Local Comedy Scene Starting to Flourish
By Jon White, Multimedia Reporter
For a while, Prince George seemed to be lacking any kind of stand-up comedy presence. The Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club shut down well over a decade ago, leaving it difficult for willing patrons for go out for a night of comedy. That has changed over the past few years, as there has been a steady stream of comedy shows being presented to citizens in town, and the results are impressive.
Local restaurant Nancy O’s holds stand-up shows for two nights in a row, every month. In January, Brett Martin took to the stage, while local comedians Bryce Lokken, and Brian Majore opened Thursday, and Jon White and Devon Flynn opened Friday with Mike McGuire MCing both nights. While there were still some tickets available for the Thursday show, the crowd was energetic and enjoyed themselves. The Friday show was sold out; many patrons had to be turned away at the door due to not having purchased tickets earlier, but the crowd that night was lively and laughed consistently.
Martin is no stranger to comedy, as he has done his own Comedy Now special, as well as appeared at the San Francisco International Comedy Competition and recently released his debut CD Free Trips to Afghanistan. His jokes range from observations to social commentaries, all while ensuring continuous laughs between entertaining anecdotes. For February, Nancy O’s is bringing in comedian Ivan Decker, who, according to his bio, was recently named “Funniest comedian in Canada under 30,” giving Nancy O’s a reputation for continually bringing quality professionals to their establishment.
Not to be outdone, local pub The Cowboy Ranch is starting to host comedians. Last month, Tom Bassett MC’d for headliner Bryan Bertram and opener Kelly Dyer, and this month Bassett is MCing for headliners Carter Hortie and Mike Craigdallie. The shows at The Cowboy Ranch have been on the same nights as the Nancy O’s comedy nights so far this year, so if one place is sold out you can check out the other. While options are good for consumers, the limited amount of comedy shows operating on the same night may end up cannibalizing the scene. Ideally, for the maximum amount of exposure, the shows should be on different weekends.
Local charities are also making sure to tap into comedic talent for their events. Damonde Tschritter came to Prince George and Vanderhoof in order to help out the Kinsmen and Kinettes, respectively. Damonde is a veteran to the stand-up scene, and was the first Canadian to win the Seattle International Comedy Competition in 27 years. He also has his own Comedy Now special, along with appearing at numerous comedy festivals. His jokes range from personal stories, such as the time he stole a vehicle in order to make it to town, or observational humor about how asinine weather reports are. The range of comedic styles had the crowd frequently in stitches, and he left to a thunderous applause when he finished his set. The Kinsmen hosted their 13th ‘Stand-up for Charity’ event on 25 January, with headliner Damonde Tschritter making his second appearance at this charity event. The charity event raised plenty of money for cystic fibrosis, as the show was sold out and tables were donating hundreds of dollars in order to skip the buffet line. Mike McGuire was the MC for the evening, with local comedians Brian Majore, Bryce Lokken, Jon White, Virginia O’Dine and Mark Wheeler opening. The Vanderhoof Kinnettes also hosted their fifth charity event the previous night, with McGuire MCing, and Bryce Lokken and Jon White opening for Damonde Tschritter. The Kinettes were raising money for the Ruby Van Alden Cancer Clinic. Both the Kinsman and the Kinnettes events were sold out, with some late comers being turned away who did not purchase tickets prior to the event.
Damonde Tschritter – (NSFW) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZKDzzSoFuU
With multiple sold out shows and a few local venues, it appears that Prince George’s comedy scene is starting to thrive again. However, there is still no dedicated club for these acts. Perhaps the demand for an exclusive comedy club is not there yet, as seen by the shut-down of Yuk Yuk’s so long ago. With the recent turnout to local comedy events and a handful of local comedians ready to take the stage, it seems that there is a building demand for comedy in Prince George. The turnouts make for an optimistic future for comedians to come to town. For those that want to see more of these shows, be sure to head out and attend these events, as well as the open mic nights, that spring up around town. The only way to make sure these comedy events continue to happen is to vote with your wallet. So far, the audiences from the before mentioned shows have been quite positive, as the comedians are showered with frequent laughs and applause. So, if there are any comedy fans in Prince George, be sure to flock to any of the events and show your support. With any luck, more comedians will come to town. There is clearly a future for comedy in this town, and it is only a matter of time before an exclusive comedy club opens. With many local comedians ready to step up and perform, Prince George should be more of a hub for comedy shows.
If you are interested in any of the local talent, there are links below for some of the comedians during some of their sets.
Bryce Lokken (NSFW) http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_4RbNmPfpAw
Brian Majore (NSFW) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qra2uyNg2kI (CD available on iTunes)
Mark McGuire (NSFW) http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5ktn1LmQ1vU
Jonathon McMillan (NSFW) http://m.youtube.com/results?q=Nancy%20o’s&sm=
Jon White (NSFW) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUj3PEhQ5f0