Another day, another 3 comedy shows! My friends Mike and Sacha (both recent Tim Minchin converts) came in from Kingston to join me for some shows.
Tom Wrigglesworth – An open return letter to Richard Branson
I should give my background here. I had a ticket to see this show in Edinburgh last year. I even queued up for the show. But I had really awful food poisoning that day and couldn’t face an hour in a hot room without the very real possibility of vomiting on someone. So I went home and slept off the food poisoning. I was kindly informed by my friends who did attend the show that it was amazing and that I had really missed out. So I was very happy to find out that it was made into a BBC Radio 2 programme. I listened to that, loved it, and still regretted having missed out in Edinburgh. Needless to say, I was delighted to hear that Tom would be performing the show in Montreal! The fact that I had already heard the story did not detract at all from the night. Tom’s storytelling style is wonderful! He paints a beautiful picture with words and adds wonderful little details for extra comic effect. Some things didn’t quite translate to a Canadian audience. After the show Tom asked me if we used the word ‘bell-end’ here... we do not. He also inquired about the concept of ‘health and safety’. I’m familiar with it because of the amount of UK-based comedy I watch, but it’s not called the same thing here. And I can’t figure out what we call it either. The concept translates, but the wording doesn’t. Despite the story being rather UK-centric, the audience really enjoyed the show! It was great to hear a proper storytelling show rather than the series of jokes that I’ve been seeing recently! Tom also won over my friend Sacha who had to run from the bus station to get to the show on time. I briefly said hello to Tom after his show, he was a lovely man who asked what else I was seeing and decided to tag along to the AMP’D music show later on.
Tim Key – Slutcracker
Tim was in the same venue as Tom just half an hour later, so I took back my front row centre seat and got comfortable. I hadn’t seen Tim perform live before and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I loved the show! The first thing I noticed was that the stage was littered with things; books, toy cars, a typewriter, a cake, a violin case and a massive fridge. If you haven’t seen Tim live, his character is a shambolic poet, he recites poems and shows little videos as well. Tim came out on stage in a track suit jacket and trainers, so his first order of business was to change into his suit and shoes on stage. He then poured himself a beer into a large glass, took a sip, then handed it to me. Front row centre made me the beer bitch. Throughout the show he would just look at me and hold out his hand... that was my queue. Key started the show by reciting a few poems which he was ‘reading’ from the various notebooks that were in every pocket of his crumpled suit. The poems ran the gamut from silly to strange to downright terrible but it was all brought to life by Tim’s delivery and commentary. Part way through the show, during one of the videos that he played, Tim disappeared into the audience. When the lights came back up he was standing on a table in the second row. He was going to try to get onto the fridge without touching the floor. He had brought up the idea of this game a little earlier, but it was still fairly silly. He commented that this is usually harder cos the tables near the front were meant to be filled with people (the audience was a little sparse for the show, and those who were there cowered at the back instead). He climbed over chairs onto the stage and made us decide between standing on a book, and standing on a cake. Clearly the cake was the popular choice. It always is. So he took off one shoe and the sock and stepped onto the cake, then with his other foot onto the typewriter. Then he looked over at me. He asked me to come up onto the stage and that was when I started to worry. I was expecting to get cake on me. Instead he simply asked me to hold him up while he put his sock and shoe back on his cakey foot. He must’ve trusted me cos I ended up supporting most of his body weight. Good thing I’m strong. I then brought him his beer. He asked if I’d just carry him to the fridge, but I’m simply not strong enough for that. He got a rather stronger man to do it instead. While Tim and the man were scrambling to get up the fridge Tim grabbed the empty wine bottle on the fridge and tossed it at me. Luckily I can catch and wasn’t too drunk. I wonder how often Tim gets dropped or the wine bottle gets broken. After this little interlude of madness Tim read some more poems from atop the fridge. I also forgot that his cup of beer wasn’t mine and took a swig. Oops... The show ended with a few more poems and some videos. I loved it! It was my favourite show of the festival so far! I will definitely be booking my ticket for Edinburgh (and maybe try not to get stuck as the beer bitch again). Tim came out after the show and I said hello. I apologised for potentially weirding him out in the bar the previous night and reminded him that I was the one who made the 24 hour show book for Mark. That seemed to ring a bell. He thanked me for being the beer bitch and for supporting the show... literally. After a brief chat I went back to the hostel to meet my friends before we went off to our late night show.
