Published Dec 01, 2018It's December and 2018 is almost over! It will be remembered as the year that Ariana Grande wrote a song about her most famous ex-boyfriends and also when scientists told us that we ruined a planet so bad, we're all going to die very soon. That Ari track is fire, though. Also on fire soon: the Earth.
Canada's only exclusive stand-up and sketch comedy label, Comedy Records, has teamed up with Exclaim! to launch the Comedy Records Showcase, which takes place on the first Thursday of every month at Wenona Lodge (1069 Bloor St. W) in Toronto. Show times are at 9 p.m. sharp!
Our December 6 edition brings favourites Clare Belford, Garrett Jamieson, and Pat Burtscher back to our series and so we asked them to reflect a bit upon the year of Ariana Grande/the final countdown.
Clare Belford is originally from Edmonton, AB but moved to Toronto three years ago. She views the year that was and technically still is, as bittersweet.
"This year has had so many ups and downs, it's nuts," she says. "That universally revered comedian was outed as a predator, 'lost everything,' and then returned to performing nine months later. Equally as monumental and tumultuous, my weekly show, Comedy on College, went on hiatus for the summer, and then made a victorious return in the fall. A real rollercoaster of a year across the board if you ask me.
"My only real source of stability and consistency in 2018 would be my continued blood feud with fellow Exclaim! showcase performer Pat Burtscher. I look forward to using most of my time to verbally attack Pat Burtscher. Should be fun!"
On the brighter side of things, Belford does view certain people as heroes who made the last year a joy.
"A lot of my favourite Toronto stand-ups had a phenomenal 2018. Chanty Marostica, Nour Hadidi and Nick Nemeroff are all good friends of mine who had great years, and you'd be wise to check out any one of 'em. I'd be lying though if I named anyone as MVP other than the staff at Pour Boy Pub, where Comedy on College happens every Tuesday. Give it up for your wait staff, folks!
"In all honesty though, our servers and bartenders are wonderful."
Garrett Jamieson is from Winnipeg, MB but has been living in Toronto for years and performs in town a lot.
"The biggest comedy news story for me is each and everyday something seems to out-top and out-funny the day before," he says, when asked to reflect upon laughter in 2018. "A specific story in comedy isn't a comedy story per say: it's when Watson, the IBM AI, aka HAL),won a debate!
"What makes this a comedy news story is all in speculation, but in my mind Watson is gonna be doing standup comedy next. It won't be long until people go to see Watson live at the Skydome, former Air Canada Centre or at the Exclaim!/Comedy Records show. Watson is what the public wants in comedy.
"You can program Watson not to offend anyone. Watson is perfect. It'll be a utopia! And me being a comic, I'm not worried about Watson taking my job. I welcome it. Trying to make people laugh is tiring. I think I'm gonna start doing this comedy thing for myself and if anyone wants to laugh with me that's all cool. So before Watson — he or she or 1 or 0 — hits the scene, why not come to the Exclaim!/Comedy Records show and watch what standup comedy will used to be."
Beyond our show, catch Jamieson do two shows on December 26 at the Handsome Daughter in Winnipeg, where he'll be co-headlining with Kim's Convenience's Ben Beauchemin.
Pat Burtscher calls Toronto home but originally hails from Graz, Austria. This year, he took public transit and magic happened.
"It was a very grey, drab and dingy day," he recalls. "I was heading west on a bus with Garret Jamieson, and our journey was taking much longer than usual, due to traffic that was due to construction that Garrett knew about. He knew about it because he went through it on the way to where we met, but for whatever reason thought it wouldn't affect travel on the way back. That's right, I'm throwing Garrett Jamieson under the bus in a story about us on a bus. Oooh yeeaaah, we're getting meta on the metro!
"Anyways, Garrett and I were just talking trash about how he and the bus were meant for each other, because they were both super slow. As we were doing so, the bus passed a bus stop that had been moved due to construction. Someone on the bus, who was obviously a stickler for tradition, wanted to get off at the aforementioned traditional stop. However, this opportunity was not afforded to them due to the stop being closed, as was stated earlier in this wonderful story we are currently in the midst of. Much like the construction that Garrett Jamieson, myself and everyone else on the bus found themselves in the middle of.
"Anyways, this non-renegade, maverick-less stickler of a human was so blind to all of this and with no use of the word please or any other pleasantries yelled at the driver, 'LET ME OFF THE BUS!' And then before I could even finish the thought, 'That's ru…' someone else on the bus retorted with the utmost eloquence, 'Hey lady, are you new in town? Sign right there says the bus stop is closed. Cause I'm new in town and I still figured it out." All the air got sucked out of the bus, and for a brief moment in time nothing moved. And this moment of ultimate stillness was followed by the release of what many of us have grown to know and love as laughter.
"Now, I will not lie. Some laughter was stifled and some was free range. Regardless, it was the best moment and biggest story to me in 2018. Why? Because of the juxtaposition of the marriage of the aware and unaware. Someone who was so off-point was met with someone who was. And the high speed collision of the two complete opposite sides of the very same coin resulted in a payoff that was beyond beautiful. He was the moment, he made that moment and everyone on that bus really lived for a moment.
"Now I have no idea if this works in print, so, it may not be bringing even close to the amount of joy it brought to each and every soul on that there bus. But believe you me, it was something wonderfully beautiful!"
Come see these people say goodbye to 2018 on Thursday December 6 at the Wenona Lodge.
A ten-dollar ticket includes a pint of Steamwhistle; you can buy tickets in advance here.