Ah, the Wheel Club. The basement bar/venue/clubhouse, nestled just below Sherbrooke on Cavendish, is definitely one of NDG’s finest hidden (very hidden) gems. I recently had the pleasure of returning to the Wheel Club for the fifth annual Hilarious Holiday Hoedown charity comedy show, hosted by Walter J. Lyng and headlined by Leighland Beckman, and I can say that the beloved venue, as well as the hysterical comedians performing, did not disappoint.
The night, which benefited the NDG Food Depot, kicked off with a quick introduction by funnyman/host Walter J. Lyng. He warmed up the crowd with a few jokes, even comparing snow and separatists (“they’re both annoying white things”). The first performer was the, as Lyng put it, “fresh-faced” Jacob Greco. His comedic stylings seemed somewhat anecdotal, discussing his night terrors and the somewhat whale-inspired sounds he makes while they occur. Jacob Greco hosts a comedy radio show on CJLO every Thursday at 1:30pm; be sure to check it out! (we mentioned him HERE)
Greco was followed by Stephen Trepanier, who came from “far away” (the Plateau). He told us hilarious stories of his distant homeland, Windsor, Ontario, and how a green-thumbed vandal has been making his own brand of topiary out of bushes in local parks (hint: they are penis-shaped). You can find Stephen Trepanier at either the Nest or Theatre St-Catherine, his regular spots.
Next up was Shaika Cafe regular Chris Sandiford. His high-energy comedy was just what the crowd needed! He discussed the tribulations one may have trying to get laid when one’s body gives off the “okey-dokey” vibe. Check Chris Sandiford out every Tuesday night at Shaika Cafe, okey-dokey? Then it was the neurotic Alon Azimov. If you enjoy stream-of-consciousness babbling a la Woody Allen, you should check this guy out. The dude was able to entertain us with a story about how he lost a glove! Find him Christmas Eve at McLean’s Pub for MADA’s Matzoh Ball Soup Comedy Special.
And finally, Leighland Beckman (AKA Bear Man) took the stage, guitar in tow. Before he began, Beckman addressed the crowd with, “You seem like good people. You’re giving food to the hungry and what I’m about to sing and talk about is very dirty and I just want to apologize in advance.” This of course brought a nervous laugh from the crowd. I suppose for some, his fair warning was appreciated but the advance apology was not needed. Beckman regaled the crowd with his first song “I Got No Love” which follows a young man on his journey to find some love from just about anything, including his sister and his dog (spoiler: it’s not actually his dog). Beckman was also joined onstage by Nick Raz of the Montreal-based punk band The BCASA, who sang some holiday songs from the band’s latest EP, ‘Tis the Season to Praise Satan, called “Deck the Halls 2: The Rise of Lord Satan” (falalalalalalalala!) and “Jesus was Black (and Reagan was the Devil)”. Beckman then wowed the crowd with his finale and what is sure to be a holiday classic called “Christ Raper.” Guess what it’s about! At one point, my friend leaned over and said to me, “This guy should be famous.” I tend to agree. You can catch Leighland Beckman January 29, 2015 at The Wiggle Room where he will be hosting his own event called (surprise!) The Dirty Show! There will tons of dirty humour and a full band.
Overall, the evening was a showcase of the burgeoning, or should I say bear-geoning, comedic talent Montreal has to offer and I left with a laughter high. The talent of all of the young men is a testament to the comedy scene in Montreal, especially because the Hilarious Holiday Hoedown is a charitable event. I urge you to check out each and every one of the aforementioned funny guys because, with their diverse styles and talents, there’s definitely something for everyone.
Holiday Hoedown took place December 11 at the Wheel Club.