I didn’t check the line-up before I went to see Zoofest’s Play Date, the Dads of Comedy (I have no idea why they add an apostrophe to this). I found a seat in the sadly underattended room and realized that I’d stupidly picked a seat up close. I don’t even have children. Then, for a brief moment, I wondered if I accidentally misinterpreted “dad” to mean the Beaver Cleaver/Homer Simpson kind of “dad” and should have been thinking of it more in a homosexual context. Before I could respond and switch to a safer space in the back, things started and I was frozen as Guido Cocomello took the stage. Even though he has arms that have seen a gym, I knew immediately that “dads of comedy” meant the Disney version and not the leather kind.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the comedians of this show. It was a bit of good fortune to catch a line-up of Guido Cocomello, Rodney Ramsey, Eddie King, David Pryde, Ryan Wilner, and Derek Seguin. I was expecting a bunch of no-names, and instead got comedians who have done rounds at JFL, appear on CBC’s Laugh out Loud, perform in Montreal’s clubs, appear on the Comedy Network, and tour.
Each had ten minutes to talk about fatherhood, with the exception of Derek Seguin who decided to keep it rolling for a few minutes more after his slot (and if the next show wasn’t waiting in the wings, probably would have gone longer). There were a few topics that came back a few times: baby milestones, school, finding a name, and how children change the relationship with their spouses. Each man, though, told very different stories around the theme of fatherhood.
Cocomello should have been at last night’s ethnic show, because his bit mostly focused on the difference between how he grew up by the belt in comparison with today. Ramsey also was a little less to topic, as what stuck with me was his story about why buying a lock from the dollar store can work to your advantage. He made some references to current events: Rachel Dolezal and the Jarod Fogle firing.
Wilner brought the topic back to his kids, discussing how the birth of his twin daughters brought all kinds of changes in his life, whether buying a shredder or communicating in a passive-aggressive way with his wife.
King reviewed how he chose his daughter’s name and why certain names were just not possible. He also explained the extent of his protective dad side and the difference between having a son and a daughter in the porn industry.
Pryde was also to topic, discussing some of the experiences he has with older children and the acquisition of kittens. He made the very wise point that a kid who gives a dad power tools for father’s day deserves school supplies at Christmas.
I don’t know why Seguin thought the audience was a bit cool, because everyone seemed to be laughing pretty hard at everything he said. His issue of the moment was dealing with his kids’ school’s war on peanuts. Seguin found his living nemesis when he asked the audience if anyone had a peanut allergy, only to find that someone in the audience truly did.
While it’s hard to beat the glamour of JFL, Zoofest’s comedic line-up of dads is a chance to see some quality men at a budget price.
Playdate: The Dads of Comedy is at Katacombes from July 9-12. 7 p.m. $25.