Yesterday got on the train and found my way into the city. I’m about 45 mins out by train door-to-door so that’s dandy. Found a couple of good things to know. Outside the train station, the closest bar/pub/restaurant called the Half Moon awaits. It’s convenient but for the convenience, they serve not pints but something called “schooners”, which I believe is a nautical term for “same-price-but-in-smaller-glass”. There’s a reason things in convenience stores are more expensive.
Last night was the Gala and you come into these things with preconceived notions as to how it will be. Large yet intimate theatres. Wall-to-wall comics choking the audience. Hobnobbing galore. Glad-handing. All that fun stuff. Well, it wasn’t like that. We found ourselves at the Vodaphone Arena, where as soon as I heard “arena” my mind raced to some sort of comedy shinny. Never happened. Got in, grabbed a beer, and made the way to the seats. The arena was huge. 8,000 plus choked the velodrome venue normally used for bike racing but was now converted to a comedy venue. The proscenium arch adorned the stage with graffiti-type graphics and a rotating series of arches allowed bands for musical numbers to be rotated into place for their songs and then spun back out of the way for more stand-up acts to be had. I spent most of the evening trying to figure out exactly who the host was and it wasn’t until three-quarters of the first half of the show (so what’s that make…three-eights of the show?) that I realized that Paul McDermott was a member of the Doug Anthony All Stars, an act I remember seeing on one of the Just For Laughs gala shows. They were from Australia (so was he obviously) and the key song everyone remembers is their “World’s Best Kisser” tune.
The acts hit the stage one by one and I’ve no idea whether it was just me being tired, almost falling asleep, the discomfort of the seats, what it was, but there just wasn’t anything that grabbed me. The new currency of how comics rate acts these days, it seems anyway, is to look at their act and say how many of their jokes you wish you had written. Sadly there weren’t many. I’m going to do the proper thing and blame fatigue. There were a couple of comics that stood out in my mind, but admittedly, their names were awash in the deluge of comics that hit the stage. I hope to meet them at some point and tell them I appreciated their contribution. How was the second half after intermission? No idea. It was 10:00pm. We were tired. We left.
The whole gala was taped for later broadcasting across Australia and will be used to raise funds for Oxfam. It made me wish that I had five minutes to throw at the stage and see how I fared in all. I guess I’ll find out Friday. Tonight, Kristian Reimer has found a few venues for after parties and hobnobbing. I think I’ll join, do the shmooze, yadda x 3. This should be fun as I also have to field a BOB-FM call at the same time. Tonight, it looks like it’ll be TVA on location at the festival. Could be fantastic. Could be hot death. Listen at 7:00am Gananoque-time to find out.