Archive for April, 2012

First printed in Velvet Rope Vol. 1, Issue 7 / Feb. 19-25 2012

By:Tyler “Tyski” Dombroski

Hello to the humble readers of VR! Let me say, it’s an honour to be sharing this column with you. There’s an ever growing buzz surrounding the stand-up comedy scene in our region, and I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of perspective from behind the scenes with some of Canada’s rising stars of comedy. In a world full of frowns, I think we need to shed some light on laughter, so do enjoy!

Most times I find it difficult to recall with great detail different events in my life. However, my 20th birthday is one that I will always be able to recount with a great deal of enthusiasm and it holds the inspiration for this first interview. My friends and I were front row, stage right, and seated in a cozy ‘L’ pattern when the show started at Kitchener’s own Yuk Yuks. The main act Mark Forward, a comedian that I have drawn great inspiration from in my own work and who encouraged me (unknowingly) to take that first step into the lime-light just a few years later. When my friends and I went to Mark Forward’s show, he was fresh off of having won the 2005 Canadian Comedy Award for ‘Best Stand-up Newcomer’. He was also gearing up for what would become another good year when he took home the ‘Homegrown Comedy Competition award presented by the people of ‘Just For Laughs’. Mark has a knack for taking trivial life observations and turning them into long lasting tangents that would forever alter one’s outlooks on just about anything. Reeling you in with whispered monologs that taste like a dash of insanity sprinkled over genius, Mark’s comedy style has more push and pull than a lawnmower starting up for the first cut of the summer. He’ll mow you over with laughter no doubt about it.

In anticipation of his long awaited return to Kitchener’s Yuk Yuks I asked Mr. Forward if he could lay down an interview with me and share a little bit of his own perspective on being a funny man. This dude kick-started my brain and turned me onto stand-up, so who better to kick off this column? Enjoy.

Tyski: How long have you been doing stand-up professionally or otherwise?

Forward: 10 years

Tyski: Do you recall when you first started as a comedian, what was it like taking those first steps?

Forward: It was terrifying, yet exciting at the same time. I mean, if I didn’t enjoy that terrifying  experience I wouldn’t have gone back.

Tyski: Much like everything these days, there are sub-classes that help identify a comedian’s style or in some instances warn the audience. If you had to, what would you call your brand of humour?  What can people expect from one of your shows?

Forward: I get asked this a lot, in many different ways. I would say mine is a touch absurd, not much is grounded in my reality. I don’t talk about my life in anyway. So, as you can see, I’m not really sure how to describe it, but that’s the best I can do.

Tyski: Many comedians and comediennes can recount certain indicators in their life that in retrospect, defined their path to becoming a stand-up comic. How did you finally know you would become a touring comedian? Who Influenced you?

Forward: I was doing theatre for two years, and realized that it wasn’t for me. I loved performing, but wanted to do it on my terms, So what better way? You are the writer, performer, director and producer when you do stand-up.

Tyski: There’s an ongoing battle between the comic and the heckler, just the word ‘heckler’ evokes a certain level of angst for people of your profession. So what’s your take on the subject? I would guess that the rest of the show can depend  greatly on your own reaction to a heckler, do you have a formula for dealing with them?

Forward: There are good and bad hecklers, there are people that are just playing along, and they have good sense of comedic timing, and it’s playful. I don’t mind that. It’s the people that feel it’s their right, that they are helping (that aren’t so good). Most will sabotage a whole show, then want to shake your hand after “because they helped you”. I’m not a fan, I used to get angry and fight, now, I more so leave it up to the rest of the room, because I have always been so surprised that a room full of 200 people will let one person ruin their night. That to me is odd.

Tyski: Do you have any juicy stories to share about a situation where you encountered a heckler?

Forward: There are so many stories! From rubber chickens being thrown at me, cops being called, vomit being carried out with a table cloth. A woman was so angry at the audience one night, that they sided with me, that she went out into the parking lot and threw rocks at their cars.

Tyski: On a more positive note, could you share with us one of your best moments on stage? Furthermore, what has been your favourite stage to perform?

