Saturday, June 25, 2011

Jenn's Thoughts: Ottawa's Summer of Comedy

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.
-- Sam Keen

This summer I plan to lay outside, get some sun, and talk about everything from politics to love over late night fires.  I plan to have fun with my children, and I have plan to have fun without my children!  I am looking forward to summertime!  Mostly I look forward to the comedy!  Whaa???

People may not equate summertime, with all it's goodness in weather and nature with stand up comedy.  This is a huge mistake folks; summertime is sizzling for cool comedy!  (pardon the  excessive use of alliteration, it's like an addiction with me)  JH5 will list it's top ten must see comedy this summer in Ottawa.  Yep, another top ten list, you knew you wanted it!

10.  Matt Carter:  If you can catch him on a stage this summer, I highly recommend it.  This kid is the Ottawa representative for the Just for Laughs Homegrown Comedy Competition in Montreal AND a nominee for newcomer for the Canadian Comedy Awards.  To state he is going places is an understatement, and 2011 is the summer to see him!

9.  PRIDE:  Yuk Yuk's Ottawa gets their queer on like  nobody else in comedy!  This year they host Martha Chaves, Jessica Salomon, Richard Ryder and Thea Vidale!   These shows occur during PRIDE week, and Ottawa continues to do the community proud by showcasing these sold out shows!

8.  Doug Stanhope:  Stanhope is bringing his anger meets art comedy to...Mavericks?  (Note to Mr. Stanhope...anything wrong with a good ole fashioned comedy club?)  Anyway, there is competition to Mr. Stanhope's show, but get to Mavericks if you can...otherwise head to Yuk Yuk's for......

7.  Mike MacDonald:  Making his triumphant return to Ottawa with FOUR amazing shows with Yuk Yuk's Ottawa!  June 30th and July 2nd at Elgin and July 8 and 9 at the Prescott.  Four great shows! July 2nd you can also go to........

6.  The feminist funnies:  This show is being held in sisterhood with the Women's World Conference 2011 on July 2nd.  This conference hosts 2000 women from all over the world, and JH5 is hosting a comedy show for them, and for the general public.  Time to show the world why Canada rocks in comedy, so we are bringing them Jen Grant, Heidi Foss and others!  General public welcome; however, tickets are scarce so call today 600-7462!

5.  Tom Green:  The man just loves performing in Ottawa!  He is back again for two shows on Tuesday June 29th.  Call 236-5233 for tickets today!

4.  JH5 is excited about John Hastings DVD taping event:  July 15th at the Prescott Mr. Hastings is coming out from the shade to tape a DVD and CD at this show.  JH5 will be on hand to provide prized once the taping is complete, and all will be part of art being recorded, so get on out to watch this show!

3.  A general night of great comedy:  Seriously, Yuk Yuk's Ottawa brought Rob Pue, Derek Seguin and Alex Wood on the same show.  July 28-30, it will be an amazing show, go watch it, enough said.

2.  EVERY WEDNESDAY:  Yuk Yuk's is bringing you a comedy competition for both professional and amateur comics.  Celebrity judges, prizes, and non-stop fun.  Air conditioning + great comedy + $6.00 = EVERY WEDNESDAY IN JULY AND AUGUST.  Elgin location.

1.  Get ready for all:  This summer JH5 is also launching ticket sales for two of it's shows:  CHICKLES on November 17th, and an as of yet unnamed show featuring Boris and Michaels on October 27th.  Save that dough, support our charities, and head to our shows!  Summer is time to think about fall!  

So there you have it, things to do, people to watch, and tickets to purchase.  Join JH5 while we cover these and more events this summer, and cool off with comedy!  (most overused comedy alliteration to date)


Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Line Up

Anyone who reads this blog knows that Yuk Yuk's Ottawa will be the place to be each and every Wednesday evening this summer.  Steam Whistle Presents "Yuk Yuk's Pro Am Comedy Competition" will run it's course each Wednesday from July 6-August 31.  You will see great comedy, and people giving it their very best try. There will be professionals competing for a first class prize package to Toronto where they will perform for Yuk Yuk's.  Amateurs will compete for a Steam Whistle prize package, and an opportunity to perform on a Yuk Yuk's weekend; a huge step for one talented comedian.  

