Friday, January 28, 2011

Comedy Review Jan.27,2011. Absolute Comedy

Tonight the crowd is made up of office workers, a few university students and what appears to be a reincarnation of Princess Diana. The sound of Eminem’s Lose Yourself hovers over top of the speaker system signalling that show time is six minutes away.

Out comes the MC for the evening, Andrew Evans, a self-proclaimed Dr. House look alike. His opening line leaves the audience laughing.   The crowd didn’t seem to respond to Evans very well right away, after the first minutes of the show the crowd realizes the show has even begun.. When Evans attempted to interact with the crowd, the crowd really didn’t give much back in return. They just didn’t seem to want to get into it with any of the comics that much. D

Miller Crosby
Other than being put off by her name because it makes me think of two Nhl hockey players that I’m not  big fans of, and an eerily similar looking Princess Diana lady over to my right that’s really start to freak me out, I enjoyed the 6 foot tall Miller Crosby very much and so did the audience. At times during Crosby’s set, the middle mostly, you could tell that she was trying new material and the crowd didn’t seem to respond to it as well as her more developed material.   Crobsy, an Ottawa native that has since moved to CHARANTA (pronounced Toronto) showed what differentiates an amateur comic from a pro comic, the ability to rhythmically move onto another joke that is certain to work.  Miller had good but not great crowd interaction. 

Andy Hendrickson
The shorter of the two comics, Andy Hendrickson was a blast. His very normal look and clean jokes approach was a hit with the audience. Hendrickson’s “I’m office hot” joke got the most laughs of the night. He hit the hammer on the nail seeing that the crowd was filled with mostly office workers. These are signs of a pro comic, adapting to a situation as needed. All in all, a good night of laughs, not the best, but an enjoyable evening out.

Skip Phillips
(Contributing Blogger)

Comedy Review Jan.27,2011: Yuk-Yuk's.

Comedy Review Jan.27,2011:

Mike Wilmot, Mike Beatty, Dave McConnell, and Terry Clement

As usual, it was student pricing night at Yuk Yuk’s Elgin location, and it was a full house.  Headliner Mike Wilmont is a big draw, so it was a sold out show. (I saw a few people turned away at the door...MAKE RESERVATIONS PEOPLE). The club was more packed than I have ever seen it. There was a good mix of ages, and the crowd had a good vibe to it, you could just tell everyone was there to laugh and have a good time.

Terry Clement
Dave McConnell
The show began promptly at 8:30. with MC Terry Clement (not Tony Clement, Federal Minister of Industry, that just wouldn't be funny). Clement did a great job of warming up the audience, he was very funny, personable and engaging. After the usual banter with people celebrating birthdays/anniversaries etc, Clement switched it up a bit and did what I can only describe as “performance art”. He recited some beat style poetry over pre-recorded music. I have to say it was strange and unexpected, but it was smart, innovative and made me laugh very hard.

Dave McConnell hit the stage next.  McConnell is a regular on the Ottawa comedy scene. McConnell’s dark style and shocking sense of humour is always good for a laugh/groan.  McConnell is unrelenting in his deadpan approach.  It as if he is saying “I don’t care if you like me, I know better than you”, and it works.  He had this audience laughing, groaning, and they will never look at their mothers the same again!

Mike Beatty
Next up after McConnell was funny man Mike Beatty. Beatty is an Ottawa comedy veteran who was surprisingly clean for “cold dark January”.  An example is his reference to his penis as his ding-dong.  Beatty spends most of his stage time humorously reminiscing about how things have changed since he was a youngster.  Beatty managed to really connect with this audience, and got a very positive response. 
 Mike Wilmot

Then came the man everybody was there to see, headliner Mike Wilmot.  Wilmot has traveled the world performing stand-up and acting. Wilmot’s casual presence and fast paced style of comedy makes one feel like they are catching up over drinks with an old (foul mouthed) friend filled with stories about his globetrotting adventures.  Much of Willmot’s act is based on his own observations on cultural differences between Canada and other countries.  His philosophy about how you can tell a lot about a people by their sandwiches reminds us that despite these cultural differences we are really all the same, we all just want to laugh.

This was an enjoyable show. These four comics bring the funny.  If your looking for an entertaining evening I  definitely  recommend you head down to Yuk-Yuk's on Elgin. And don't forget those reservations.

Joshua Hayward 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Review Absolute Comedy January 20, 2011

I got to the show at Absolute comedy with 4 friends of mine that I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was a great atmosphere in the room and was a perfect setting for this little reunion of ours.

