Some Serious Funny Business

2008Apr9-Toronto 236I arrived in Toronto late Tuesday night in preparation for my set Friday for the Great Canadian Laugh Off, and so far, its been a blast. Most of my day yesterday was spent wandering the streets of Toronto with my camera … it was raining in the morning, but cleared up into a nice day as the day went on. Wandering Yonge Street yesterday really brought back some old memories of wandering the same street as a teenager here in Toronto, attending Upper Canada College. Today I plan to head up to the old campus with my camera to get some pics … UCC is talking about discontinuing boarding in the near future, so I really want to get some pics of the boarding houses before they disappear.

I got back to my hotel room in late afternoon, in preparation for an SL set at Tony’s Jazz Lounge. It was the first time I’d ever performed there, and it went really well. By invitation of Salamander Maroon, Tony’s had a comedy contest to look for their “house comic” for April, and in what I hope is foreshadowing for the rest of my week, I ended up winning the contest. As a result, I’ll be adding another weekly show to my schedule for April, in addition to my regular set at Last Laugh on Saturday’s, and my regular spot in the lineup at Laugh Lines on Fridays (its worth noting that I won’t be at Laugh Lines’ Friday show this week, as I’ll be somewhat busy this Friday on a real stage here in Toronto, competing for $25000). I’m very glad to be adding Tony’s to my regular schedule.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay for the whole SL show, as I was heading down to Yuk Yuk’s to catch the show and scope out the format. I was also there to support my local Calgary friends Lori Gibbs and Dan Guiry doing their GCLO sets. It was a very fun night, and I must say the caliber of comedy was very high. Along with Lori and Dan and several other Canadians, there were comics representing New York, Los Angeles and the United Kingdom on the bill last night as well. All performers did a GREAT job, and it must have been very tough for the judges to make a final decision … in the end, local Toronto comic Steve Patterson was the man who walked away with the big prize last night, a trip to Sunday’s final round. That said, there were 5 or 6 other comics who easily could have walked away with it as well, depending on what the judges decided to focus on. I didn’t see the score cards, but I’d be surprised to hear that there was more than 10 points separating first and last … after watching the show, from my perspective, every set was a 90+ set, and the difference between first and last was very small. Just want to send a shout out to everyone who was on last night and say good show.

It was also very cool to hang out at the club last night, even outside the show. One of the cool things was seeing the number of other comics who came out to support and watch. Big names like Bill MacIntosh, a GCLO finalist from a few years ago, were in attendance (Bill was actually at Lori’s first ever show), and Kenny Robinson (a HUGE name) also came down to check out some of the show. After the show was over, a bunch of comics and Yuk’s staff went out to Spirits on Church Street for some after show entertainment. Aside from the beer, I have to say its pretty cool to walk into a bar and see Kenny Robinson on stage doing a set … sort of like an amateur musician popping out for a drink to find someone like Gord Downie entertaining the crowd. Definitely a highlight of my trip so far.

One more day, and I’ll be doing my set. Tonight, I have a warm-up set at McVeigh’s Irish Pub in downtown Toronto (special thanks go out to Laura Prosko, the organizer of Comedy Thursday’s at McVeigh’s, for the chance to “shake out the flaws” before the big night) … show starts at 9PM, but I don’t know what the order will be, so I really have no idea what time I’ll be on. I’m looking forward to trying out my set for a Toronto crowd at McVeigh’s, and I certainly appreciate the chance to warm up before Friday. So far, it’s been a great week … here’s hoping it just keeps getting better.


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