The real winners of the competition will be you the audience members.  Each week you can come down and enjoy great comedy in an air conditioned venue, AND you will have the chance to win fabulous prizes each and every week.  All this for only $6.00, so start reserving now!

Tonight JH5 worked in completing the registration process with a draw for spots for the competition.  There are six weeks of preliminary rounds; alas not every person who entered received a spot.  An extra three amateur spots where put in to try to get as many people in as possible.  The draw was 100% random, and some got lucky and some did not.  If you entered but your name was not drawn, you will be on a standby list in case one of the other comedians cancels, so one just never knows!

Without further ado, here is the line up (with late night apologies to any name or spelling errors):

July 6th

Francois Tousignant
Paddy Mack
Mark Adamson
Mark Nesseth
Derek McFarland

Graham Kay
Greg Schroeder
Wafik Nasralla

July 13

Scott King
Chris Timms
Dan Wire
Mike Daly
Ken Strangeway

Jessica Saloman
Nick Carter
David Rotenberg
Trevor Thompson

July 20

Eric Dolan
Skip Phillips
thierno djibril diouf
Chris Mulawyshyn
Adrian Cronk

Ed Gougeon
Don Kelly 
Geoff Mackay

July 27

Josh Williams
Mike Lynch
Kris Kinsbury
Colin O'Brien

Jason Harper
Alex Wood
Dave Atkinson

August 3rd

Kamar Haragon
Douglas Cheron
Brian Wherrett
Brad Sproule
Nick Flores

Matt Carter
Wendi Reed
Peter Gunstra

August 10

Amateur *Note no professionals competing this week*
Emily Olding
Greg Stringer
Shawn Gillis 
Ernest Szoka
Aaron Power
Jean Tallier
Jimmy Cassidy
Matt Watson

Best of luck to all competitors.  Each week JH5 will provide live tweeting from @yyottawacomp11, and blogging back here each week to discuss how it went.  

If you have any questions about the contest itself, please email  To make reservations to see the shows, please call 236-5233, and Yuk Yuk's will be delighted to take your reservations.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Jenn's Thoughts: Moving through the OOPS

As someone who has planned events and shows my entire life, and who has now turned this love of planning into a business in Ottawa, I have made and seen some pretty big OOPS.  OOPS can happen at anytime during the planning process, anytime during the show and anytime afterwards.  OOPS do occur in other segments of society, but those are called mistakes.  When mistakes happen in production/shows etc. it is called an OOPS, meaning it is really just a mistake but we are all way too into ourselves and must  make everything a big deal; what is show business with out the drama!

There are even fake OOPS:  Who remembers nipplerama when some young boy band singer ripped the clothes off a large breasted singer? (I will not say their names as I feel that would pay some degree of acceptance to the ridiculousness in what they did).  Out came a nipple and the word "Wardrobe Malfunction" became a household term.  These are not OOPS, these are publicity stunts, to which people are paid to come up with!  OOPS happen on their own, are not intended to occur, and can ruin a show or somehow improve it; it depends on the OOPS and how smoothly things are moving to start with.

Let me tell you about a big OOPS I once did.  Now this was for a government conference but it relates enough to show business.  I was young and it was my first big government job and first big event to plan in  the government.  I am so excited to manage this process, and show these government types how easy it is to plan events!  I had to get a logo  made, and did what I always used to do in the private sector:  I emailed a few friends for some ideas, flushed out the general concept and then would hire someone.  Wow, if anyone knows anything about government planning (which I now do, which also makes me a little sad), they know that this is NOT how you go about business in government.   I emailed three people.  THREE people for ideas for an Aboriginal artist to get an idea on price range.  Of those THREE emails, a mere 2500 people were then forwarded my informal message about "government looking to contract Aboriginal artist".  OOPS.  The fallout of this OOPS was 350 submissions within two days of something we had not actually asked for.  The moc-tel moved faster than gossip that mom's in rehab!  Now that's fast!  The fallout from this experience was that an OOPS happened, and I learned from it.  I also learned that the government has really stupid processes, but now, ten years later, I can say I understand the point behind them!  I really am old!

