Laughing at the Shamrock

This past Thursday night I stepped out of my normal routine a little bit to do a show organized by a Calgary comedian I’d never worked with before, Stu Hughes, the main force behind the Calgary FunnyFest, from May 1-11. The show on Thursday Jan 10th, at the Shamrock hotel in Calgary, was essentially a late Christmas party, and appreciation night for the volunteers of FunnyFest. Along with myself and Stu, Derek Sweet, Daniel Tsedey, Kelly D’Amour, Kevin Gillis, Paul Kuster, and Jenny Wynter all came down for sets, and the whole show was MC’d admirably by Amy Trofimuk, wounded wing and all. Amy is always wonderful to work with, and she’s such a cute little thing … just like a porcelain doll, and apparently just as fragile.

I must say that I had a great time at the show. I was a bit nervous about the venue … I’ve been to the Shamrock for music and jam sessions before, and I enjoy the place, but I’d never seen comedy done there, so I wasn’t really sure how it would go. Overall, the crowd was small, but reasonably good, and I must say that the serving staff was great. It was a real shame that my schedule was so tight and I had to drive back to Medicine Hat after the show … I’m hoping that the next time I do one of these shows, I’ll have more time to hang out afterwards. Nothing worse, really, than a 3 hour drive back home after a show, especially when its a show where you are meeting a lot of new people. Next time, I’ll hopefully be able to schedule a bit better.

It ended up being a great night. Derek Sweet had a great performance, one of the best I’ve seen from him, and I wanted to tip my hat again to both Paul Kuster and Jenny Wynter as well for really great sets. Hounourable mention goes out to Daniel Tsedey … I’ve seen him before, and his set on Thursday was a remarkable improvement from past sets. The whole show went very well, I think, and I really enjoyed the different styles of comedy for the night.

It was really a bit more of a party atmosphere than a show, and that added to the mood for the evening. Before the show, the performers and volunteers were treated to a bit of a party in room 419 of the Annex of the Shamrock, across the street from the main building. As Kerry Raz pointed out in her blog on the show (Kerry was there as a volunteer in appreciation for her efforts on Stu’s New Year’s Eve party), room 419 is obviously the party room for the hotel … 3 single beds and a double, with a fridge and a kitchenette. I suggested that we just push all the beds together and have a big party for 25, but I’m pretty sure I’d have wanted to lay down double sheets of plastic first. Stu provided free beer and champagne for everyone who wanted some, and let everyone know the philosophy behind FunnyFest.

I had to giggle a bit to myself on the way into the room, as well. Its odd the way coincidences crop up in life, and as soon as we walked into “room 419” I had one of those moments. Any colleagues from my Lagos days who might be reading this, or anyone familiar with Nigeria, probably already knows what I am giggling about but for those who’ve never spent any time in Nigeria, 419 is the section of the Nigerian criminal code that deals with fraud, and the term “419” was used very frequently while I was in Lagos to refer to any “scam.” It was so common, it was both a noun and a verb … you had to watch out for 419’s, because no one wanted to be 419’d. It was a but surreal, to say the least … I don’t think its an omen in any way, but it certainly made me giggle a bit.

It was a fun night overall, and I’m glad I made the effort to get to Calgary. It wasn’t the most convenient night for me to get to town, but in the end, I think it was well worth the effort, and I want to thank Stu for organizing the show. Not only did I have a very fun night, and get a chance to share a stage with some very funny people, but through talking with Amy before the show, I also lined up another show in my hometown of Stavely, Alberta for the end of the month, with Amy and Paul Kuster. I haven’t really been back to Stavely since I was about 9, but it really is the place that comes to mind when I think of “home.” And given that I left town at age 9, I’ve never actually set foot in the hotel bar there, so I’m really looking forward to the show. Thanks to Amy for inviting me in, and for anyone who might be in the Stavely area on the 26th of January, come on down to the hotel for the show at 7:00 PM.


One Response

  1. good article / blog. You might be aware that FunnyFest creates its own ambience through leadership and vision — our presence is felt in any venue or situation. We continue to be a tour de force and emphasize raw comedy experiences on many occasions are part of our artistic interpretation in production.

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