This third annual Waterloo Comedy Festival is on this weekend. We'd bought VIP passes some time ago that gave us access to the opening night Gala on Thursday and to one show each of Friday and Saturday. This weekend also happens to be the 20th annual University of Waterloo juggling festival and since Ian was asked to be in that show tonight (Saturday), we gave our tickets for tonight's comedy show to friends of friends.
We did go to the Opening Gala on Thursday and to the show on Friday as well. The Gala was held in a United church which is a very strange place to host a comedy show. Comedy is irreverent and usually inappropriate and listening and laughing to the jokes feels a tiny bit disrespectful while sitting in pews facing a big stained glass Christ figure and cross.
Chris Gibbs, a British citizen who's settled in Canada, opened and emceed the show. He was the funniest of the six comedians who performed that night. His humour was a bit self-deprecating and was a refreshing change from the usual sex, marriage, and dating jokes. The other two comedians in the first act, Rob Pue and Nile Seguin, were sort of funny. Nile Seguin had some strange jokes about being biracial and Rob Pue had an angry sort of energy about him; he ended his set with some strange joke about pumping athletes full of steroids so that when they competed their bodies came apart.
The second act started with another brief appearance by Chris Gibbs followed by Todd Allen, Sean Cullen, and Brent Butt. Todd Allen's funniest joke was about a big, fat cat he adopted named Steve but he took the joke a little bit too far into "I was calling for my cat Steve while wearing a bathrobe and slippers in a gay neighbourhood." Sean Cullen was sick and looked terrible, as though he needed to be in a hospital. He did a couple of songs and told some jokes but it seemed like he wasn't really trying to do his best. Brent Butt was funny in that self-deprecating way of his. He was funny, sure, but not as funny as Chris Gibbs.
Friday night's show was held at a club, or rather a normal venue. There were only three comedians which was also more like a normal show. First up was JJ Whitehead, a Canadian living and performing in the UK. He was so funny - at least as hilarious as Chris Gibbs - just in the way he told normal, everyday stories like what it's like to interact with a bank when the bank calls you. He connected with different members of the audience that poked a little bit of fun but wasn't insulting.
Next up was Steve Dylan, who didn't seem to be all there and who only really got going when he started talking about how much he loved drinking. The man is clearly an alcoholic and I just don't find alcoholic-type humour all that funny. The drunks sitting to the right of us loved those jokes, of course, but they were well-lubricated and ready to accept that kind of humour.
Lastly we saw Sean Cullen again. Unfortunately, he started with the same jokes he'd given us the night before so some people walked out. He did tell the jokes better the second time so it wasn't a complete waste of time, seeing him again. After he finished the first song he started new-to-us material which was fairly funny. He handled the drunks next to us very well although it was clear to everyone else that he was laughing at them and not with them. The drunks couldn't make such fine distinctions.
Of all the people who performed, Chris Gibbs and JJ Whitehead, were hands-down the funniest and I'd love to see them perform again. All in all, the shows were entertaining and I'm happy that we went. I'm sorry that we missed tonight but I'm ok with that decision. It was more important that Ian be at the juggling festival and it's better that Gozer not be left alone for the evening again.