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  • Writer's pictureJenny Wynter

Second City and the Just for Laughs Tour

What a rocking – and tiring – weekend.

First off, Saturday saw the much-awaited (by me, at least!) MCing of The Second City’s Laughter Gone Wild event at the Banff Centre. After driving through a blizzard to get there, I was very happy to arrive in one piece…thus removing much pressure from the performance. Arrival = alive = good. Anything more from that point I considered a bonus.

I entered the amazing Eric Harvie Theatre (one word: WOW) for my keyboard set-up and soundcheck, then was ushered upstairs into the VIP room to indulge in a drink, mingling and generally feeling cool-ish. I met quite a few very cool and friendly locals (and have subsequently realised how handy it is to have a column in the local paper, when it comes to meeting people in your community. Is that as desperate as it sounds?) and was then introduced to the stars of the night – the cast of the Toronto-based Second City touring company. Moments of chatter later and it was time for the event to begin.

The crowd – somewhere round the 1000 people mark if my guestimate is in any way accurate – was extremely friendly and ready to laugh! After having done a test-run on a couple of local Canadians to ensure my new comedy song “It Ain’t Easy Bein’ a Grizzly” wasn’t going to appal the audience into a state of hatred, I let it rip anyway. I then had the very VERY cool job of introducing the SC crew onto stage…I may well die a happy woman.

They were everything you would expect from Second City – polished, professional, attractive…(teehee). They performed a combo of their ‘best of the Second City’ sketch range (which was wicked, especially cos last year during my USA trip our Second City tutor had shown us some old videos of a couple of these sketches, so seeing them live just brought a new spin on things), plus some tailor-made wildlife-themed sketches written for the event itself, as well as some improvised pieces. I was completely stoked to see their entire last half of the show was completely improvised. And it was hawt.

Damn it, Mildred, I think the bar’s been raised again.

(I don’t even know who Mildred is, I just love the thought that someone out there might say that. It’s almost two in the morning as I write this. Forgive me.)

Following the show, we headed over to the Banff Centre’s on-campus pub, where I indulged in geeking out over improv with them. Had a particularly awesome chat with cast member Christy, who trained for 12 years with Loose Moose right nearby here in Calgary, before moving to Toronto to do the SC thing. So she had lots of great tidbits to share on the differences between the two.

Anyhoo, I could ramble on forever about this crap and it ain’t gettin more interesting, particularly if you have no penchant for improv.

THEN…tonight I braved the Canadian highways again and headed on down to Calgary to check out the late show of the Just for Laughs Comedy Tour, featuring a range of some of the best comics in the biz, including Australia’s own..da, da, da, da…Fiona O’Loughlin!

As soon as I saw the ad on television, I was all “I am so completely there”, cleared it with the hubbster and booked my tix. I enjoyed it so much, the comics were just superb (and a special shout-out to Greg Behrendt, whom you may know either from stand-up, or his writing – he co-penned ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ and advised on Sex and the City, who has totally inspired me to focus more on storytelling in my comedy) and Fi certainly did the Aussies proud.

I met up with her for a brief congratulatory chat after the show, which must have been a spinout, seeing as last time we were together was way back in Feb at the Bangalow Big Joke Fest. Hopefully we’ll meet up again in Montreal come July next year. After tonight, I’m more eager than ever to get my butt there. If only so I can shake it and say “Ooh, la la.” (Actually, doesn’t that just translate to: “Ooh, the the.”???

So yes, as I said, it’s WAY past my bedtime.

Adieu. The. The.

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