I Like My Comedy Like I Like My Coffee…
Last night saw Andrew Evans put up his first of hopefully many Dark Shows at Absolute Comedy at Yonge and Eglinton in Toronto. As a friend of mine and with him producing this project in co-pro with Absolute, you have to go and represent. This night is a big thing for Andrew and you can feel he’s not the only one who’s into the concept. Instead of trying to do more challenging material (and by “more challenging” I mean take a typical joke set-up like “So, I’m standing in line at Tim Horton’s…” and replace it with something like “So, I’m digging this shallow grave for this hooker I just stabbed…”) in front of audiences that are not built, wired, or equipped to deal with such things, why not take such crowds out of the equation and give a night for the nasty? Andrew, always looking for a platform to giggle after dropping a c-bomb, put the word out that every second Tuesday at Absolute would be the Dark Show. From the comic-side, the response was huge as Andrew’s already booked solid for the next two shows.
I walked into Absolute just after the show started and saw the main bar area was crowded with people. This can’t be good. I was a little bit relieved when I figured out it was a gathering of what appeared to be about 20 Japanese tourists who were just in for the food. Pfew. Probably a good thing as I’m guessing limited English doesn’t play well with trying to understand a paedophilia joke. Finally got to the showroom and noticed an abundance of cameras on tripods pointing towards the stage. Obviously every comic performing figured they better get this on tape and fast just in case the cord gets yanked. As well, it’s a perfect opportunity to show how you can stretch yourself as an artist. Jokes about MySpace are one thing. Jokes about using MySpace to woo kids into your white van is entirely another.
The main floor space was full of people so the crowd came out, and the acts hit one-by-one and delivered. Andrew fired comic after comic to the stage, each of them starting with a tenuous, almost worried look on their face, asking the audience, “So, you ‘re sure you’re going to be okay with this? I’m talking about…let’s see…wow…a lot of Rohypnol jokes. You sure?” They were. Each act then left replacing the look of anguish with one of relief. The set-up was perfect. The crowd knew what they were going to get, and the comics gave it. From the Bring Back Swayzes who opened to Adam McFawn, Chris Pick, Shannon Bell, Tex Barker, and Casey Corbin who closed the show, no one of either crowd or comic left without lifting a smile. This is a fine example of if you build it, they will come. In this case, on it.