Forward: I got the opportunity to play Massy Hall, that was huge for me, such a great space. Always playing ‘Just For Laughs is a huge thrill for me. But the best thing was when I went to L.A and did the LATE LATE SHOW with CRAIG FERGUSON! That is the highlight so far.

Tyski: From my understanding you have a reoccurring roll on the new CBS television series Mr. D. Can you share some details about your roll on the show?

Forward: I play the Librarian, an odd angry man, raised by chinese parents. He is a strange dude.  🙂  But I would rather play that than the nice guy. 🙂

Tyski: Well, we’ve reached the end here, but I must ask you, do you have any parting words of wisdom for fans, potential comics or just the world in general?

Forward: Stay positive, we all expect too much, and just try and remember you are doing this because you love it, not because of what it will bring you. Corny I know, but I really believe it. I used to get angry for nothing. It’s not worth it.

There it is readers, life in a nutshell for one of Canada’s best. Mark Forward boasts a large list of TV appearances including a special on Comedy Now! As well as appearance on The Newsroom, Degrassi: The Next Generation, and Double Wedding. If you would like more info please feel free to visit http://www.cbc.ca/mrd or go to his website for complete show listings at http://www.markforward.com. You can catch his act live at Yuk Yuks in Kitchener, located under the Walper Hotel (1 King St. W.) on February 24th and 25th. Reservations can be made at http://www.yukyuks.com. Stay tuned ladies and germs for a one on one with Rebecca Kohler and other seriously funny Canadians.

 
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 Having A Laugh While Raising Awareness.

Tyler “Tyski” Dombroski with Paul McCallum

I originally had planned a colorful introduction to the start of this edition of Seriously Funny, Mr. Paul McCallum. However, the ambassador to The Muleholes and the Rockin’ Stand-up Comedy brand has far more important issues to present to you, the Velvet Rope audience. Case in point, and the subject of discussion, the Friday, May 4th presentation of Komedy For A Kidney. A benefit show for one of Paul’s good friends.

Tyski: Paul, you are “The Super Hero of Comedy” , but now it really seems like you’re being called to duty with the Komedy For A Kidney show at the Delta Hotel in Guelph. How did this super-group of comedic talent come to join forces for the Lee Clark Benefit & Comedy Show?

Paul: My first comedy production was a show at the Guelph Little Theatre in June 2011.  It was a fantastic success, so I had planned to make it an annual event.  I was just starting to contact venues in Guelph about booking a potential date for the 2nd Annual Muleholes Show, when I saw a Facebook update regarding an old high school acquaintance – Lee Clark. 

I was aware that Lee often posted articles emphasizing the importance of organ donation, but on this particular day her post was in response to an old classmate of hers, who was inquiring  as to how her own battle with kidney disease was going…

Right then I thought to myself, what if we could do a show that could generate enough publicity that it ultimately led to Lee getting a Kidney?! I immediately sent Lee a Facebook message, but didn’t expect to hear from her for a few days. She was online at that moment and we were soon on the phone with each other putting together the basis for what has become this show!!!

Tyski: Lee Clark must be incredibly thankful for the efforts of yourself, Mark Mathews, David Green and your headliner, K. Trevor Wilson. Did you ever think that your own talent for laughter would ever be put to such a noble use?

Paul: When you first start out doing stand-up, all you want to do is survive getting up on a stage, followed by getting off stage with some shred of self-dignity left……  Once you have done that successfully a few times i.e. ‘just survive’, your next goal is to start to actually progress at the art of comedy……  so I guess no, in the beginning it had not occurred to me that one day someone could use their comedic powers for such a great cause. Overall I do think it is noble to want to make people laugh and consequently maybe bring a little bit more happiness into their day, that they may not have otherwise had. 

Tyski: What can you share about the other three comedians on the bill for this show? I assume you have worked with them all before, how would you describe each of the acts involved?