DeAnne Smith was the MC for the evening. What a great job! She had total control of the room. This is in fact what an MC is supposed to do, get the audience fluffed and ready for the comics. She did it and she did it well. She was fantastic, as strong as they come. She had the crowd in the palm of her hand one minute into the show. It was fantastic to watch. I looked around the room while she was well into her intro and the people were in stiches. From making fun of her looks to hating children, she was a delight to listen to. No one, not even those annoying people in the right corner of the room (that wouldn’t stop talking) stopped talking. Really solid DeAnne!

The next comic to follow was Nick Carter, a local favourite here in Ottawa. I have seen Carter perform this same routine for the last year and it is hit and miss. The crowd is responsive at first; however, his set just falls short this time with this specific audience.

Following Carter, was Craig Fay. A loveable guy for the women! The girls just seem to love this comic, not because of his looks but his jokes. They seemed catered to women. His “feel sorry for me kind of humour” worked really well. It was good and enjoyable!

On walked Ryan Cull. The show stealer hands down for this evening. He made the crowd laugh what seemed to be endless amount of time. No down time, no lags just laughs and more laughs. From joke to joke he just keep shooting them out. It was fantastic to have seen him perform. The crowd adored him. Look out for Cull, he’s got something.

The headliner for this evening was Lou Eisen. I had seen Eisen before and his show was the same as last time. Boring and uninspired. No one was laughing. It was uncomfortable to be a part of. Some people left during his set. I enjoy Absolute comedy, and feel they can do much better than Eisen. I would much prefer to have seen much more of Cull and Fay.

Think I am wrong? Then check it out for yourself at Absolute Comedy on Preston Ave.

Review by Skip Phillps: Guest Reviewer

Yuk Yuk's comedy review Jan. 20,2011: Darren Frost, Bobby Mair & Kathleen Mcgee

Last night I went to Yuk Yuk's downtown to take in some comedy from the dark side. And it is a cold DARK January indeed. The comics featured tonight were M.C. Kathleen McGee, (sounds like a rapper) funny man Bobby Mair, and the Listerine action hero himself, Darren Frost.

The room was packed, populated mostly by twenty something college students. I somehow managed to seat myself behind a large group of giggly sorority type girls, most of whom couldn't be bothered to put away their brightly back lit cell phones. I later found out it was two-for-one student night. At 39 i think i may have been the oldest (smartest?) person in the crowd.

McGee hit the stage to warm up the crowd, her 1st few jokes, although hilarious elicited almost no response. The energy in the room was low, but McGee did finally managed to wake them up and get a good laugh or two. As this was an "x-rated" show McGee's material was suitably vulgar, most of it of self depreciating sexual nature, but she pulls it of with such charm she remains one of my personal favorite comedians.

If Mcgee managed to wake the room up...well they went right back to sleep for Bobby Mair. Mair took the stage nearly unnoticed. While I found his far-out observational style to be solid, his material continued to fall on deaf (dumb?) ears. During a bit about kidnapping/Stockholm syndrome the audience was so unresponsive he actually had to stop and ask if they knew what Stockholm syndrome is....sadly, most did not.

Now the stage was set for the headliner, Darren Frost. Frost took the stage and immediately scared the crowd awake with a loud barrage of expletives, reminding us that this is indeed an x-rated show, and he was, as he says, "just getting started". Frost's angry, in your face style makes me wonder if this is a stage persona, or if he is in fact, as he puts it "dead inside".

One word of advice, if you want to earn yourself a free dvd of Darren Frost's comedy, and don't mind being the target of his venom, go ahead and sit up front...if you dare.

Overall, despite the young crowd who at times seemed more interested in taking pictures of one another with their camera phones, it was a solid and very funny show. I recommend you head down to Yuk Yuk's at 292 Elgin St. and check out three very talented comedians. These three deserve a crowd who appreciates smart, fun, and solid comedy. And for the love of everything holy, please put away your damed cell phones.

Frost, Mair and McGee can be seen until January 22. Call 613-236-5233 for reservations.

Josh Hayward
JH5 productions

Friday, January 14, 2011

Comedy Review Jan13,2011: Tony Deyo/Joe Lindley

On a night where I thought not many people would come out to Absolute Comedy Club due to the weather (bitterly cold) and a Sens game on television, I was pleasantly surprised with the turnout. It had to be pretty much sold out. This isn’t amateur night folks!

When I walked into the room it was pretty empty but as the time grew closer for the show to begin people started walking in hoards and filled the room quickly. The room was very loud and everyone seemed to be having a great time even though the show hadn’t even begun. The room was split in age, literally. I could see a split in the middle of the room. To the right of me, were the Carleton U crew, they could be from Ottawa University also but to me the Club is nearest to Carleton therefore there from Carleton University. As the night went on and different styles of comedy came and went, I noticed that the younger people in the crowd phased out easily. If they don’t get the jokes they just phase out.

