The big show

It’s going to be an interesting week.  Last night, I spent my evening at Dickens Pub, doing a set for Comedy Monday Night.  As usual, a good time was had by all, and it was great to see some of my friends like Derek Sweet, Dustin Hertel, Marc Hallworth, Karen O’Keefe, Dan Guiry, and Amanda Perrin.  Last night was also a prep night for a few of us … Dan, Derek, and I, along with another local comic, Lori Gibbs, are all on our way to Toronto this week for the Great Canadian Laugh Off, the national comedy contest sponsored by Yuk Yuk’s.  Dan and Lori do their preliminary round sets on Wednesday night this week.  Derek is on Thursday, and I do mine at the early show on Friday.  I am also doing a warmup set at McVeigh’s Pub in downtown Toronto on Thursday, April 10th … I’d rather see you come out to the Friday set (or both) but if you are busy Friday, come down and check out my preview of the Friday show at McVeigh’s on Thursday.

My flight leaves later today (Tuesday April, 7th), and I’m really looking forward to the trip.  Aside from the contest (really, can YOU think of a better time than hanging out with 63 of the funniest up and coming comics in Canada?) there are a few personal reasons for me to go to Toronto.  I spent a few years there as a kid, as I’ve mentioned on here before, attending Upper Canada College, a private boarding school in the middle of the city.  It’s been a few years since I’ve been back to the city, and I am looking forward to wandering the streets with my camera.

I’m not really expecting to win.  I certainly don’t think it’s impossible … in fact, I’m certain that on any given night, anyone in the contest can kill, or die … but I am also not deluding myself that it will be an easy contest.  Even just the 3 others coming from Calgary make for seriously tough competition.  Lori won the local rounds of the Laugh Off, earning her the “default slot” in the contest from Calgary, and her Granny Panty Blues is a well written, seriously funny little tune that will serve her well in Toronto.  Dan came a VERY close second to Lorin in the local rounds, finishing so close to Lori in the scoring that they ended up having to do an extra 5 minutes each to break the tie.  His confident style and smooth stage presence will make Dan very tough competition out east.  Derek and I are both more “wild card entries” from the province, but that doesn’t diminish Derek’s chances down there.  In the six months or so I’ve been watching him work, he’s almost never given a bad show, so I am expecting him to score highly in Toronto as well.  And I have no doubt the other 60 comics will be of the same high caliber as my colleagues from Calgary.

All that said, I feel very comfortable with my own material at the moment, and with the material I’ve chosen for this set.  It all comes down to doing the best show I possibly can for Friday night, but thats really no different than any other set I do.  My job when I go on stage is to do the best job I can, and I really can’t do any more than that, whether its a contest in Toronto worth $25000, or a set in a hotel bar in small town Alberta worth gas money and beer.  It will probably be my biggest crowd ever (though the Foley Loaded show last year, and the Pauly Shore shows earlier this year, were fairly big as well) and it will certainly be the first time I’ve performed in front of TV cameras.  Of course, there is the big cash payout at stake as well.  But at the end of the day, when I step onto the stage on Friday night, it really is no different than any other show.  If I can go up there and give the best show I possibly can, then thats ALL I can even hope to do.

Even in a contest environment, there is a larger common purpose amongst the comics.  We are all there to compete against each other for the $25000 … no question about that.  But the main point of this show, and any show really, is to entertain the audience, to go on stage and do your best material as well as you can.  The better the comics ahead of me do, the easier it is to keep the momentum going, and the better the comics that follow me do, the better the whole night looks, my set included.  So I really do hope the other comics heading out to Toronto this week can do great shows as well, especially my friends from Calgary heading down there with me.  In the end, as much as we will all want to win the big prize, it IS all about the show.  Good luck to everyone heading out to Toronto this week (the first night actually happened last night, though I haven’t heard any details on how it went).  In the immortal words of Deep Purple …

No matter what we get out of this
I know we’ll never forget

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