I kicked off March in a rather strange way. I got to travel to Ontario to perform comedy for the second time in my wonderful, illustrious stand-up comedy career (posh laughter ahohaohaoha). The first time I was in Ontario, I was in Kingston performing at the Absolute Comedy club with Walter J. Lyng, Scott Carter, Leighland Beckman, middler Guido Cocomello and closer Marc Sinodinos. The host that time was Denis Grignon who is a fun Canadian comic I’ve had the pleasure of encountering in multiple cities.
This time around, we were somewhere in Ontario. Performing at some place. And the reason I am being vague is because the room was bubbling with el drugs and I don’t want to get anybody in trouble. By all means, the runners of the establishment had a firm understanding of the law and were operating within the tiniest box of possibility and they kept to it.
That’s right. I traveled to another province to be part of my first ever 420 show.
I drove up with Leonard Yelle (he was doing the driving, really) and Jason Yearow while another car took up Walter J. Lyng, Leighland Beckman, and Scott Carter. Some familiar faces and new guys coming down to Ontario.
I was expecting a giggly bunch of people in the tiniest room imaginable, clouded by smoke, but not able to contain themselves.
Instead, the audience was a smiley group spread out across a very large room that they didn’t fill as they nodded and smoked. It was a confusing experience. Although there was laughter interspersed throughout the sets, the response from the audience was smiling and nodding and sometimes looks of deep thought. The bits that got the biggest reaction in my set were improvised ramblings on marijuana and how I don’t smoke weed, but love food. That seemed to get them, but anything else fell pretty flat in terms of audible reactions.
The most impressive set goes to Leighland Beckman who got this group of stoners to sing along to the raunchiest stuff in his repertoire (haha, you know what? that night’s set was pretty tame considering some songs like Wound Fucker and Christ Raper). The only disappointment from his set came from the microphone cutting in and out over the lounge’s PA system (a bunch of speakers in the ceiling reminiscent of high school when the principal would make an announcement).
When I saw Scott Carter do a bit that regularly demolishes audiences to a room of smiling people who didn’t react, I knew that this was not exactly the most fulfilling of audiences. They were enjoying the comedy, but not being vocal about it and it made some of the comedians on the show feel like things were soured.
All in all, am I disappointed with my second gig in Ontario? No. I got some experience out of it. I got to have a car ride with two comedians I rarely get to see and hang out with. It was fucking delightful! I got to have dinner with all the guys on the trip and I had a blast. We were the giggly bunch I was expecting.
And in the end, that’s all I really wanted.
Some shows don’t turn out so great, but hey. I still had a good time.
Mike “Oh, the sign-off with the nickname thing is back all of a sudden?”* Carrozza
*You’re damn right it is.
What to say about this man besides him being one of my closest buds in the comedy scene? Walter hosts a monthly late-night talk show called Night Fight on which I have had the pleasure of appearing multiple times as characters. It is hysterical and in all honesty is one of my absolute favourite shows in the city (read: the world). Walter’s mind is made up of a vast knowledge of pop culture and tongue-in-cheek cynicism that slays me constantly. I have had the pleasure of working with Walter so often and witnessed him working on his material, taking it in directions that I respect and envy. He is one of the hosts of Drop the Gloves open mic at Grumpy’s on Tuesday nights at 10:30 (he alternates weeks with Jakub Stachurski).
You can see him THIS FRIDAY MARCH 7TH at the COMEDY NEST at 10:30 as part of the @TweetItUpComedy show. He’s closing out the show and he’s going to be amazing.
In honour of this post being a 420 show article, Doug Benson is the famous comedian this week. (That’s also because I mentioned Mike Lawrence for Scott Carter, and Walter’s knowledge of pop culture could go toe-to-toe with Lawrence’s. It’d be magical to watch. Actually, could we get them in a room together, please?)
Doug Benson is a massive influence on my stage energy. His laid-back attitude makes him immediately approachable and likeable. He’s also a world-renown stoner. While weed makes up a large portion of his body of work, he does use a lot of quick bits that are silly and fun.
Let’s party, everybody.