We’re about half way through the JFL42 (Just For Laughs) Festival here in Toronto.
So far I’ve seen:
Still to come:
(I’m also additionally seeing Marc Maron, John Mulaney & Maria Bamford in a “late night variety show” type deal which will be filmed for national television/aired on The Comedy Network! I just found out about it tonight… its going to be fucking awesome!)
GOOD FUCKING TIMES, FRIENDS!
You are part of the fuel on my fire! I’m so impressed by your multi-tasking and dedication. Sometimes you make me feel lazy haha but it gives me that push to keep going! ps - loved the business cards!
On Tuesday night I saw a good friend of mine take part in a Toronto Amateur Stand Up competition for new talent in the city. This was the 2nd round and he killed (and got sent to the 3rd round!).
The thing that really got to me was that 2 of the 3 other comics who made it through were, in my opinion which is skewed because I am a self-aware comedy snob, really not that good. Two female comedians and two male comedians made it. The female comedians (it pains me to say) were hard to sit through. Their sets were about how sad it is to be a woman.
I try to implicitly as possibly state my femaleness proudly. I can’t stand when a woman is using her womanhood as a punchline, or an excuse for self-deprecation. Or when someone’s only world view is from a sad bachelor apartment filled with cats and cheap snack food.
I KNOW THIS IS A RANT BUT: from this comes clarity!
I am different.
I have a voice that is unique.
I am smart and funny.
… and I
can should be doing this.
In a few weeks my friend will be starting a new comedy room with some of his friends. I have been invited to come and tell jokes. I think I might be the only chick there. But I don’t think I will come off as a “chick”. I will not be out of place. I will play with the boys and make them fear how much they respect female comedians! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!
I think I wrote my favourite joke today.
We spoke twice.
He walked past me and said excuse me and I said, of course. (playing it super cool).
Then he was trying to remember the three album names of Duke Silver. He got 2/3 and I gave him the third.
He said that I was the number 3 person in the room.
It was hilarious.
Nick Offerman and I have great rapport.
**edit: after he said that I winked and did a gun motion with my fingers at him and he did it back. i don’t know why i did it but im glad i did**
was easily one of the greatest experiences of my life.
We performed for the biggest audience we’d ever done improv for (the entire main floor of the main stage was filled!) At first we we’re a little shaky but as soon as I was being active in scenes I was fine. Also I saw a good friend of mine from previous classes in the front row and he nodded and smiled at me right away so I decided to just play to him if I felt nervous.
We started with “we are the world” which is a musical improv game where everyone stands in a line and sings a song of hope and inspiration about a given topic. Our suggestion was street lights. I originally decided in my head that I wouldn’t be going up for this, because I’ve been fighting off a cold all week and my throat felt pretty raw/dry on stage… but literally no one was jumping in so I found myself just walking up before I even had something to sing! It ended up working out and I not only got a big laugh, but got to say that I sung live in front of like 100 people.
The next scene I did was called Scene Three Ways. The first suggestion was Yo-yo’s so our first scene was very basic; about a yo-yo master and two idiots trying but failing to do tricks. The second scene was that same thing, but in a science fiction genre. Which you’d think would be simple but is actually pretty difficult in improv due to lack of y’know, expensive set pieces and technology. That scene was okay, we got some good laughs. The third was easily my favourite. I worried about having to do an accent but luckily someone yelled our Russia for a country suggestion and I can actually do a Russian accent! So we got big laughs for committing to that - I also got to refer to someone as Comrade in a Russian accent on the main stage so that was awesome. And my boyfriend even got in a well placed Russian “Fuck”! haha
The next scene I was a part of was sentences. I had a blast with this one because I played it with my boyfriend and one of our best friends. I felt like this scene ran short and we didn’t get to go through a ton of sentences BUT the ones we got out were hilarious, we did a great job at making them work in the scene and at one point one of the lines was “Shut up and kiss me” or something like that and I had started by addressing my friend Naomi, who I then had to stage kiss. (which is no problem cause I loves her) but obviously we got the lights after and they ended the scene on that note because it’s a good closure point BUT I would have liked the scene to go a liiiiiittle longer, maybe use 3 or 4 more sentences, but that’s okay.