Last night I had a small OOPS.  It was very small, and still makes me laugh the day after.  I was producing Don Kelly and Friends, which by the way was an excellent show!  I said afterwards that I could carpet the world with my faults, but producing shows is something I can say I do quite well.  When people tell me on their way out that "they have never laughed so hard in their lives", or that "I was having a really hard day and I am glad I came, it really helped" I am reminded why I love producing these shows:  I like to bring joy to others.  I can't do it myself so I hire comedians to do it!  ;0)

Carrying on with my OOPS, we had a nice 50/50 draw.  I came on stage with THE Don Kelly and we pulled the winner, very dramatic, very exciting, we announce the winning numbers.  No hoots or hollers we look at the audience who turn back and say "we can't read our tickets".  It was DARK in the theatre.  I wittily said "um, we'll do this again later!"  (and we did).

I make much less OOPS now, as indicated by the show last night.   The point with OOPS is to make sure that each OOPS becomes a learning opportunity.  If the OOPS can be avoided, let's start with that, but if not then use the OOPS to grow as a person/professional.  The worst thing in the world is a multiple OOPSer.  (not to be confused with multiple orgasms; those are not so bad)  Someone who does not learn from their mistakes is bound to continue repeating them.  We as human beings have to evolve and grow ourselves, but also let go of our ego at times and grin and bear it. (cliche central tonight)

 Many people would quit over some of the OOPS I have personally committed.  I could spend weeks talking about them all, but let's focus on now:  I have learned from each life experience I have had, and continually try to get better at all I do.  There were days when I thought "just screw this, why try", but I do.  I get up each day and try a little harder next time.  Some old dude (I think it was Einstein but too tired from after party last night to bother looking) said "Success is just a series of going from failure to failure with enthusiasm!"  I love that and try to teach my kids the same!

I was going to write more about the show itself, but what was in my head was how we have grown, and how I as a feminist and promoter have to take a few minutes to event pat myself on the back:  Your event did not suck, congratulations!  (if you are heeding any of my advice today, this is important, keep your ego in check please)

Blogging after four hours of sleep the day after an event I have been planning for four months now seems a little OOPSy

Until next thoughts...

jenn h.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

WHO TO WATCH: Don Kelly AND Wendi Reed

Don Kelly

Don Kelly
In 1994 Rodney King was awarded close to $4M in compensation for being beaten by the police, Days of Our Lives wins the Best Show for Soap Opera Digest Awards, and Don Kelly attempts comedy for the first time.  It truly was a year for underdogs.

Those who are fans of Don Kelly  know that he is an undisputed talent.  When his name is mentioned at Aboriginal gatherings men admire, women swoon, and kids go crazy!  He is a household name, a star, and most will assume this was always the case.  Not in 1994 it wasn’t! 

When Kelly first hit the stage, he did it in a city (Ottawa) where he didn’t know anyone; if it went good then great and if he crashed and burned then no one would know.  As it turns out he crashed and burned for a good few months.  Unlike many newer comedians, Kelly had no stage acting experience, so he was leanring both the finess of writing jokes, but also learning to have a strong stage presence.  Confidence is half the battle, quotes Kelly.  He says that when on stage, you are the bus driver, and people are looking to you like you should know what you are doing!

Don Kelly and unknown Bitch
Kelly was a fan from age 7 or 8 when he first heard a Bill Cosby record.  He recalls everyone from all generations laughing together.  He wanted to have this kind of talent, to entertain people, and be appeasable to all generations.  A deep thought for a young child, but this is what he achieved.  Alas, it wasn’t until he was in his 30’s did he first attempt comedy!  He clearly has fulfilled his goal, as he starts on his own television series, "Fish Out of Water" and is in continual demand as a stand up comic!  All of this, yet he will never leave his other love, working for his people through his work at the Assembly of First Nations.  Kelly has it all, and to quote a ridiculously horrible song from the eighties, his future's so bright, he has to wear shades.  (yes, boo, I know)

Wendi Reed

Wendi Reed
Wendi Reed also began her comedy career in 1994ish when she was a very young woman.  Reed began her comedy career while dating a comedian. (not Kelly)  

She worked at her comedy, but had also been pursuing her career as the A Channel Morning Show Producer at the time, so comedy became second fiddle.  She recalls having to make choices, and said that comedy has always come naturally to her, but she never really put in the time to make it work.  Balancing lives is something women do every day, and Reed is no exception.

