stand-up comedy showcase exercise put on stand-up guru Larry Horowitz, for half the graduating class of the Humber College – Comedy: Writing & Performance program.  An exercise I recall a little more than I would like.  In fact, when I went back to my blog posts from last year to see what I had to say about my own performance in the showcase, this is all I was able to extract:

 If at first you don’t succeed…swear & curse a bunch, have a good cry, insult others who did better than you then immediately regret your bitterness, jealousy and resentment, wallow in self-pity, do harmful things to your body and mind… and try, try again.  – April 5th 2012

url

Suffice it to say, I wasn’t pleased with my performance. Nor was I please with the results I’d got back from the evaluators who, like I tonight, had watched the showcase. And therein lies the beauty of time and experience. Oh how the tables have turned! Get ready, class of 2013, to feel the wrath of …the evaluator; someone who is taking your art and judging it on a completely subjective basis.   And watch out! I’m gonna be REAL subjectiv-y!

In all honesty, there were a number of strong acts last night. A cut above the rest was Darren Springer, whose mix of the wonderful and the absurd is just such a delight.  The bit about his father’s tone as he’s been trapped in the trunk of a car in Columbia is the perfect contrast of the ordinary in extraordinary circumstances. A classic comedy convention, but so well-delivered with such ease and comfort; you get the sense Darren really loves being up on that stage.

Other great sets tonight included the closer for the evening, Ryan Dillon – who’s got storytelling embedded in his genes, I’m sure. (Ryan’s a Newfoundlander.)  Sitting on a stool, he took us on a sad, sad, hilarious, but very sad journey growing up without a father – with a little insight into the airline industry.  (Did you know that if your parent is an airline employee, and they die, you get a free trip to DisneyWorld?!) Sarah White knocked the crowd dead with her sexy Star Wars switcheroo.  Colin North also had me giggling about his dead dad.  Come to think of it, dead dads were a bit of a recurring theme tonight.   Dead dads, and being a socially-awkward, ill-at-ease, unable-to-maintain-relationships-with-the-opposite sex, relatively dysfunctional human being.

That and masturbating.  There was a lot of talk about jerkin’ it.  It was a Humber show, after all.

I was impressed by the variety of voice work – lots of fun accents by Samia Darkazalli, Liron Jacobs and Jay Freeborn, who went into an elaborate bit about Pokémon, which normally I would care less about but because of the energy of the delivery and the fun wordplay, it stood out to me.  I’m a sucker for wordplay.

Ben O’Neil and his musings on the Kraken fit perfectly into the realm of the ever-increasing market share of nerd humour/culture.  Love it or hate it, you can thank (or curse) BBT for that.

It’s no surprise that I wasn’t a fan of the comparing women to dogs elements of the show or the multiple bits about racism, even the ones that were meant to call racists out on their shit, it’s just… I didn’t see a fresh take on it, and until then, I’d rather stick to what the pros have already said on the subject, rather than the not-so-deep musings of early-twenty something suburbanites.

That being said, it’s no surprise the acts that stood out to me can frequently be found performing in dives around Toronto to work on and improve their craft.  There is such a striking difference in quality and in confidence between those who perform stand-up regularly, and those who maybe memorized their set a few hours before last night’s showcase.

So, for those of you who do work hard, and practise a lot, and still didn’t get the grade-result you were looking to achieve in this exercise, don’t worry.  Even if you don’t end up performing stand-up in the Industry Show, don’t worry.  I said Don’t Worry! If you work hard you can totally get in Fresh Meat, have a live and professional taping of your set available to pitch to festivals, get an agent, book a Fringe tour and get a full-time administrative position at the CBC.

Trust me.

More Firsts

Last night was the first time I performed on the actual Amateur Night at Yuk Yuk’s downtown Toronto.  I don’t know why it took me so long to get my ass up on that show, but nevertheless, it happened last night and it went… meh.  It was, alright.

It was a much less forgiving crowd than the Yuk’s experiences I’ve had so far with Humber nights.   Also, I had to take the bullet.  Which I hate, even when someone as awesome and hilarious as Mark Little is hosting the thing.

It was fun to see some fresh newbies who’d never ever done stand-up before as well as a variety of comics more, shall I say aged…, than those I’m used to seeing at the open mics around town.

IN SUMMATION, it was a mediocre first time.

Womp womp.

