Yuk Yuk's looking for funny people

Justin Brake
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Comedy Hosting New Talent Nights for locals; winner could perform at Great Canadian Laugh-Off

The new Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club in St. John's is holding a contest to send one local comedian to its annual national competition in Toronto in April.

The catch? You've got to be really, really funny.

Coinciding with the launch of the club's New Talent Nights, the competition will run every Wednesday from Feb. 4 through March 11 and will feature more than 20 local comedians vying for a shot to represent Newfoundland at the fourth annual Great Canadian Laugh-Off in Toronto.

The new Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club in St. John's is holding a contest to send one local comedian to its annual national competition in Toronto in April.

The catch? You've got to be really, really funny.

Coinciding with the launch of the club's New Talent Nights, the competition will run every Wednesday from Feb. 4 through March 11 and will feature more than 20 local comedians vying for a shot to represent Newfoundland at the fourth annual Great Canadian Laugh-Off in Toronto.

The national winner will take home $25,000, and "Yuk Yuk's will probably put them on the road ... and they'll get national television recognition and bragging rights for a year," explains St. John's Yuk Yuk's club manager Bill MacIntosh, who says he's excited to see the talent which emerges from the relatively new local stand-up comedy scene.

"There is a pool of folks who do the open mike night at the Victory (Tavern) and ... what I've seen is impressive," he says.

"The people in this town are very, very funny. I have yet to meet a cab driver who doesn't absolutely slay me, so if only half the cab drivers I've met entered, I could run a contest for three months."

The competition kicked off Feb. 4 with the first nine contestants, who each were allotted six minutes to deliver their funniest material to the audience and a panel of three local celebrity judges.

"They're judged on their material, delivery and timing, stage presence, and audience response," explains MacIntosh, who, just three years ago was a finalist at the Laugh-Off in Toronto.

"They get two shots at it here," he says. "If they suck one night they can come back and if they do great and are one of the top two (selected by the judges), they will go to the finals on March 11. So we're going to end up with a final of six (competitors) in St. John's. The one winner of that will represent St. John's at the final in Toronto. We'll fly them there in April."

Local amateur comic Steve Coombs was among the first group of contestants to perform.

"When Bill called me," he says, "I'd say I was back and forth to the bathroom and sleepless ever since. I'm a bag of nerves."

But with his witty, nice-guy persona, the 30-something-year-old husband and father delivered a solid bundle of jokes, including a hilarious re-enactment of his embarrassing first date with the woman who is now his wife, and at the end of the night was voted one of the top two, putting him in a good spot to move on to the St. John's finals.

"Tonight put me in a good position for two weeks time ... if I do want to try some other jokes that I thought would have got more laughs," Coombs explains. "Maybe when I get here - I'm usually pretty good at gauging the faces that are in the room - I'll see if there's a lot of the same people here, because when you do the same (routine) in front of the same crowd ... you don't get as many laughs."

The competition will extend almost into the spring, but MacIntosh says he hopes it will encourage local amateur comics to continue honing the craft of stand-up comedy at the club's weekly New Talent Nights.

He also says he will likely be seeking out local talent to open for the professional comics who come through town.

"Newfoundlanders are very interested in locals," he says. "Before we even opened up I was getting questions, 'Are these going to be local guys?'

"On the weekends I'll have guest spots ... this is the kind of thing you can only get good at the more you do it."

Although his experience as a finalist at the first annual Great Canadian Laugh-Off was nerve-racking and he didn't win, MacIntosh thinks it's the perfect opportunity for local comics to make their mark.

"It's a chance at $25,000 bucks," he says, "and if you can handle this you can handle anything."

The St. John's competition will run every Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. at the Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club on Kenmount Rd. until the March 11 finals, at which the winner will be selected to represent St. John's and the province in Toronto.

For more information call the club at 726-9857 or visit the website at www.yukyuks.com.

Organizations: Comedy Club

Geographic location: St. John's, Toronto, Newfoundland

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  • DIANE
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Well I went there a few weeks ago and I have to say some aspects of the show was funny but it would be R rated if it was a movie. There were many jokes that would make most of us cringe if someone told them to us at dinner. I don't think I will pay any more money to go back there.

    Yuk Yuk's how about some G or PG rated comedians? Maybe you could get a comedian who does G rated material and we can bring our more mature children on a Saturday afternoon and close the bar.

    Besides this I did find the staff very friendly and helpful. The rest of the local eateries could take a lesson from the staff there. Big pat on the back to the staff all of the staff.

  • D.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Hey! Get Danny Williams up there! He'll have hundreds of funny one liners about his buddy Stephen Harper!

  • H
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    I went to Yuk Yuk's a few weeks back and it was pretty funny. However since then they have raised their prices so much that it hardly seems worth it. I've been to other Yuk Yuk's clubs and the admission was a lot cheaper than it is here. Now it's $24 to go on the weekend (depending on seating). I get that they tend to have a full house every night, so they can charge more, but in Kitchener it's $15 on the weekend, no matter where you sit. I understand that it costs more to send comedians to Newfoundland than it would to Kitchener, but I still think they should keep the prices relatively low. Once you get there you end up buying drinks and/or food, which turns a night of Yuk Yuk's into a night less ordinary.

  • JK
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    We do need funny people. I lost all my savings in the stock market and I do desperately need someone to make me laugh right about now.

  • DIANE
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Well I went there a few weeks ago and I have to say some aspects of the show was funny but it would be R rated if it was a movie. There were many jokes that would make most of us cringe if someone told them to us at dinner. I don't think I will pay any more money to go back there.

    Yuk Yuk's how about some G or PG rated comedians? Maybe you could get a comedian who does G rated material and we can bring our more mature children on a Saturday afternoon and close the bar.

    Besides this I did find the staff very friendly and helpful. The rest of the local eateries could take a lesson from the staff there. Big pat on the back to the staff all of the staff.

  • D.
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Hey! Get Danny Williams up there! He'll have hundreds of funny one liners about his buddy Stephen Harper!

  • H
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    I went to Yuk Yuk's a few weeks back and it was pretty funny. However since then they have raised their prices so much that it hardly seems worth it. I've been to other Yuk Yuk's clubs and the admission was a lot cheaper than it is here. Now it's $24 to go on the weekend (depending on seating). I get that they tend to have a full house every night, so they can charge more, but in Kitchener it's $15 on the weekend, no matter where you sit. I understand that it costs more to send comedians to Newfoundland than it would to Kitchener, but I still think they should keep the prices relatively low. Once you get there you end up buying drinks and/or food, which turns a night of Yuk Yuk's into a night less ordinary.

  • JK
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    We do need funny people. I lost all my savings in the stock market and I do desperately need someone to make me laugh right about now.