When Reed does hit the stage, it is a natural feeling to have here there.  She riffs on depression, excessive drinking, dating an Aboriginal man, and does all of it in the sweetest voice and demeanor possible.  Although Reed has been in and out of comedy these past 17 years, when she has been in, she has been IN!  Reed has starred in Centrepointe Theatre Gala's, gigs in Ireland, and has shared the stage with greats such as Mike Wilmot and Emo Phillips.

The Couple

Spoiler Alert:  They get married
Reed and Kelly knew each other for five years before they truly noticed each other.  Actually back up, they knew each other for five years before Reed truly noticed Kelly.  Kelly had a crush on her from almost the beginning!  He saw her on stage once and jokingly told a friend “I am going to marry her, or someone just like her!”  As it turns out, he got the real deal, and he thanks his stars each day that a girl as wonderful as Wendi looked his way.

Yes, they are this sweet all the time!
Their wedding was the social ball of the comedy world.  Mixing traditional Aboriginal culture in their ceremony to having a comedy show at their wedding, this was a day not to be missed!  They had good friends Wafik Nasralla, Rick Currie, and Jeff Tanguay perform for them.  They have lived happily ever after since that day five years ago!

The Couple and Comedy

Both Kelly and Reed had their first paid gigs at Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa, the leader in quality comedy entertainment for over 25 years!  Back in the day, the first paid gig was to headline a Wednesday evening.  They both eventually moved to weekends and then Kelly moved onward and upward while Reed moved in all directions, being successful in all her creative and professional endeavours. 

When asked what their favourite venue to perform at, Kelly says the Pantages Playhouse in Winnipeg, while Reed is torn between Centrepointe Theatre and Murphy's Laughter Lounge in Ireland.  Kelly also mentions his fondness for an outdoor show done each year with many comics.  He says  his good friend Rick Currie was once on stage howling as part of his act.  Kelly recalls all the dogs outside howling alongside Currie, making fun for all!

Kelly’s comedy “heroes” are Mort Sahl, Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Brian Regan, and Mitch Hedberg.  Reed also enjoys Hedburg, Derek Edwards, Greg Giraldo, Rick Currie and Irwin Barker.  When asked who they most enjoy spending time on stage with, one of them immediately named the other one and the other one named Emo Phillips, which made for an awkward moment!  They both though agreed on Phillips, Wilmot, Edwards, Jen Grant, Allyson Smith and more.  Too many to count!

When asked if Kelly and Reed write jokes together, the both say  no very quickly.  Don Kelly feels his partner and wife Wendi Reed has such a unique voice that it is almost impossible for someone else to write for her.  Reed is very busy and although ideas may bounce around, they do keep it separate.  

As time has gone on, they have often shared the stage together.  It makes sense for bookers, two talented people, one hotel room!  A dream for cheap comedy bookers!  Joking aside, their comedy plays well together.  That is why JH5 is excited to present them at Don Kelly & Friends on June 11, 2011.  When asked who Kelly would like on stage with him, the first person he said was "Wendi Reed".  He clarified it is not just because she is his best friend, and partner for life, it is because she is funny.  Comedians would share a stage with their arch enemy if it made for a better show, so it is a double bonus that Wendi Reed is funny AND a "friend" of Kelly's.  He also chose a few other's, who will be profiled very soon!

If JH5 ran the world, there would be a television show with Wendi Reed and Don Kelly hosting each week.  It would be a variety show, very Sonny and Cher like, without all the drugs of course.  They apart have amazing talents and personalities, but together, they are unstoppable!  They have always been WHO TO WATCH, and JH5 is proud to profile them, and to present them this weekend at the Bronson Centre.  For tickets please call 600-7462.

Tomorrow Dave Atkinson and hopefully Wafik Nasralla will be profiled on JH5.  We would love it if you dropped a note to let us know what you thought of our article, and any other topics you would like JH5 to cover.

