Category Archives: Comedy

You are cordially invited to come see me make jokes

Comedy sensei David Granirer has teamed with Vancouver comic Al Hassam to launch a new open mic night Wednesdays at La Fontana Caffe. It debuts tonight.

And I’ll be hitting their stage for a set at their October 15th show, to which you are cordially invited. It starts at 7:30 pm. There’s no cover charge, and the venue (on Hastings Street at Boundary) gets a lot of love on Yelp.

Book your free seat now at 604-298-4004. See you there! Continue reading

Join me at Twestival!

I’ll be performing a stand-up set at Vancouver Twestival, the Twitter-centric fundraising event taking place Saturday, Sept. 12 from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at Ceili’s Irish Pub and Restaurant. (Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not the gentleman featured in the photo that Google Maps displays.)

I love the spirit behind Twestival – 200 local Twestivals happened last time around in cities around the world – and Rebecca Bollwitt is a total mensch for organizing it again. This year, the funds raised through ticket sales and a silent auction will go to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation – an added bonus, because I’ve been working closely with them on their Be a Superhero Facebook app and personalized video.

Better yet, you get to enjoy the company of chanteuse Rachael Chatoo and Erica Ehm… and a bunch of community-minded, thoroughly Twitterfied Vancouverites. It promises to be a blast.

Get tickets and more details here. I hope I’ll see you at Twestival!

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Happy landings, Royal Canadian Air Farce

The Air Farce Comedy AlbumFittingly, they picked April Fools’ Day to announce it: the Royal Canadian Air Farce is coming in for a landing.

In 1978, my parents took me to see the Farce’s original lineup – Luba Goy, Don Ferguson, Dave Broadfoot, the late John Morgan and Roger Abbott – performing at Camp Fortune, in the Gatineau Hills just north of Ottawa. I was crazy for the radio show, laughing at every joke whether I got it or not, and the live concert was absolute heaven. As the night dimmed into darkness, the light on the stage only got brighter – and there, right there, were the people who hosted those voices, who delivered those hilarious lines, who did that magical thing of making me laugh.

I can’t say that’s where my drive to become a comedian began – I’d been a smartass for years – but it sure helped to kick it into a higher gear. What helped even more was just how generous they all were with their fans. I still have the Air Farce album they all signed for me that night.

A few months later, Air Farce performed again, this time right in Ottawa. And again, they were delighted to meet their fans afterward – and Don Ferguson, probably my favourite cast member at the time, was tremendously gracious when this 15-year-old pressed a typewritten, heavily-Liquid-Papered radio script into his hands. He promised to look at it, and I went home in a state of utter bliss.

You know how these stories end: a form letter, maybe a nice little note wishing me luck?

What I got back was a long, long letter filled with notes for punching up the script, tightening the story, making it funnier and faster. And if the story ended there, Don and Roger, who I seem to remember also contributed some notes, would be mere saints.

But it didn’t. Here’s what lifted these people into the status of gods to me: Don connected me with Gord Holtam and Rick Olsen, the two writers who’d joined the show a year before that concert under the Gatineau stars. And they invited me to pitch – even though the show didn’t use outside writers (something I didn’t know at the time).

That began a process of rewrites and intensive assistance on their part that ultimately saw two of my ideas combined into one tight sketch. I got a cheque for a little over a hundred dollars, and saw it performed and recorded at the CBC’s Cabbagetown studios.

My words. Performed by the biggest stars I knew. Making an audience laugh. And all in front of my extended family – after I’d been taken backstage and introduced to the cast as one of the writers for that night’s episode. And if memory serves me, I hadn’t had my 16th birthday yet.

Think about what that would mean to a kid. Set aside what it meant for my confidence as a comedian (it was huge) – just imagine the inner resilience that kind of experience builds. Imagine how long the echoes from the audience’s laughter and applause would have lasted in my mind.

Whatever time using my ideas might have saved them was easily eaten up by the time Rick and Gord spent working with me to make them usable. This wasn’t a business proposition; it wasn’t developing a potential supplier (remember, they didn’t actually use outside writers); this was sheer good-heartedness.