Paul: I have had the pleasure of working with Mark Matthews on several occasions, in various comedy venues over the past year.  Mark is as seasoned as you can get in this funny business, and I appreciate immensely any advice he would bestow on me after I finished a set.  Further, Mark has opened for the likes of Gilbert Godfried, Jimmy JJ. Walker, and toured with Jerry Seinfeld – so I was enthralled by his road stories that he would share with me about those guys.

 

After initially speaking with Lee, I came up with the name Komedy for a Kidney.  When I Googled that moniker, I found there was already a show called ‘Komedy for Kidneys’ which was put on annually in the Niagara region by none other than Mark Matthews! 

 

As I researched further, I was informed that Mark was actually himself the recipient of a successful Kidney transplant seven years ago, which was in-part why he produces his annual show in Niagara Falls. 

 

When I contacted Mark to ask if I was encroaching on the name of his trademark show, he was more than willing to come to Guelph and personally host the show on Lee’s behalf!

 

As for K Trevor Wilson, I have been a big fan from the first time I had the pleasure of sharing a stage with him at the Yuk Yuk’s Laugh Off Competition finals in Kitchener last year.  He has since gone on to do the prestigious televised Winnipeg Comedy Festival and he is the only two-time winner of Ian Atlas’s Comedy Brawl that hosts over 150 comics each year vying for the title. I had been after him for quite a while to come to Guelph to be part of a Muleholes show, and this cause was the perfect vehicle for him to agree to do it !!!

 

David Green has also been one of my long-time favourites whose English dry wit will undoubtedly add that extra spice to the show!

Tyski: Can you share the details of Lee’s condition and why this show is so very important to her? What is the overall goal for this event?

Paul: Lee Clark is a friend, sister, daughter, wife, Mother & a member of our community and Lee has kidney disease. Lee needs to find a compatible kidney donor! She is in end-stage renal failure – without a kidney transplant, she will be on dialysis. Proceeds from the show will be provided to Lee for financial support as she navigates through her medical crisis, to ease the burden of associated out-of-pocket expenses.  Equally, this is a “Night of Life & Laughter” for awareness, not only to help sustain Lee, but also others facing organ transplant.

One thing I found particularly enduring about Lee when we were discussing the possibilities of producing this show, was that despite her own need for a Kidney, she was selflessly more interested in promoting the overall importance of organ donation in general.  And therein we have the true nobility of this production.

Tyski: I ask all comedians to share their own words of wisdom with the  stand-up fans, potential comedians and comediennes, and just the world in general.What would you like to offer the readers today?

Paul:  To potential comics – Just get up there and do it!!

To the readers of Velvet Rope and Seriously Funny fans…. One donor can save 8 lives!  If you haven’t done so already – register for organ donation at www.beadonor.ca (Did you know that signing your organ donation card is not enough – now you must be registered to be on the Ontario Trillium Gift of Life Organ & Tissue Donor Registry.  As of today – only 21% of Ontarians are registered – those numbers need to increase drastically!)

 

Finally, a sincere thanks to all the residents of Kitchener Waterloo area who regularly come out to support local Comedy – and don’t forget to Laugh!  If you haven’t been out to a great comedy show lately, May 4th at the Delta Hotel Guelph is a great place to start!

Tyski: What’s next for The Super Hero Of Comedy?

Paul: Comedic World domination while bringing attention to worthwhile causes!!

Tickets for the show are available through http://www.themuleholes.com , or http://www.ticketscene.ca/events/6169. If you cannot make the show, you can still show support by purchasing a ticket. The Delta Hotel is providing the location and staff, as well as discount packages for those who wish to spend the night, just call ahead at 519-780-3700.

Best wishes in advance to these seriously funny comedians, K Trevor Wilson, Mark Mathews, David Green, and of course, Paul McCallum. Good luck to Lee Clark and those in need. We’ll keep you posted on the results of the event when I sit down with Paul McCallum and get in deep about his own adventures in the art of comedy.

Tyler Dombroski.

