My first day of improv was exciting, I had not been to a class like this since my days in high school which were terrifyingly far in my past. Seriously, those last 25 years just snuck up on me! Stepping into The Second City Training Centre was energizing. The space (above Gretzky’s restaurant since since 2005) is three stories up. The stairs are dark but with quotes from famous alumni getting you excited for your class. It opens into a large white space, there’s a welcome desk on your left and comfy chairs and tables where people can gather and chat as well as computers where students could connect to the internet. Despite being shortly after 11 am on a Sunday the room was electric. There were people waiting for classes gathered and chatting with their friends. Parents were waiting for kids who were taking improv classes for children and teens and staff pointed people to the right spots for their first day of classes.
I have until recently approached comedy from the perspective of the enthusiastic enthusiast, I never considered myself a professional and at most I felt I was a comedy nerd with respect for the craft and an obsession with the structure. Yes, in the past I had helped around the writing table of a comedy burlesque troupe, but it was in a supportive role to a bunch of people who were infinitely funnier than I. (I think my biggest contribution in several years of involvement was to come up with the idea of Ed Wood performing Rocket Man in the style of William Shatner... trust me, it worked on stage.) Aside from that, my experience in comedy was confined to watching it lovingly from the audience.
Here we are, like the Doors song, this is the end… Yesterday after a long week of many shows I ended up running out of steam and just not being able to make my way to many of the shows I booked save for one. The Alternative Show at Second City, a midnight show, this is where I felt I needed to be and I was right.
The Alternative Show is always feels it’s as much for the comedians as the comedy fans, the audience is often peppered with people from the industry, various performers from the show or fans who have fallen in love with the irreverence of Andy Kindler. I started as the latter and am slowly shifting along the spectrum to comedy industry adjacent. Either way, it was a real delight and I felt I needed to be there that night and I’m glad I was.
Yesterday was an exciting day, after a flurry of activity in the morning (including a great interview with Jackie Kashian which will be airing in a couple of weeks) I got to cheer on a friend in the SiriusXM Top Comic competition and follow that up with an exciting night at The Alternative Show hosted by the ever hilarious Andy Kindler.
The late night meant this morning when I got up I was running on fumes. I had hoped to go to Jackie’s The Dork Forest podcast recording but wasn’t able to make it. I’m just going to have to pick it up from Band Camp as a premium episode when it becomes available, that’s the price of 2 or 3 am nights several days in a row. For people who are starting to slow down like myself, it really takes its toll, but the price was worth it.
Sorry to be running a bit behind today, last night was a late one and I had an early interview this morning with the amazing Jackie Kashian, it was a delight to sit down and chat with her. Watch for the episode of the podcast in the coming weeks. Last night was a night for the history books, usually it’s about this point in the festival I start to lean into the experience hard with two or three shows a night and midnight shows. Last night was the beginning of the full tilt comedy experience.
The weather broke late Tuesday and early into Wednesday morning with an epic battle of thunder and lightning lighting the sky. The temperatures had cooled back down to reasonable fall weather and there was even the flavour of a fall bite to the air. We grabbed some dinner in a nearby food court and made our way to the Winter Garden for Bridget Everett… at 7:00 in the evening… this was definitely not a 7:00 show.
Matthew Ardill & Jason Deline
Partners in crime we collaborate to create the Comedy Album Book Club, a deep dive into comedy history.