And the experience lasted a lifetime. I’m a writer. I’m back in comedy. And during those times when I doubt my skill at the funny, I can still conjure up the echoes from Cabbagetown.

Thank you, Don, Roger, Rick and Gord – and Luba, Dave and John.

Thank you, ladies and germs of the BC NDP

I hope you had a quarter of the fun I did last night.

I headlined the Friday social for the BC NDP convention, a karaoke pub night sponsored by the Young New Democrats. (Wisely, they asked me to do stand-up rather than singing.)

And even though it was my first time onstage in a year and a half, it went swimmingly. The best response of the evening came for a line that occurred to me only a few hours before I went on: “My kids are at that magic age where the right wing doesn’t give a damn about them: too big to be fetuses, too small to be young offenders.”

Thanks to organizers Erin Sikora and Sam Heppell – it was a great evening.

Stand Up for Mental Health: Sat. Nov. 17, 7:00 p.m.

From my friend (and standup instructor) David Granirer, this year’s Stand Up for Mental Health grad showcase is coming in two and a half short weeks:

Stand Up For Mental Health: Grad 2007 Showcase, Sat Nov 17, 7:00 pm.

Led by Vancouver counselor, stand up comic, and author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and Success.  David Granirer, Stand Up For Mental Health teaches people with mental illness to take control by turning their problems into comedy.

Featuring our 2007 class and alumni comics doing hilarious new material!

Also featuring psychiatrist Judy Allen making her comedy debut and discussing treatment options!

When: Saturday November 17.
Time: Doors 6:15, show at 7:00 pm.
Location: Arts Club Granville Island Stage.
Tickets: $24. Arts Club Box Office (604) 687-1644

Get there early and buy a Stand Up For Mental Health shopping bag made from 100% recycled jeans only $15.00!!!
David will also do a booksigning
Buy these great Christmas presents and support a great cause!
All proceeds from bags and books go to Stand Up For Mental Health

Stand Up For Mental Health was featured in the CBC documentary Cracking Up.

Catch my comedy act on Friday, Oct. 27th at the Laughing Bean

I’ll be one of the contestants in the Search for the Funniest Comic With a Day Job Contest, and my night’s coming up at the end of the month.
It all goes down at the Laughing Bean Coffee Company (map)
2695 E. Hastings (2 blocks west of Renfrew.)
tel. (604) 251-5282
Friday, October 27th – 7:30 pm

You’ll want to call first and reserve a seat – it fills up quickly – and I’d love to see you there. (Laugh very, very loudly, please.)

Sometimes mental health IS a joking matter

From my stand-up comedy instructor, David Granirer:

Stand Up For Mental Health: A Happy Neurotic Grad 2006
Sunday November 12
Arts Club Theatre, Granville Island

Featuring our 2006 class and alumni comics performing new material! Led by counsellor and stand up comic David Granirer, Stand Up For Mental Health teaches stand-up comedy to people with mental illness as a way of building confidence and fighting public stigma.

We’re also celebrating CBC’s The Passionate Eye documentary on us that will be aired on November 16 at 8:00 p.m. on channel 03. It’s a huge boost in the fight against stigma. And we’re launching David’s book The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and Success.

All proceeds from book sales at this event go to Stand Up For Mental Health
6:00 pm – Doors open for silent auction, cocktails
6:45 pm – Booksigning
7:30 pm – Show
Tickets are only $22.00 each, available through Ticketmaster (604) 280-4444, on the web or contact (604) 205-9242. For group discounts: buy 10 tickets for only $200.00. All money raised goes to our alumni program!

Funniest Comic with a Day Job Contest IV

From the fevered and fecund imagination of David Granirer comes this news:

The Search for the Funniest Comic With a Day Job Contest starts on Friday, Sept. 22 at the Laughing Bean Coffee Co., 2695 E. Hastings, 2 blocks west of Renfrew.

I’m up on October 13th 27th; show starts at 7:30 pm.