Tyler Dombroski & Jnet Lavoie Check out The Uptown Waterloo Comedy Festival
Uptown Waterloo Comedy Festival
You know you’ve just experienced a worthwhile comedic show when your buddy turns to you and says “My face hurts.” The Uptown Waterloo Comedy Festival was side splitting – as they say – fun! I started the night off at The Embassy to see Chris Gibbs: Gibberish. He started the show off with being fairly interactive with the audience. Of course the heckler that started in the moment Gibbs took stage only helped lead to that initial tone. Gibbs doesn’t bother wasting time bickering back and forth with hecklers, he just gives them something that they won’t really be able to respond to, in this case “Your glasses are on top of you head, just in case you’re looking for them later.” Entirely not intended to derive a laugh at the heckler but to merely shut him up, and it worked! From there Gibbs continued on his set up by thanking the sponsors, welcoming groups of guests throughout the room, getting everybody involved in what was going on.
Now of course one of the things you always here about comedy is about how it’s all in the delivery. Gibbs cleverly tells the story, often from the different perspectives of those involved, in a way that creates a picture in your mind. He builds this visualization so that you can see the awkward situation in your head and emphasizes the humour in the awkwardness. Once he gets to one of those moments of amusing awkwardness, of which there are often several, he pauses allowing the audience members to fully picture it as they chuckle. His delivery and British humour inspired wit suited the space and atmosphere perfectly. Definitely fortunate to have had that intimate setting.
After the Embassy we headed over to Cinema One at Princess Twin. Paul Myrehaug opened the show by, similarily to Gibbs, interacting with the audience by pointing out “The most awkward seats ever” that were directly beside and quite close to the stage. I always like the gradual development of a joke or series of jokes and that is essentially what Paul does. He starts at a normal speaking level and gradually builds in both tone and volume as he progresses through the story or series of related jokes. This is mirrored by gradual chuckle building to roaring laughter of the audience. He also makes good use of timing and pauses, like Gibbs, allowing the audience to visualize the odd and awkward things he’s discussing.
The second comedian to grace the stage was Pat Thorton. Now pat is more of a visual comedian, acting the scene out on stage. He makes great use of facial expressions and body language. When setting up the story or basis of the joke he speaks directly to the audience at normal volume. Once the joke is set up he then glances just above or off to the side of the audience giving the illusion of being back in the moment and starts acting out the scene. He adjusts his tone and volume accordingly, at times having to pull the mic away as he was full out yelling. I can never help but be sucked in and laugh till it hurts by such animated comedians.
The headliner was the ever energetic Debra DiGiovanni. I’ve seen her on TV before so I had a certain expectation and she did not disappoint. I love the energy that Debra infuses into her show. I find her style to be different from her peers in that she’s less about the visualization and makes it feel more like a conversation where the entire time she’s speaking directly to the audience. This allows her to fully play on her sarcasm, side comments, and tangents as if she’s everyone’s super hyper friend who is perpetually amusing without even trying. It’s hard to breath during one of Debra’s shows because you don’t stop laughing for long enough!
If you missed it this year don’t fret, it’s annual and only getting bigger and better with each year. You have a full year to practice trying to catch a breath between laughs.
Uptown Waterloo Comedy Festival:
3 nights of absolute gut busting, grin spiking fun!
Walking into a massive church hall with Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue blasting over the loud speaker and a giant stained glass Messiah overlooking the mic stand, I know this year’s Uptown Waterloo Comedy Festival is going to be the coolest thing since peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
The only thing that could make this show better than it already is with a line-up including Rob Pue, Sean Cullen, Brent Butt and many more is if George Carlin himself, was raised from his grave and placed on stage dressed like Buddy Christ, the holy man of comedy himself. I’m glowing with joy knowing this is just the first of three nights of incredible comedic talent. All of which, is going to be well documented in an awesome spread for the first ever Velvet Rope Collector’s Edition this April!
-Tyler “Tyski” Dombroski
© Jameson Photography & © Machado Photography
For Randie Leanne’s coverage, please click here!