AMP’D was described as a musical comedy show and I thought it was going to be just Beardyman and Minchin. I was wrong. Beardyman was the compere of the show. He is an amazing freak of nature! An unbelievably talented beatboxer the entire audience were in awe of his skills. He did some beatboxing just with a microphone, then went behind a mixing table where things got really interesting. He took suggestions from the audience for 2 different kinds of music, then with the aid of layering from the mixing table, he created a fusion of the two. The man has amazing skill. So I was a little surprised when he introduced Axis of Awesome. I like them, so I was happy to hear them play. They did ‘Four Chords’ everybody’s favourite! Sadly, they wimped out on including ‘Canvas Bags’ like they usually do since Minchin was on later in the bill. After Axis of Awesome and another Beardyman interlude another act was introduced. I don’t know or care what their name was. It was a double act, who had quite good vocal skills but did a tedious song about the ‘shocker’ (two in the pink, one in the stink for those who aren’t familiar). It’s generic groups like them who give musical comedy a bad name. The woman who was next was even worse. She was a larger lady and came onstage in a ‘dress’ that was so short you wonder if it’s a shirt. She basically sang about being a bit of a slut and flashed her see-through black thong at the audience. Her act was showing her minge on stage. Classy. To make matters worse, for her second song she had 2, 10 year old girls come out and accompany her. It was the worst thing I’ve seen in a long time. Poor Beardyman had to get back the amazing party atmosphere that was happening before she came on stage. Luckily the man’s fucking brilliant, so he did, then introduced Bo Burnham. This was the 3rd time in the last week that I’ve seen Bo do that same 10-15 minutes and his stuff doesn’t hold up to that much repetition.. I seized the opportunity to go for a wee. As I popped out of the room I spotted (and probably freaked out) Jarred Christmas by saying ‘Hi Jarred’ quite excitedly, but continuing on my beeline for the bathroom doors. I rejoined my table for the rest of Bo’s set and some more of Beardyman’s brilliance. Last up was Tim Minchin! At this stage I will just say, to anyone reading to PLEASE GIVE MINCHIN A PROPER PIANO!!! He was on a keyboard again for this show. His first song was a half-improvised duet with Beardyman where Tim was self-deprecatingly saying how hard it was to follow really great acts. After that, Tim fully improvised a song about the construction going on in Montreal. I love improvised songs. It’s such an impressive skill. Then Tim played the ‘Pope song’ encouraging lots of audience participation. Last up was ‘You Grew on Me’ again. Either the house lights were up higher than I realised, or Tim had seen where I was sitting before he went on stage, or a freaky coincidence, but he directed most of the song right at me. To the point where the eye contact started to freak me out a little. What can I say about ‘You Grew on Me’ that hasn’t been said? I love it. The show ended to lots of rowdy applause and I went to try and sneak my friends backstage to find Minchin. That didn’t work. Then we somehow ended up in the upstairs bar where Tom Wrigglesworth, Tim Key, Jarred Christmas, Jim Jeffries/Jefferies and company were all hanging out. I seized the opportunity to briefly say hello to Tom and have a bit of a longer chat with Key. Sacha and Mike (my friends) were standing slightly awkwardly to the side so I introduced them to Tim Key. When Jarred Christmas came over I said hello to him again and explained that I knew him (and Key to a fair extent) off Jon Richardson’s show. I didn’t stay for too long as my friends wanted to go see if Minchin was outside. We waited outside the doors for a bit, but we never saw the big ginger hair so I assumed he had snuck out. Instead we went to a little pub nearby for another drink (a water for me... I was quite intoxicated by that stage) and then home to bed.
I’ve got 3 shows to see tonight, then I have to leave this beautiful city and the amazing comedy times tomorrow morning. Tonight I’ve got the ‘Down Under’ show with Jarred Christmas, Rove and Minchin followed by the solo shows of Jim Jeffries and Jamie Kilstein. It’s gonna be a good night!