BUT, what better motivation to work harder and one day win over the Amateur Night crowd?!

Bring it, Yuk Yuk’s.

___

A seat belt on a bicycle.  What was I THINKING?

The Proof is in the Pudding…Mmm… pudding…

This past Tuesday, Humber’s Comedy program held its’ first Stand-Up Gala at Yuk Yuk’s – to be aired (perhaps) (eventually) on Sirius XM satellite radio.  We had a special guest host, Levi MacDougall, who you probably recognize from all those Rogers commercials, but who you should probably learn more about because he’s a lot more impressive than the dude in those commercials.  ANYWAY,  it felt good to perform that night, because I hadn’t had the strongest set in our showcase the week prior, (the one in which a bunch of Humber alumni and other industry people came to evaluate,) and yet I was still asked to participate.  And, I believe I had a better night on the Gala show than I did on the showcase, so Win 1 for Brie!

I’d like to say I’m over the relatively shitty feeling you get when a bunch of people you hardly know tells you what they didn’t like about your performance in the form of a numerical grade, but I’m pretty over it.

Some people had better Showcase nights.  Some people had better Gala nights.  There are good and bad nights & good and bad sets.  I am uplifted that my Gala night went better, because it encourages me to want to go out more, to write more and to keep at it.  Life doesn’t end at the showcase.

Obviously.

It ends at the Industry Show.

No.  Not really.

That being said, we are currently hard at work on our end-of-year Sketch show, which has been TREMENDOUS fun!  Our director, Gary Pearson, is so profesh, organized & on the ball.  I’d aim for an attitude like his if I was ever to be back working in a sketch troupe.  And I am SO stoked that two of my sketches, one black-out and an improv-come-sketch (with help from the very funny Brandon Trainor,) were selected to be part of our show.

There’s something about the collaborative nature of sketch comedy that makes upcoming performances more exciting than the nerve wracking excitation of stand-up.  It’s probably because you have others to play with and fall back on.  It’ll also be a moment to take in because it’ll be the last time us 02s work together as a collective.  Unless we’re all chosen for the Industry Show.  (Fingers crossed.)

Maybe it’s the cough syrup talking sentimental, but I’m sure gonna miss thing gang when clown college’s is all over. 😦

Employed with two major Chicago institutions: The Second City & Oprah

It’s been another one of those crazy-busy weeks where I haven’t had time to post too often, but last night – Friday – I was at Comedy Bar, where I’d been invited to read a monologue as “Thinking Woman” The Panel Show, a monthly show put on by (a bunch) of the guys from the awesome sketch troupe Shoeless.  (Seriously – any chance to see one of this troupe’s shows – leap!) – followed by a delicious tasty gelato with my best pal from the olden days Dina & her sister Jess.

Another big deal of the week was that I was hired to start working at The Second City as a host – which is a totally huge deal.  I know in the past I’ve been like – meehhh, I don’t know if I want a job in the evenings because it’ll interrupt with my abilities to go out and do comedy.  Yeah, ok BUT… working in a comedy club – not just any comedy club, the fucking Second City, seems like a pretty smart move, I’d say.  So many big comics got their start at the Second City.  And, I heard through the grapevine that if you work at SC, you can get discounts on improv classes, which is great, because I was planning on taking the A-E levels after completing my program at Humber.  Anyhoo – I start on Monday and am totally and completely stoked.

I also interviewed for and was asked to help out as an intern on a new show soon to be shot for the Oprah Winfrey Network.  I don’t know that I’m allowed to talk about what it is or whatever, but they were looking for interns and a pal and I from Humber went on down to the Corus Entertainment building down by the lake on Tuesday morning and got ourselves some good old-fashioned unpaid internships!

In addition to that, we met with and pitched sketches to our director, Gary Pearson, for our end of year Sketch show, taking place at the Comedy Bar mid-April.  I’m happy to say two of my sketches were selected to be put into the show – so hooray for that.  Consequently, Gary is the first person to make a comment about the high-concentration of sex-themed pieces the people in my class write.  No big surprise there.  But he’s the only person in this two year program to say: “Uh, enough.  Talk about something else!!”   There go my next three sketch pitches.

