Sweatin' the stand-up

Justin Brake
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

entertainment Your intrepid reporter takes the Comedy Festival stage

There I am, standing on stage with nothing to hide behind but a scrawny microphone stand.

The audience is invisible to me because the lighting is so intense, but they are there and they're waiting for a punchline.

I draw a blank when I realize the chair I need for my bit isn't onstage with me - and the words I'd recited about a dozen times before the big event? They're gone b'ys, they're gone.

There I am, standing on stage with nothing to hide behind but a scrawny microphone stand.

The audience is invisible to me because the lighting is so intense, but they are there and they're waiting for a punchline.

I draw a blank when I realize the chair I need for my bit isn't onstage with me - and the words I'd recited about a dozen times before the big event? They're gone b'ys, they're gone.

I look down and try to focus but it feels like someone just cranked up the heat and all I can think about is how the eyes of 200 people are on me, including some of Canada's top comics, who've come to the St. John's Comedy Festival's Open Mike/Parody Night to scout out new talent.

After about 10 seconds of awkward silence, an eternity to me, I make a recovery that garners only a couple of laughs but which my comrades later tell me was "smooth."

I pull through the rest of the routine and walk off stage, where comedian and host Al Rae is standing, waiting to introduce the next act, and where Pete Soucey is sitting on a chair off to the side, mentally preparing for his act.

My fellow comics are waiting to shake my hand or give me a pat on the back, but all I want to do is crack a beer, sit down, and figure out where I went wrong.

Before I can though, Steve Coombs, another newbie and friend I made during the workshop who appeared nervous during his afternoon rehearsal, is on stage killing the audience with his jokes and savvy delivery.

As I watch Steve and the remaining comics not only overcome their nervousness but deliver side-splitting jokes with precision, my own insecurity tapers off and I'm amazed at the courage each of the performers musters in order to execute their routines.

Actress Karyn Dwyer, a last-minute addition to the lineup, has plenty of experience in the entertainment industry but has never done stand-up.

After the show she says to me, "Nothing I've ever done, not film, not television or theatre, are as hard as doing stand-up comedy."

Watching Soucy, one of the province's top comics, transform into his clever and slick character Snook from side stage was a rewarding experience.

One of his jokes alludes to the fact that although islanders are often inherently witty, we've hired a comedian from Winnipeg - Al Rae - to come and train us to be funny.

After Thursday night's open-mike event, I'd say it won't be long before we're exporting some of Canada's top comics to teach the art of Newfoundland humour.

After about 10 seconds of awkward silence, an eternity to me, I make a recovery that garners only a couple of laughs but which my comrades later tell me was 'smooth.'

Geographic location: Canada, St. John's, Winnipeg Newfoundland

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments