Island Standup Showcase
by Sebastian Baglole
Why be an upright and upstanding citizen if you can avoid it? Every second we wait, another chance for a killing joke may slip by. That’s the stance of the amateur but not amateurish gang of comedians performing their humorous bi-weekly interactions at The Guild in Charlottetown through July and August.
Already familiar with the stage, For Skit’s Sake vet, and recent Concordia University graduate, Fraser McCallum played host to a number of approachable men-about-town expressing their recognitions of the progression through stages of Island life.
Baba’s Lounge comic Richard Schroeter lets us in on what’s funny in his head and what’s funnier outside of it. Patrick Ledwell, who performed at last year’s Halifax Comedy Festival and is gaining wider experience on CBC Radio, serves experience tidbits in a gleefully identifiable “hapless git” persona, showing us that it’s not what you put into it, it’s what you can take away. He comments on the common mode of dress, riffs on Cape Breton and entertains his audiences with theories on an unpleasant adolescence. He knows what you’re thinking, and already he anticipates how to make it funny.
Ontario-born François Weber is seemingly still baffled that most of Charlottetown’s pedestrians manage to cross the street unscathed. An active comic onstage, François’ flailing limbs and expressive face are effective in illustrating anecdotes based upon his experience in teaching, his fear of being beaten for his non-threatening name, and his drug-addled cat.
However, highlighting the first act is Taylor Carver, who is quickly gaining experience after last year’s sold-out Standup Showcase first season, as well as notoriety with what is sometimes a collar-tugging showcase of his extraordinary and well-articulated performance. During the beginning of Taylor’s set several seconds often passed between his fascinating statements and the audience’s baffled laughter, still a bit unsure if it’s okay to laugh or not. Eventually the crowd is eased into Taylor’s unadulterated stage character that is exaggerated but not clichéd, self-abusive, but not pitiful. We relished the freshness of someone who openly admits adhering to pieces of advice from Cosmo and plays off the lighter side of suicide.
Digression is a virtue, familiar to most of us here in the Island setting. Take it straight and you might not enjoy yourself, but the diversity of the performers throws enough into the mix to leave everyone with a buzz of satisfaction.
Check out the Island Standup Showcase at The Guild on August 9 and 23, with Derek Bondt guest hosting on the final night. This is a licensed event.