All our relations,

josh and jenn hayward

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Steam Whistle Presents the "Yuk Yuk's Pro-Am Comedy Competition"

As mentioned in an earlier blog, Yuk Yuk's Ottawa will be the place to be this summer to watch comedians perform at their best is a summer comedy competition sponsored by Steam Whistle, Live 88.5, and JH5 Promotions. (us)

Media Sponsor of Competition
Full information on entering the competition is below, as well as appropriate contact information.  All comedians welcome to apply, and JH5 encourages ANYONE to come give it a try!  If you think you are funny, sign up and cross it off your bucket list!

Steam Whistle Presents the "Yuk Yuk's Summer Pro-Am Comedy Competition"

Each Wednesday in July and August at Yuk Yuk's Elgin Street location, the best of Ottawa's local comedy scene will compete for bragging rights and great prizes. There will be both a professional and an amateur winner.

Judging will be by an esteemed "Whistle" panel of judges from our sponsors and community media partners.  

Preliminary rounds begin July 6
th.  There will be 6 preliminary rounds each consisting of amateur spots and pro spots per evening. There will be a nightly amateur winner and a nightly pro winner.  Semi final rounds will be held on Wednesday August 17th and Wednesday August 24th.  Semi final winners will compete head to head for the finals on August 24th.  

Starting June 8th, comics can apply online at or by following the contest link from All interested parties will then have until June 21 to email their intent to enter the competition.  Please clearly indicate your interest to participate in the contest and whether you are amateur or professional.  Professionals are defined as anyone who has ever been paid to do comedy on a Yuk Yuk’s stage.  Include your name, phone number, website and twitter handle if you have one.

All registrations received by June 21 will be entered into a lottery draw:  one for professionals and one for amateurs.  The draw will take place LIVE at Yuk Yuk’s, 292 Elgin Street on Wednesday June 22nd at 8:00PM!   Lineups will be posted to the proboards on June 23rd.  

All comics, amateur and professional are eligible to enter. No experience required.  
Tickets are the usual price of $6 per person.  
Tickets will be $12 each for the finals.

Contestants are required to arrive one half hour before show time to draw the running order out of a hat.  Anyone not there for the draw automatically gets the first spot(s) and they start drawing with the next spot after the late comers positions.  i.e. if 2 people are late for the draw then the comics present start drawing from position three onward.  
In the case of a tie both contestants move on to the next round.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact:

Jennifer or Joshua Hayward
(613) 600-7462


1. TO ENTER Steam Whistle Presents the "Yuk Yuk's Summer Pro-Am Comedy Competition" (the "Contest") simply email your interest to, or follow the contest link from All entries must include your name, ten digit day and evening telephone numbers and a verifiable e-mail address, and professional or amateur status. Please include your twitter handle if you have one.  Contest starts at 12:00:01 pm Eastern Time ("ET") on June 8th_ entries must be received by 12:00:00 a.m. Eaten Time ("PT") on June 21, 2011 (the "Contest Period"). There is (1) grand prize.

2. Performances must be conducted in the English language and consist of stand-up comedy. Prize sponsors, promotional and advertising agencies and administrators, are ineligible to enter. All Judges will be independent.

3. All comics, amateur and professional are eligible to enter. No experience required.  Professionals are defined as anyone who has ever been paid to do comedy on a Yuk Yuk’s stage.  

All registrations received by June 21 will be entered into a lottery draw:  one for professionals and one for amateurs.  The draw will take place LIVE at Yuk Yuk’s, 292 Elgin Street on Wednesday June 22nd at 8:00PM!   Lineups will be posted to on June 23rd.  

5. Contestants are required to arrive one half hour before show time to draw the night’s running order out of a hat.  Anyone not there for the draw automatically gets the first spot(s) and drawing will start with the second spot. If 2 people are late for the draw then the comics present start drawing from position three onward.   
6. By entering this Contest the entrants and participants automatically agree to accept and abide by these Rules. All decisions of the Contest Producer(s) with respect to any aspect of this Contest, including without limitation the eligibility of entries, are final and binding on all entrants in all matters as they relate to this Contest.