First Published in Velvet Rope Vol.1 Issue 6 / February 12-18, 2012

By: Tyler Dombroski

An insurmountable nervousness hovers around me when I step into the line-up. With only 4 other people in front of me waiting for their dose of the 5 minute rush, I go over the “if’s” and “but’s” in my own mind knowing full well it’s going to be smiles ear to ear by the end of it all. The adrenaline that courses through a person when they anticipate the ups and downs of this well engineered ride is composed of what most people would not wish to stomach on their best day. This short thrill ride is made for a select few; some people are even too timid to watch such a thing and attempt to understand how we all do it. My friend however, tagged along for peer support as well as for their own fun-filled experience. Waiting patiently while others go through the loops, ups, downs and sideways thrusts, my friend turns to me and asks “Are you getting nervous?”. To which I answer only with a quickly darting grin out of one side of my face. Maintaining my composure is absolutely necessary to fully enjoy what’s about to come. Now the 4 people before me have made their way through the line-up and I’m being ushered to the front. It’s not my first time, and it won’t be my last, but the anticipation always shatters the ego and reduces me almost to rubble. Self-doubt comes in like the tide of a salt water beach trying to shatter you from behind the knees. Just as I get to the front of the line the roar of applause is there to boost my own enthusiasm and fasten me into the roller coaster I call stand-up comedy.

Thursday, January 26th 2012 was the first round of 4 preliminary rounds in a Yuk Yuks sponsored competition that every novice comedian looks forward to and prepares for every year, The Great Canadian Laugh-Off. I didn’t intend on performing, but Jack, the manager and co-ordinator asked me a question that I only know one answer to. When he shook my cold hand of death he presented the question “Hey, you wanna perform tonight?”. So with nothing prepared for the evening other than drinking and enjoying the show I said, “Give me a couple minutes to consider it” and within seconds I gave him the affirmative nod. As a wise voice once put it “It was on like Donkey Kong”.

The evening of January 26th had a certain air of familiarity to it. Perhaps because only 364 days prior to that I had done my very first set at Yuk Yuks, and it had coincidently been the first round of the 2011 Laugh-Off. That’s a whole different article all together. Regardless of how many times I’ve gone on stage, prepared or not, I always get the jitters. Filling up with nervous anticipation even if I have a general plan,uncontrolled variables can be thrown at you when you get up there. Now that is where the real fun begins! Will we encounter a saucy heckler? Will I even need the material I have prepared, or will me and the crowd hit it of nicely in a jovial jarring of the ribs? That microphone is my safety harness, and if used appropriately, will ensure that everyone enjoys the ride.

There’s never a dull night at the Yuk Yuks comedy club here in Kitchener, but I always look forward to the Laugh-Off. Sure, maybe I carry a bias because I get to strut my comedic gusto all over that centre stage, or maybe it’s because laughter really IS the best medicine and the Great Canadian Laugh-Off has just the right dosage to go around for everyone. Our community is full to the brim with comedic talent and it’s all right in our own back yard. For the next 3 weeks there will be a healthy competition between our region’s best. With the first 2 rounds in the books we have just 2 more preliminary rounds left to help decide the second half of the final 8 that will contend on February 23rd. Just 3 more Thursday nights to decide Kitchener’s number one. I don’t intend to miss a second of the action. In fact, I’m even gonna squeeze myself back into the line-up for the February 16th final preliminary round. I do warn those of you who read this and have a spark of curiosity, or a hunger for something outside of the average night of song and dance, once you crack a smile, you are bound to laugh soon after. Take solace in the beckoning of laughter that bleeds out into the Rum Runner Pub, up the stairs, and into the cold crisp February air at 1 King Street West in Kitchener. Take advantage of the talent that will be offered for the next 3 Thursdays at Yuk Yuks. Take your job and shove it… well OK, don’t do that, but think of all the big names that were birthed in basement comedy clubs during amateur showcases like this one. Jim Carry, John Candy, Tommy Chong, Tom Green, Nikki Payne, Howie freaking Mandel!