It was a completely a different story for the older crowd to the left of me however. These people got it from the beginning and enjoyed the whole show no matter what style of comedy it was. Except for the one old guy with his arms crossed falling asleep. There’s always one of those. One thing in particular that I found interesting was the people sitting in the front row. These people seem more nervous that the comic on stage was going to speak to them and ask them questions. They never really fully let themselves go and enjoy the show.

As soon as the clubs first act, Jason Harper(mc for the evening) came on stage you knew it would be a good night. The crowd was attentive and ready to get laughing right away at his at very personal comedic style. He won everyone over right away by interacting with the crowd. However, I did notice that whenever he would go “darker” which wasn’t much of his set, the crowd and especially the younger crowd would just shut down. Conservatives!

When it was time for the first act to come out, the audience was primed and ready to go. Kevin Phillips walked onto the stage and I didn’t know what to expect. The change in tempo and comedic style is what happened. The change in comics threw everyone for a loop. You could tell that the audience had to get used to his style. Once they did they loved him.

The show keeps rolling……

When Kevin finished up his set the crowd was still really into it and the mood of the room was even better than it was when it first started. On came Tim Deyo.

Tim Deyo is as Top Notch as it gets, unbelievably clean and very funny. He had the crowd right from the beginning and for twenty minutes he kept it up nonstop. No lags, just funny. The audience loved him.

On walked Joe Lindley, the feature act of the evening. At first it seemed like the crowd was getting ready to leave. They seemed a little tired. His first jokes went unnoticed but again, the audience had to get into him. He had more of a one liners comedic style approach. Once the audience knew what he was about I had never heard so much laughing and clapping at one time. He was solid as solid gets. He had the audience in the palm of his hand.( 2a plus 2b = abba), however at times he just took it too far and consistent to how the crowd was all night they just stayed quiet and conservative when he did so.

“I dated an Eskimo for 6 months, found out she wasn’t in fact a eskimo she was just retarded.”.

But all in all they loved it. Isn’t that nice about comedy, one minute they think you’re the worst human on earth and the next there asking you for an autograph. Before his time ended , he interacted with the crowd which was great. They really enjoyed that. I’m always amazed how good comics can just improvise on the spot. Genius.

All in all, a fantastic lineup with a very satisfied crowd at Absolute Comedy Club

Skip Philipps
(Contributing Blogger)

This show can be seen at Absolute Comedy until Jan.16,2011
412 Preston st. Ottawa, ON.
for reservations call: 613-233-8000

Comedy Review Jan13,2011: Aaron Berg

January 13

Review: Aaron Berg Underbelly Diaries Redux 2011

Tonight had a younger crowd at Yuk Yuk’s on Elgin, which is not surprising given it is 2 for 1 student night. It was an intimate crowd and setting for a cold winters night, and those who attended were ready to laugh.

Yuk Yuk’s brought Berg’s one man show to their Cold Dark January. The audience is fully alerted when they purchase their tickets that this show is going to have language and content that may offend some. The MC for the evening Rob Mailloux, started out with some crude humour with a laid back attitude. He has trouble eliciting a strong reaction from the crowd, but that is his job, to warm the crowd up. He moves into some crowd interaction, which brings them to life. A few more jokes and we are ready for our feature act. Wait, feature act after the MC? That doesn’t sound right? But tonight is a special performance. Instead of regular stand up comedy, the crowd is told that they will receive a one act show, a narrative of the comics life. One man. Sixty minutes. And away they go.

Berg starts off by stating “There is no such thing as a big break in Canada”. He repeats this phrase quite a bit at the beginning. He goes into his start in life, his influences, his upbringing. don’t expect fairly tales and butter tarts, he has some fascinating experiences that, as the title declares, comes from the “underbelly” of society.. Berg continues, flawlessly for over an hour, captivating the crowd with his show. There was never a moment where the crowd was not fully engrossed in what he was saying or laughing hysterically. His stage presence is effervescent, it is a combination of stand up, theatre, and some exotic dancing. (you have to come to the show to understand this reference.)

Berg completes his performance to rousing applause, and the crowd is bewildered as to where the time has gone. The MC returns for announcements, and rightly so he states he feels uncomfortable coming up after the end of that show. But this is a comedy show in the end, and their are future shows to promote!

This show is for those who enjoy the fringe, the side of life that is not always neat and pretty, but told in methods that has the audience laughing until they cannot laugh anymore. Yuk Yuk’s should be commended for taking a risk in changing the format of an MC, opener, middler and headliner. by moving something that is still comedy, but brings a strength and art that is not seen by mainstream society on a regular basis The show was enjoyable, and heartwarming in places, and every audience member came out laughing. To be reminded, it is not for the faint of heart, it is comedy that is really on the edge and in the “underbelly”

Jenn Hayward

This show can be seen at Yuk Yuk’s Elgin on Friday, with two shows Saturday. Call 613-236-5233 to reseve your table.