7. Contest is subject to all applicable Canadian federal, provincial and municipal laws and regulations. By entering this Contest, each entrant consents to the collection, use and distribution of his/her personal information (information that identifies as an individual, such as home telephone number, age and home address) by the Producer(s) for the purposes of implementing, broadcasting, administering and fulfilling this contest. Any inquiry concerning the personal information held by the Producer(s) should be addressed to Yuk Yuk's Ottawa, PO Box 20464, 390 Rideau Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 1P3.

Friday, June 3, 2011

WHAT TO WATCH: Allyson Smith at Yuk Yuk's Ottawa

Allyson Smith headlines Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa Elgin location this weekend. As my readers know, I never miss a female comic when they come through town, so out I went last night. I was NOT in the mood for comedy; I was pissy, grumpy, and was annoyed I wasn’t in my jammies snuggling with jh1! Let’s get this over with were my general thoughts.

The crowd was young, and filled with a large birthday party for a young woman. The crowd was filled with spirit and spirits, and they were ready for their host! The music plays and out comes Mr. Mike Harrison, a young comedian originally from my Saskatchewan. No matter my mood, I already like him because we both have Green Pride, GO RIDERS! He was in fact a very good host. He spent a strong amount of time doing crowd work, engaging in banter with the young audience members. He spends a great deal of time focusing on one young lad, because this lad has a smile that does not go away. He could literally grin from one end of the room to the other; it was both appealing and creepy. The host naturally goes after him in a friendly manner and everyone enjoys it. Mr. Smile does not lose his smile during the entire show. Even I, with my grumpiness, am a bit inspired by him. Harrison spends a bit of time educating a young lady not to text in the first row, really folks, don’t text in the middle row, the back row, and if you want to walk out with dignity, never ever text in the front row!

Harrison invites local talent Greg Schroeder to the stage. Schroeder, a teacher from Ottawa, takes the stage with the confidence only an 11th grade school teacher could have! He delivers a top notch performance discussing his children and his life. He has a newer bit on dream catchers that I as an Aboriginal person loved beyond belief. Schroeder has great timing and his comedy is intelligent. The young (and apparently intelligent) crowd gets him, and enjoys his entire set. Great job Schroeder! I am slightly lessened in my grumpiness, so thank you.

Harrison comes back out, and does two jokes and I won’t say what happened, but when he says “this is the most unprofessional I have ever been” I am laughing hysterically because I thought he handled a situation amazingly! If you want to know what I am talking about you have to go to Yuk Yuk’s and speak to Harrison yourself! He then introduces the middle act….

Out RUNS Trixx to perform his comedy. Trixx, apparently famed by Much Music Video on Trial, (like I have cable) is very energizing to the audience. He begins his work by breaking out the fact he is the only black person in the room. Oh boy, I roll my eyes, is he going to do just racial humour for 20 minutes?? My grump comes back a bit, which is ironic as I do many cultural jokes as well! Good thing I was wrong, he has many jokes on various subjects. He is what I would describe as more of a mainstream comic; he does not tackle challenging subjects or thought provoking jokes; however, he delivers what he does with a cool style that makes everyone like him! He is a comic one likes right away, then becomes unsure, then really likes him again. He is in fact retro music. He is playing his entire set at the Prescott, and I am sure he will entertain the masses with more of his humour and style, and leave the young white girls swooning.

Harrison does some more jokes, one that makes me laugh out loud, and I am unsure if grump is gone or not, but for sure it is lessened. The kids (now referring to this young Thursday audience as “the kids”) really enjoy him! He introduces the talented and beautiful Allyson Smith! Five minutes into her set Ms. Smith has my grump entirely removed! She is one of the smartest comedians I have met. She, a former teacher herself, has a commanding presence, energetic voice, and writes jokes that appeal to both genders and all ages. The kids are laughing as hard as I am. In her act she has a few jokes that the youngin’s don’t get because they were not alive to enjoy the music stylings of Kriss Kross (man I want to wear my pants backwards now) and other 90’s references. She smartly pushes aside the rest of her retro kind of jokes and gears her set to the mainstream. When she did veer back into “old people territory”, she looked at me and we had a secret exchange of “oh these kids today”.