There’s no better time to have a laugh than during the Yuk Yuk’s Laugh-Off when the talent is sharp, and every comic is bringing their own flare to the spotlight. Not to mention the fact that the door fee is only $8.25. The Yuk Yuks downtown Kitchener venue is a nice, intimate room that many comics will proclaim as one of their most favourite rooms to perform. Accommodating just under 200 guests, there’s not a bad seat in the house, and sure it looks like your parents’ well kept basement, but it’s home. Why not pop your head in once in a while, but if you’re getting on this roller coaster ride, make sure to leave your sunglasses in the car. For more information, please feel obliged to go to http://www.yukyuks.com for contact information and regular reservations.

Tune in next time, we’ll start the ball rolling on some one-on-one interviews with some of Canada’s current rising stars including Rebecca Kohler, Mark Forward, Rob Pue, and heck, maybe I’ll even recount some of my own juicy stories from the mic stand. For more play-by-play on the Great Canadian Laugh-Off make sure to add my page: http://www.facebook.com/tyskistandup.

Much love and even more laughter,

Tyski

First Printed In Velvet Rope Vol.1/ Issue 13/ April 2012 Collector’s Edition

Walking into a massive church hall with Dr.Feelgood by Motley Crue blasting over the loud-speaker and a giant stained glass Messiah overlooking the mic stand, I know this year’s Uptown Waterloo Comedy Festival is going to be the coolest thing since peanut butter and banana sandwiches. The only thing that could make the opening gala better than the already incredible six comic line-up including Rob Pue, Sean Cullen,and Brent Butt, is if George Carlin was raised from his grave and placed on stage dressed like Buddy Christ, the holy man of comedy himself. I later suggested to Sean Cullen that Carlin could very well be the Jesus Christ of comedy, to which he yielded, “Well, he has a beard.”

Executive Producer Phil LeConte has struck a light and managed to make each night of the festival unique in its self; growing subtly from one massive gala to multiple stages,and then to an entire day of comedic performances including the incredibly impressive Family Variety Show. It was nothing less than a marathon for Phil and his “favourite group of misfit volunteers” and event staff. This being the third annual, the Uptown Waterloo Comedy Festival is quickly becoming one of Canada’s best hot spot, must see comedy festivals.

“I didn’t know that it was going to be so successful. The first year we ran really simple; we ran nine comics, nine shows, at three venues.” Phil commented on the magnitude of the festival’s growth, “Last year we added a one man show and a family show, this is our first year really going big.” As an aspiring stand-up artist myself, I not so secretly want to see my name on the list for future festival dates, until then, I just sharpen my skill and see if I can get a few tips. Commence the schmoozing.

The opening gala was well worth its weight in the collection plate. The two-hour special at the First United Church was hosted by Chris Gibbs, who would later wow audiences with his one man show Gibberish at The Embassy over the weekend.Gibbs also provided the witty banter as event staff sent actual collection plates around for donations to The FoodBank of Waterloo Region. An incredible amount of $942.08 was raised, and through some imaginary money multiplier, each dollar donated will be used to buy $7 worth of food. With the Chris Gibbs fast math, that came to $6594.56. Or is that how much I had to claim on my tax return last year? No, I’m pretty sure that is in fact what the UWCF raised for the food bank. Awesome, I know.

The rest of the opening gala was full of good hand shakes between comics,plenty digs at the less lavishing surrounding cities, and continued respectful jarrings of the religious ‘elephant in the room’ scenario. Even Rob Pue made a quick pause at the microphone, took in his surroundings, and then let out a mischievous grin that to his many fans in attendance was hilarious all by its self. I asked Rob what he thought about performing in the church, expecting some mini version of an angst driven diatribe about faith and religions. Instead he said, “It was good. Great acoustics in there eh? When you get a laugh in there it hits you like a wall!” He makes a small swooshing gesture. Being that he was in close proximity to a TV that was broadcasting the hockey game, it becomes apparent that he is at least partially subdued. Having gotten to know him a bit over the past year I pay it no mind and we carried on with some small talk.

At first commercial break, I managed to slur my words when I asking my next question, this with only one pint and two rum n’ cokes, but the final result was “What is your favourite tool to take with you on stage?”

