After the week that was Absolute Comedy in Ottawa, you always prepare yourself for the cold, sharp blast that is the crash back to reality. The Ottawa club is a place where you just know that this is what comedy should be. I’ve said it before as have others who have performed there to the same result, so no need to rehash. It’s dandy. […he says rehashing once again. – H!ITVA! Ed.] You wait for the crash back to reality when you come back to Toronto and it could take the form of any number of rooms in the city that will just hate you. So when I offered to host for Jason Blanchard at the House of Comedy in Niagara Falls, I thought, “Cool. This’ll be it.”

The place was packed, standing-room-only, and had three birthday parties. How can you tell there are birthday parties in the room? The key indicator is drunken women wearing tiaras. Right up front. “Yay!” I thought. “Tonight I eat it.” The warm-up music before the show was a track I would never in a million years pick to start a show, but hey, apparently there’s a gay-positive underbelly to Niagara Falls’ gruff blue-collar façade that is best manifest with me taking the stage following a big ol’ blast of “YMCA”. That or they think I’m a homo. Either way…

On the ride up, Jason and I led the conversation to our favourite topic: Professionalism. More specifically, sticking to your time. I have recently as I’m hosting taken to Jason’s habit of running a stopwatch for every act that I bring to the stage so I know how much time they’ve done. I too time myself so I know when I’ve got to bring the next act up. Tonight was a standard-issue, bread-and-butter three-hander of MC [me], a middle act [Graham Davidson] and Jason as headliner. The usual split is MC does 12-15 off the top, the middle does 20, the MC does another 5-8 to get the crowd prepped for the headliner, headliner does 45 and we go home jumping and giggling because we have folding money in our respective pockets. The biggest offence you can do to a club or acts following you? Go long. Jason and I both agree on this that no matter whether you’re killing or bombing, you do your time. The one exception is if you’re killing and the club can afford the extra time you want to do. But yeah, not unlike bunking in Millhaven, do your time.

Starting 15 minutes went easily enough, and I got all of the birthdays out of the way. Got some applause and good laughs which was good enough for me and, thankfully, for the owner. Brought Graham to the stage and he did around 21 minutes. Totally acceptable. I did 8 minutes even with breaks for applause, taking us to exactly 45 minutes of show time, giving Jason exactly his 45 minutes to wrap up a 90 minute event. Done and dusted. As I stood at the side of the stage at the 43 minute mark waiting for Jason to wrap up, some guy in the audience stands up, thrusting his pointing finger at me, and yells, “You sit down! He’s funny! Let him go on!” So, that’d be the call for the call for an encore, then. So I just stood there while Jason moved from his new speculum closer to his orgasm tour. As he got off stage we shook hands and while the crowd applauded him off, Jason and I had an exchange, which is a three second conversation that you have when you’re changing the stage over. So I decided to have fun with him:

tva: You went 10 minutes over time.
JB: Who gives a shit?

Jason gave them what they wanted and did it with the right amount of time to do so. As always a pleasure.

But still, he went over time. Maybe the twisted ankle he suffered leaving the stage will give him time to lament his wrong-doings.

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