I have seen many female comedians, and many of them have been very good, and a couple have been great, but rarely have I taken so quickly to a comic like Allyson Smith. The last time I felt like this in comedy was when I first saw Jen Grant! Talent is talent, and then there are those who are destined to become superstars, and Smith has a strong future ahead of her! I would describe her as a feminist comic. I don’t mean she doesn’t shave her legs or armpits and yells about men, in fact the opposite, she really loves men. By feminist I mean she tackles subjects such as the ridiculousness of Brownies, the stereotypes of women, and takes on pop culture with finesse, style, strength, humour, and amazing vocals! She is a must must must see! That’s right, three musts! I can guarantee you she will be on a JH5 production in the future, without a doubt!

Readers of my blog, of which we are sitting at about 200: This is why I love comedy. I come to a comedy club in a funk almost as big as the size of my derriere, and leave in a great mood. Not just a great mood, a fantastic mood! All the comics were good in their own way, but Ms. Smith is why I support comedy so vehemently. She is talented with her writing and performing, has a natural style, and leaves the stage with everyone in the room, regardless of age of gender, wanting more. There was a line up to purchase her CD at the end of the show, and this is something I have not seen before. No one left that room in a bad mood, and Ottawa was better for having her here.

No matter how you feel tonight or tomorrow, I suggest you get out and see Ms. Smith. She is more than WHAT TO WATCH, she is going to soothe your soul with her talent. For the small price to get into Yuk Yuk’s Elgin, money could not be better spent! To reserve your tickets (GO NOW) call 236-5233.
Jenn hayward

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Comedy Competition

The end of this blog has a big announcement regarding a comedy competition in Ottawa this summer.  STOP!  Don’t you dare skip the rest of the blog to look!  What if we put some hidden gems and hints in the middle? We won’t but here’s our blog entry on the power of competition!

Competition exists in our daily lives in various formats.  We compete for our jobs, we compete in sports (not me but I have heard others enjoy this), and we compete to get a seat on the bus (watch out pregnant women and old ladies!!)  We live in a world of Darwinism, survival of the fittest, and so far, if you are reading this, you are doing quite well in the competition in life!  (if you disagree with this statement and you are not a starving child in Africa, get some perspective; you are doing just fine in the grand scheme of things).  

Many hippies and beatniks like my in-laws will state that it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, just as long as we all have fun.  Maybe this is true, but if you ever sit and watch these type of people, they themselves are having a competition on who can be the most “organic”, the most “at peace”, or having the most “fun”.  Of course fun is important, and of course it doesn’t matter who actually wins or loses, unless of course you are the winner or loser.  Those who are at the top like being at the top, they get rewards for being at the top.  Those who are at the very bottom are likely not having that much fun.  No one likes to suck so bad at something that everyone else around you feels sorry that you are even participating.  The exception is cutie pies like my daughter who sit on the ground and play with flowers while in the position of goalie during soccer.   Top or bottom matters, but those in the middle, they may be any portion of happy to have made their personal best, annoyed they aren’t doing as well as they could, or in fact they may be happy just to be playing.

Talent competitions are all the rage right now.  Pretty much every art form has the word “Idol” after it, in which participants sell out their talent to get ahead in fame and fortune.  Critics of art based competitions say that art is objective therefore there can be no winners and losers.  They say there is no basis to compare two artists, as they do such significantly different things.  How can one compare Josh Grobin to the Axl Rose, Picasso to my children’s paintings, or a prop comic to Doug Stanhope?

Critics may be correct in some elements, and not everyone is happy with the outcome of competitions.  In the end though, competitions bring attention and awareness to the art form, provides a platform for artists to display their talent, and gives everyone the motivation to up their game, even just a little bit.  Competition also provides a forum for promoters like JH5 to partner with the best in the business, and bring the public quality, high energy shows!