He’s got a sense about what I’m digging at, so he takes it in stride and replies “Experience… and smiling through hard times. If you can smile through it, it’s ok.” He chuckles a little as he says it.

“So an experienced smile is the key,” I think I’ve got it now.

“Yeah, you’ve got no choice, some times all you have to draw on is an experience. That’s what makes it hard when you start, you have nothing to draw on ya know? You’re just left there with your wiles.” There’s that grin again. The one that says he know’s where I’m heading and I know where he’s been.

A few more words with Rob and then we shake hands, he finds his way to some old friends and I turn to meet Brent Butt, who just closed out the first night of the festival and has a line forming almost the entire length of the room. Most of them look at me with eyes of fire, others listen in on our insightful conversation as I ask Brent what it’s like being the Canadian ambassador of comedy. His first reaction is astonishment, but after some assurance he humours the suggestion.

“For me it hasn’t really changed. The motivation behind what I do, why I do it, and what I enjoy about it has all stayed the same. Some of the venues are bigger, but it’s kind of a trade-off because I don’t get to do stand-up as much now as I used to. I have to concentrate on TV and showbiz so there’s a lot of production requirements and obligations. So the thing I love to do, stand-up, I don’t get to do as much anymore. Its kind of strange; once you get successful enough the thing you like to do you don’t get to do as much. I still do you know, like 50 tour dates a year, I used to do like 200.” To which Velvet Rope and myself must extend infinite thank you to everyone involved in the UWCF for making Waterloo one of his stops. I took great pleasure in meeting most of the volunteer staff and I will say this much, their hearts are in the right place, and they must be commended. Phil has surrounded this festival with nothing but the best, from ticket rippers to big-ticket performers.

After stopping to chat briefly with Chris Gibbs and Nile Seguin, who’s TV special will be sauntering across your flat panel screens very soon, I spotted the ever illusive Cullen at the bar entertaining some fans. Politely I waited until I could take the opportunity to introduce myself and my ever reliable photographer for this event John Jameson. Cullen, with his adaptive nature, found his way to an open Bible during his gala performance, and conducted his own humour riddled sermon while reading an actual passage that depicted a specific biblical character healing a blind man, I thought that was a good place to start our interaction.

” Yes, that was a real verse from the Bible! I was just looking at it during the sound check and I was like, wow! That is a weird story! And it’s true!” Cullen recounts.

“Really?” I say with a good-natured laugh, almost like a giggling school boy.

“Well, according to the bible it’s true,” he responds with a near serious tone, and then whispers “don’t go into the village.”

In retrospect, the fact that Cullen found the only book left in the room after event volunteers and staff had diligently replaced all the hymn books and Bibles with UWCF event programs, should come as no surprise. Being that he himself is an established writer of at least a hand full of humour sci-fi fantasy novels he also sites reading as his primary tool for his craft, “I like to have a free mind, and to fill it with things. I read a lot of different source material; I like to read non-fiction, fiction, classics, science fiction, everything. And then have that available and try and keep my mind as free as possible to associate incongruous ideas,” Cullen then finishes his thought on literary influences by saying, “it’s something you have to cultivate by taking in things, and constantly learning things. Never stop reading or engaging in the world. It comes out, goes through your little processor, and then it comes out in a way that is unique to you. And that’s kind of what I like to do.”

Just then a platter of piping hot battered mushrooms makes it’s way around, we all react,laugh, and continue our discussion. Sean comments on the festival’s contribution to the city of Waterloo, “It’s festivals like this that really help to define its character, and I think that’s what’s great about having a comedy festival.” Then his attention moves to my top right where the second period recap is playing on the TV. “They should have an NHL team… ” The hockey game has claimed another comedian. We chat a little more and at one point a fragrance commercial selling bottled ‘Anarchy’ spawns another conversation piece that would later wind it’s way into Sean’s stage performance in the following night’s show at the Starlight Social Club. At this point the night is long, and eventually John peals me from the bar where I had found warmth in rum and Coke, hamming it up with Sham and Mark Essner from the KW publication SNAP!. Alas, I must retire until the next evening, allowing my brain to process it’s newly tapped river of comedic insight.