Lastly was our long form game that I got to ask the suggestion for. I decided to pick on one person specifically so I could really hear the suggestion instead of people yelling over each other. I chose the people who looked like the smallest group and like they were having the least amount of fun. It was an older couple sitting alone. And I said “IF I were to put you on the spot and ask for a one word suggestion, what is the first word that comes to your head?!” and the woman responded with “NO” … which is the WORST thing you can say in an improv show and is by far the worst suggestion I’ve ever heard. So I quickly retorted with “Ma’am, I’m sure, he’s (in reference to husband) heard that one enough, [BIG LAUGH from audience] can you please give me another word. Maybe some kind of noun - a person, place or thing. Something our players can really sink their teeth into?” (because if you’re not going to co-operate I’ll lead you there like a small child through shame and degradation) Her husband ended up shouting out Blue Jays to get me to go away. Our long form went really well. I chose to play a guy at one point which I seldom do - so that was cool. I really tried to push myself.
The one note I have about the show is that it was way too short. 45 minutes FLYS by when you’re having that much fun with your friends!
I can’t wait till the next chance I get to perform! :)
Now we’re starting our own troupe… so goodbye second city - for now - and hello scary real world of trying to make successful comedy!
and by final class I mean I’ve completed my levels and all that’s left is our show this Saturday April 20th at the Second City Main Stage.
Speaking of main stage, I WAS ON IT TONIGHT!
I seriously did improv on the Second City Main Stage tonight!
We started class by meeting at the main stage to basically get oriented on where the stage mics are, what to expect back stage, lighting, voice projection, running order, etc. …and we also did a quick bit of improv, which was really the best part.
You could tell that all of us were so giddy to be on the main stage, and I think/hope that spirit is really going to come out in our show this Saturday.
We also decided tonight who will be asking for suggestions for what and I get to ask for our suggestion for the closer… my favourite… LONG FORM!
I’m so excited I feel like a kid again!!
(will post updates after the show this weekend!)
Tonight’s class was incredible. I hate to say it but there was a person missing from class who doesn’t necessarily mesh well with the rest of the group, so everyone seemed a lot more connected and really worked as a team in every scene.
The focus of tonight was justification. Everything has purpose and is valid and effects the stakes of whatever follows…
Last night’s class was brutal… in the best possible way.
I haven’t felt that out of my comfort zone since level A.
Lisa had us doing games that required you to keep multiple things running in the scene simultaneously (which sounds kind of basic until I explain the games later…) After class we all agreed that we felt we all were terrible, but had learned SO much.
I have to admit, it was humbling and my confidence is pretty shredded but that’s only because I was doing something I had never done before, and with Lisa you can’t be lazy and rely on your usual tricks.
LEVEL E IS THE LAST LEVEL! This is some real shit here!
Just a heads up a have a LOT to say tonight so this could get pretty deep.
First of all our coach is the infamous Lisa Merchant.
Now I say infamous because in all my time at Second City I have constantly heard the name Lisa Merchant in reverence and never actually met the woman. And I will say after tonight I have a new lady-improv-role model. Lisa is smart, a phenomenal instructor and incredibly funny. She is in a regular show/troupe with legitimate Canadian Legend Colin Mochrie! She also starred on a Canadian television show called Train 48… which is pretty legit for Canada. And she produces an annual comedy festival for women in Toronto called “March of Dames”. So I’ve kind of already developed a sort of stockholm syndrome for her and her infinite wisdom/greatness.
As I said last time, the games I played were predetermined, so I was pretty well prepared and not even remotely nervous or concerned for tonight’s show. It more so made me anxious for our Level E Main Stage show in 10 weeks. Anyways…
Class wasn’t much, we mostly prepared for our show which is tonight at the John Candy Box Theatre.
I will be participating in two games I’m not the biggest fan of but I’m mostly just doing this show out of necessity, I’m not really putting much weight or significance on tonight because it ultimately means nothing.
The class shows are just to help people who haven’t been on stage get used to the feeling of stage and audience. (Which I’m so completely used to and not bothered by in the least any more — I actually crave it!)
WAS A MUSICAL CLASS!
We did two hours of musical improv with a legitimate musical improviser who came in and took over the class. He was hilarious and it was a total blast.
[Spoilers from later in the post: “I even sang an improvised song about diarrhea, alone, on stage, acapella.”]