Last September we at JH5 knew we wanted to do a comedy competition.  We were planning many events at the time and put it off for the time until the timing was right.  When we became ready to move into action, we approached the only business in the city that we felt could bring this vision to life in a way that promotes quality and means something.  Bragging rights of “best comic of some bar” would not cut it for us.  We wanted a business that’s names stands on it’s own for quality comedy entertainment.  We wanted to work with a business that is well known in the community for their charitable giving, excellent fundraising programs, and who have staff that have 100% passion for comedy.  We of course chose Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Cabaret in Ottawa!

Together JH5 and Yuk Yuk’s have created a summer comedy competition.  Apologizes for the alliteration, but it will be a sizzling summer for comics in Ottawa!  Yuk Yuk’s worked on creating further partners for the competition, with media partner Live 88.5 - Ottawa’s Alternative Rock, and Steam Whistle Brewing providing the prizes for the winners!  Four businesses coming together to help celebrate the amazing comedic talent in Ottawa; this is something you don’t want to miss!  The official name for the competition is:  Steam Whistle presents the Yuk Yuk's Summer Pro-Am Comedy Competition.

The competition will begin Wednesday July 6th, running each Wednesday until August 31, and in order to bring fair and equitable balance, there will be two different levels of competition.  One will be professional comics:  defined as anyone who has been PAID to perform comedy at Yuk Yuk’s on a weekend.  This includes all headliners, middle, MC and spots.  You are paid ergo you are professional.  For those not yet Yuk Yuk’s approved for weekend performances, this is your time to shine!  
The second level is amateur level aka everyone else including those currently working to get ahead in comedy, and those who have never been on stage before.  If you think you might be funny, this may be the time to give it a try!  There have been many cases in the history of comedy competitions where someone tries comedy for the first time during a competition and wins or comes close!  Why not give it a try?  Winners will receive bragging rights and a prize.

If you don’t think you are ready or have no interest in performing, then spending the summer supporting local talent in Ottawa in an air conditioned venue is also appealing!  Every time you attend a Wednesday evening at Yuk Yuk’s this summer watching the comedy competition and come back to JH5 on facebook or twitter to tell us what you thought of the show, you are entered in a draw for Yuk Yuk tickets, promotional merchandise, event tickets, and more!  (a future blog will spell out the specifics!)

Okay, if you are a comic or a comic wannabe, you are now staring at the computer saying “GET TO THE POINT LADY, HOW DO WE ENTER????”.  Okay, okay, stop shouting, here you go:

How to enter:

  1. Go to and register.  The proboards will be where lineups are announced, information is shared, and a place for all things Ottawa comedy.
  2. The official rules and regulations will be announced on the proboards on June 8th.  An email address will be provided, and you will email your interest in competing.  The email will not be announced before this time, so no early bird entries!  You will be able to state ONE preliminary round that you are not free.  Let’s face it, summer is busy, so if you have one week of vacation planned, you may still enter the competition.  If you are busy during the last three weeks in August for the semi-finals and finals, then you may want to reconsider.  If you plan on winning, then plan on being here in August!
  3. All interested parties will then have until June 21 to email their intent to enter the competition.
  4. All registrations are then put into a lottery draw:  one for professionals and one for amateur.  No preference will be given to any comic.
  5. The draw will take place LIVE at Yuk Yuk’s, 292 Elgin Street on Wednesday June 22nd at 8:00PM!   Lineups will be posted to the proboards on June 23rd.  
  6. Judging will be done by the media partner and other highly regarded Ottawa personalities.  JH5 and Yuk Yuk’s will not participate in any judging.  To answer your next question:  No one from JH5 will be entering this competition, that would hardly be appropriate!
  7. For more information please contact Jennifer Hayward 613-600-7462 or

      This is really a Yuk Yuk's competition, and we at JH5 will assist through manage the administration of the entries, and keeping comics informed via the proboards all they will need to know, while Yuk Yuk’s will do what it does best, and that is host and produce the quality show each and every week! 

      I have to say that we at JH5 could not be happier with this partnership.  Yuk Yuk’s has continually brought the highest quality comedy to Ottawa  for over 25 years, and it is an honour to partner with them.  Check back to our blog regularly for tips, promotions and information about this competition.  The blog is for the general public, while the probards are for comics only!

      This summer the ONLY place to be on Wednesday evenings is Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Cabaret!  I know we will see you there!
      Josh and Jenn Hayward