Tuesday was Round One of 2nd years’ Stand-Up Showcase at Yuk Yuk’s and HOLY COW was it a great show!  Solid 4-minute sets put on by half the people in my year, in front of alumni, other comics and a few big wigs.  It was great to see some people who don’t go out too often – sometimes they really surprise you.  You think, jeez!  Where have you been all this time?  Why haven’t you been doing this more?  My hope is that Round Two goes just as well, if not BETTER… because that’s the show I’ll be on, and it’s happening on my Birthday, so if it doesn’t go well, somebody’s going to be drinking away her sorrows instead of celebrating that night.

Why you scared?

Also – and nothing really do to with comedy school, Wednesday was “jab Brie in the arm day” at the doctor’s office.  Apparently my veins are difficult to find when I’m dehydrated due to mandatory fasting.  This was the result.  Bask in my pain.

Back to Comedy -> Saturday was the culmination of a project some of my school colleagues have been working on for the past little while.  They were to transform their 10-minute plays into radio plays with help from a pro from the CBC.  After much learning, editing, re-writing and other stuff, they finally recorded the pieces yesterday at Humber’s sound booth.  I still got to play one of the dogs in Ashley’s Dog Wedding: Rated Radio so what better way to spend a Saturday than trapped in a soundproof extremely warm booth?  No, but seriously, it was a lot of fun, even though my 10-minute play didn’t get picked to go on the radio.  Totally not bitter about that.  It’s really not a big deal.  Nope.  Not even a little bit. It’s cool.  I’m cool.  Everything’s good.

So as not to end on a (totally not) bitter note, last night I had somewhat of a high school reunion.  It’s fun to just hang out with people you’ve known from a simpler time – good ol’ Welland high school/cadet friend days.  Except…instead of MT Bellies, now we meet at Okrutny’s upscale downtown condo on Queens Quay and eat baked Brie.  Consequently, that is also my DJ name.

Cheers all!  Bring on next week!

 

 

Post-Yuk’s Grumpiness

I just had two of the best/most fun comedy nights of my career thus far (Gilda’s Club Fundraiser, and hosting my Comedy Girl class recital,)  but tonight, I ate shit at Yuk Yuk’s and that’s ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT!

Why is Larry at Yuk Yuk’s ONLY on the nights when I do terribly?  I did well last week = no Larry.   Why can’t I just prove to that guy I’m capable of doing a good set?!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH fiddlesticks.  I’m going to bed.  Nights like this, I wish I’d have been knocked up in high school.

Another Yuk’s Night -> Reading Week Edition

It’s February and it’s reading week.  Over the past two days, my apartment has become a completely different entity; no longer the disastrous shit-pit it was only a week ago.  There’s now a functional bed (ie. one that won’t collapse just resting my school bag on it,) the futon has returned to an upright couch-like position and I feel like I have room to breathe again.

So naturally, I’m writing this blog post at Starbucks.

I felt it might be a good idea to ride the wave of positive feedback after a pretty good set at Yuk Yuk’s to more creative things.  Normally, I just let that happy feeling drain away as I embark on the one hour journey back home on the 501 streetcar.   And, although this location will be closed in 20 minutes, I intend to find somewhere else nearby to help me work out a few more pieces including a radio play I need to edit, which we will be performing at Comedy Bar on Monday March 5th (Mark your calendars.)

Many of us second years are currently working hard trying to shape our showcase sets for our end-of-year stand-up performances taking place the last Tuesday of March & the first Tuesday of April.   These are the shows Mark Breslin, industry professionals and Humber alum will be present to evaluate our performances.  Basically everything we’ve managed to pull together over the past two years of stand-up comedy classes,  on display for everyone to judge.

  • My slot’s on Tuesday, April 3rd.  If you don’t know why that date has any significance, you should probably go check my Facebook profile.

Nah, I’ll save you the trip.  That’s my birthday.  (Mark your calendars.)

It seemed like it would be a pretty stressful night to begin with before I knew it was going to be on my birthday.  Most people probably think, “Meh, it’s a day like any other.  What’s the big deal?”  But I don’t know.  I just feel like a lot’s riding on this because if I bomb, not only will I have made a fool of myself in front of my peers and potential future employers, but I’ll have done so on my BIRTHDAY!  The day of my birth!

That being said, if my showcase gets the response my set received tonight, I think I’ll be OK.  One thing’s for certain one way or the other -> The booze’ll be flowing big time the night of April 3rd.

STAY TUNED as my next post will hopefully have something to do with BRIE’S FIRST ADVENTURE IN TELEVISION.

It’s OK to be curious.