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The 101 on Ottawa's Comedy Scene

By Apartment613 on March 3, 2010

Photo Courtesy of JF Sebastian on flickr

Photo Courtesy of JF Sebastian on flickr

Post by Dave Atkinson: file clerk by day, semi-successful local comedian by night, roguish space pirate by later night. Check out his comedy podcast, Shitshooters, on iTunes.

Good Morrow hip and with it bloggy-type reading persons! It’s time that all the weird cliquey scenes that make up Ottawa’s awesomeness get talking to each other.  To that end, guess who has yet another weird cliquey scene to tell you about!  The answer is me.  I do.  See below.

Ottawa’s Comedy scene is bursting with awesome.  Right now there are over a dozen excellent professional comics living in the city, working out their new material at free or cheap open mic nights alongside a roster of talented up-comers and various weirdos (cross dressing ventriloquist. Seriously.  Debuted in November 09).  If you want comedy credentials, we have them.  There are several Comedy Now! stars living in Ottawa and appearances by locals at Montreal’s Just for Laughs festival are common. This year, Ottawa comics are going to Just for Laughs, The Halifax comedy festival, recording a TV special and touring all over the damn place.

Best of all, this kind of talent isn’t new to the Capital. For over thirty years, Ottawa has been cranking out excellent comedic talent – Tom Green, Norm Macdonald, Jeremy Hotz, Dan Aykroyd and Jon Dore to name a few, each of them just another local act at some point over the last thirty years.  Bottom line: Ottawa’s funny. You can see us work out and have fun all over town or, if you’re some kind of hermit computer nerd person, there are also all local, all funny radio shows and podcasts.

Here’s a few of the things the gang’s up to:

Comedy in the upstairs basement
Every Monday night, 9PM @ Whispers pub
249 Richmond @  tweedsmuir, within sight of the westboro bus stop.
In a tiny upstairs room featuring its own shitters, a cluster of comedians both professional and amateur await their chance to stand on a plywood box and tell jokes to the six regulars and whoever else comes by.  Some nights it’s a roaring success loved by all.  Others, it’s a roaring success loved by six regulars (for some reason).  Cool room, fun lineups, and comics at our most casual and comfortable.

Raw talent Tuesdays
Every Tuesday, 8:30
Yuk Yuks @ 292 Elgin
A local pro MC, local pro Headliner and a roster of the freshest local talent combine with amateurs and weirdos (we are all weirdos, clearly) to create the strangest and most unpredictable show in the city. This is the night where the creepy porn director showed up to do six minutes.  The cross dressing ventriloquist is now a regular, Hippie Jesus the medical marijuana patient is there on occasion, too (His name is Russel, nice guy).  My favourite was this fortysomething gentleman with a moustache and a jean jacket who spent his entire set yelling about how the iPhone will mark the end of human civilization.  The show is always well MCd, acts are kept to their time and anybody can get onstage if they follow the procedure.  It involves sending an e-mail on the 15th of the month for a booking the next month.  That is it.  Enjoy a great cheap night out and check out a Tuesday.


The Time traveller’s Union.
CKCU FM 93.1
Every second Thursday (Friday morning, technically)  from midnight to two AM
Local comics Nick Carter and Geoff Mackay host this biweekly, two hour comedy show. Other comics will often phone in or appear live as strange characters, and on weeks where an important comedy release occurs, Nick Carter will arrange an interview followed by an airing of the entire uncensored album.  He did this last year with Doug Stanhope and Marc Maron (If you don’t know much about comedy, which is totally cool, those two names should make you pee a little.)

Dave Atkinson - Shitshooters - Shitshooters
Weekly (sorta)
Dave Atkinson (Me) and Matt Carter, local comics again, sit down with a different guest every week (most often another comic, either a headliner in town or a local friend) and shoot the shit.  We talk off the cuff, chat about this and that, do some character work, talk about current events in comedy and in general, get mad at Sarah Palin too much, whatever.  No cuts, no censorship, no problem.  The show has just posted it’s 88th episode, although it was not related to stand-up until about episode 75 (before that it was the pet project of me and a co-writer of mine).  Anyway, the show is posted every week whenever I get the time, so the day floats, which I’m aware is annoying, but I have files to clerk, dammit!

So there you go, a thriving local comedy scene you might not have known about.  Bring your arse, park it in a seat, and you shall laugh!

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