I was totally looking forward to this trip in that it had several things on offer that I liked:

– Long fun car ride with fellow comics (usually good for a laugh)
– Opportunity to work with old friends in the form of Russell Roy and Winston Spear
– Opportunity to work with someone I’ve never worked with before in the form of Craig Fay
– Get to perform in a place I’ve never been in before in the form of Chatham

Cut to Hour Three of the car trip:

Having been picked up at the Kipling Kiss ‘n’ Ride (all ride, no kiss if you’re wondering), Russell leapt to the back of his van where he had a Matthew-McConaughey-in-‘Dazed and Confused’-esque van equipped with, erm, sleeping place, and Craig took over behind the wheel since he used to live in Chatham. Aha. Local boy. Always good for a show.

Well the rest of us promptly fell asleep as well. Can’t vouch for Craig as I was sleeping but we never ended up in a ditch, so I’ll assume he was okay. Off to the CAW Hall.

The hall was a big room with good stage lighting and a fantastic sound system for a place like this. In order to let Craig close off the first half of the show as a local boy should, I took the bullet off the top. The first ten minutes went decently as I was attempting to keep it as clean as possible. That’s when I remembered the advice from former Chatham resident who just played there last week, Dave Paterson: “Remember, they want it clean, but dirty. Rude, but inoffensive, and most of all, funny.” Where was I going to get funny on such short notice?

About half-way through my set, after keeping it Bank-of-Montreal-Christmas-Party clean, I threw out something that could be deemed “slightly more challenging”. That would be a stripper joke. That’s when the crowd, finally warmed to me over the course of the half-hour bit. So now I knew the level of the room which made the last bit of the set the easier of the halves.

Armed with some great structure to his set and local flavour, Craig hit the stage and did a fantastic job of making his minions get into his stuff. Great watching him.

And then, as there always is, was the break for pizza.

Post-intermission, Winston hit the stage with his dancing through the crowd and held the crowd in awe, opening and closing with crow jokes that killed. Oh, about the crows, they darken the skies of Chatham like that scene in ‘300’. We were warned by Craig that there’s pretty much crows around Chatham all year round, be it the resident crows in the summer, or the crows that have migrated to “warmer” climes from the Arctic. With so many crows either feasting on corn or garbage, they tend to gather and multiply, making the skies a noisy black. So was the hall named after the Canadian Auto Workers union, or the only bloody noise you could hear in Chatham?

Craig had warned us that Chatham’s crows will blot out the sun.

So we will do comedy in the shade.

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