My photographing companion for the second evening,Tiffany Machado, and I are at the Starlight getting settled. Tiffany put it nicely saying “The comedians are just bleeding into the crowd,” playing around with her camera, “I like that!” Just then, Cullen rounds the corner in bootcut jeans and a black tee, giving us a warm salute on his way to the loo. Later on he will be on stage, wearing a very white and debatably blue suit, crooning to a sold out audience. Among those people was Phil himself, taking a small break from running the festival to look on admirably. For a moment you can tell he’s a little relaxed and happy with his congregation of comedic talent and light-hearted patrons deserving of a good laugh.

The line-up for the Sean Cullen headlined show at Starlight was so great I had to indulge both shows from start to finish. Each one was a unique experience and both had me laughing with equal zest. JJ Whitehead did an outstanding job and was an instant favourite. His take on relationships and break-ups hit’s the nail on the head. Coupled with Steve Dylan’s run on about alcoholism, into galactic global warming, and pirates, I think all the bases were covered.

The other show I found myself watching both nights was the Rob Pue headlined evening at Princess Cinema. With careful planning, and at the first crack of applause, Tiffany and I booked it out of the Starlight and across the road. Something I’d have to do again with Randie Gregoire on the final evening. We got in just as Nile began his set. For the rest of the night, I just took it all in. Todd Allen was nothing shy of brilliant, and Rob always has an emphatic performance.

The final day of the festival comes with a 1pm start time, but as usual I’ve gotten into town early. I sip a french vanilla latte at our meeting spot in the Princess Cafe, waiting for John to join me for the early show. At a table across the room, I spot the Lords of Strut going over some last-minute material for the family variety show in theatre one.

Once all the kiddies have found their seats with mom and dad, Rob Williams begins. I recognize him instantly as the man with thick black-framed glasses and lavish white hair who was bobbing around at all the shows over the weekend and always smiling. “Hup! Hup! Hup!” he shouts and then cracks his whip, instant and constant smiles all around for the duration of the show. Williams, The Jim Show, and Ireland’s comedic acrobats, Lords of Strut have more energy than a five-year old after snack time. It’s a story all it’s own.

The final evening started with Gibberish, then some more Cullen, and was to end as the previous evening had in the Princes Cinema. However, both Debra Digiovanni’s and Rob Pue’s shows were sold out completely. It seemed a stale mate for evening photographer Miss.Gregoire and I, until Phil offered us seats in theatre two where Todd Allen was just bringing on Rob. No matter how many times I see Rob perform, he finds a way to give it a new twist. Halfway through his set he pauses for a sip, “I should probably tell this joke now,” the grin, “I want to have kids.” You’d never guess what comes next. It’s a good thing Rob loves doing shows in town, because I just can’t spoil it here!

All in all, the entertainment at this year’s Uptown Waterloo Comedy Festival is simply unmeasurable. Phil did an incredible job coordinating and overseeing the festival, his volunteers and staff worked rigorously to provide an exceptional experience to everyone in attendance. Sponsors were not disappointed and neither was I. My mind has been opened and my smile extended. So the bottom line and what I learned, is that stand-up comedy is not a career choice, it is a way of life. One that is constantly growing and like any true piece of art, it is never truly finished…

-Tyler “Tyski” Dombroski

Hey Ya!

Posted: April 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Well, if you have found your way here ladies and sperm donors, then you have either read my writing through my work with Velvet Rope and shared with me your approval in person and then indulged my suggestion to follow the link on my plainly effective business card or hand written scrap of paper, or you saw me doing stand-up and gave me your approval and the same natural occurrence, well… occurred.

My Seriously Funny articles will be re-issued right here for your reading pleasure once a week, sighting of course, the issue number for the original publication in VR. In turn, I’d hope that everyone would extend their comments, and constructive criticisms to me right here, just as well as when in passing on the street or running into one another at an event.Here’s to stand-up comedy, the primary focus of  this here ‘blog’.

Thank you very much,

-Tyler “Tyksi” Dombroski