Another year of Comedy Monday Night

TonyBinns02 StephFoleyAndDarylMakk MikeTod02 KarenOKeefe01

January 8th, 2008 marked the first edition of Comedy Monday Night for the year, and as usual, it was loads of fun. There was a huge line up of comics for the show, perhaps the longest line up I’ve seen at Dickens. By the end of the night, we’d seen no fewer than 17 comics on stage, ranging in experience from first-timers to the Dickens stage, right up to seasoned pros. In addition to seeing some old friends for the first time this year, I also had a chance to catch a few shows I’d never seen before, and I’m glad I did.

Check out Kerry Raz’s MySpace review for the definitive objective review of the whole show. As one of the performers on the stage, I’m always a bit cautious about reviewing the shows, and Kerry does an amazing job of it. In fact, Kerry received a rare honour on-stage Monday night, as thanks for her service to the room. One of the “extra cool” things about CMN from a comic’s point of view is the “swag” that James has from the show. T-Shirts, Hoodies, coffee cups and pins, James has CMN merchandise that makes many big festivals look cheap by comparison. But one item stands above the rest, in the eyes of comics … the little blue book. Its an item reserved for comics, unavailable to the general public … typically, the ONLY way to get your hands on one of the coveted CMN books is to do at least 5 minutes on the Dickens stage, 5 minutes that shows promise, and a commitment to the craft. Every once in a very long while, however, James will break the rules and give out a book to someone who has never been on stage, and Monday was one of those nights. Even though Kerry has never done a set on the Dickens stage, her tireless efforts to get out to every show and her insightful commentary on the shows have been a HUGE help to the comics that make their way to that stage. It was nice to see Kerry get recognized for the efforts she makes on our behalf, so for me and the rest of the comics, thanks again to Kerry for all her work, and thanks to James for recognizing her efforts for us. In Kerry’s specific case, it doesn’t matter if she’s been on the stage or not … if the purpose of the book is to reward service to the Calgary comedy community, and to show commitment to that community, there is very little question that she is as deserving of the “book” as anyone who has ever gone on stage. Congrats Kerry, and thanks again for all the great work you do.

From my own perspective, it was great to get a chance to see some acts that I’d never seen live before. Tony Binns has been a friend of mine on Facebook and MySpace for ages now, but somehow, we’d never managed to meet in person. Monday night changed all that. I’ve got to stand up and applaud any person who can pull off a Mobius strip joke, especially in a room like Dickens … so take a bow Tony. It was also nice to finally catch a live show from Derick Lengwenus … I’ve seen various “canned” performances by Derick, but this was my first chance to meet him and catch him live. I must admit I also caught Derick’s show from the Comedy Cave on Tuesday night, so I might be mixing the two shows together, but his material about his German father is pure gold, and his “Jack and Jill” bit is also VERY well done. You can check out some of his stuff on YouTube, and he has a couple of shows coming up in Calgary at the end of January (Jack Singer concert hall if I remember the details correctly). He is definitely worth checking out if you are looking for something funny to brighten up your January.

It was also great to see old friends again as well. Steph Foley, Karen O’Keefe McOuat (you can also find her here), Daryl Makk (or here) and others came down to shake out the flaws from the material they wrote over Christmas (btw, Daryl, love your bit on Gramma’s Christmas presents to the Grandkids), and it was great to catch up again. It was especially nice to see Karen again … she’s been absent from Dickens of late, rocketing skyward in her career with shows out east with Jason Blanchard, among others, so it was nice to see her back again. As well, friends and Dickens regulars like Dan Guiry, Katryna Chan, Dustin Hertel, and Julia Stretch came down to knock the Christmas snow off their sets. Overall, it was a helluva way to kick off Comedy Monday Night for 2008 … and I just want to say thanks again to James Moore for ALL the work he puts in to make sure there’s a stage there for us to perform on. The comics just have to go up and do shows … its really James that makes the whole thing possible, and everyone in the Calgary comedy community, and the community at large, is grateful for the tirelesswork he puts in to making the show work. Thanks James, for everyone.

Its a busy week for me … I came back to Medicine Hat on Wednesday for some appointments, but I am back in Calgary Thursday night for a show at the Shamrock Hotel. Tickets are free, and along with myself and organizer Stu Hughes, rumour has it that Amy Trofimuk will be down to MC the show, and there may even be another high profile comic or two down to close the night out. Should be a lot of fun, so if you are looking for something to do in Calgary tonight, come on down and check out the show.

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