The Comédie Club 2014 Takes Off

The Comédie Club 2014 Takes Off

One of our many cultural quirks, in Québec, is our close-knit French stand-up comedy culture. Very few places in the world have such a well-established, almost institutionalized system to turn aspiring comedians, serious about their craft, into professionals thrust into the spotlight, and I truly do feel that our culture benefits tremendously as a result.

Opening Wednesday, February 12th, the Grand Rire festival’s Comédie Club 2014 is, I hope, slated to become a staple of this process.  This evening launched the first of 12 Wednesday-night sets of up-and-coming comedians at the Théatre Impérial in the burgeoning St-Roch district, and as far as kick-offs go, this one was a certain success.  Hosted by none other than Dominic Paquet, six diamond-in-the-rough stand-up comics bared themselves to short and punchy 10-minute bits.

Amateurs be warned – this sort of evening is one of discovery of new talent, not one of sure-fire laughs by tried-and-true pros.  Think of it as the junior league of stand-up comedy.  These are without a doubt very talented players, but every now and then they’ll slip on the puck or trip over their own skates.  In a way, that sense of genuine honesty just makes their hits that much better.  This flows both ways, too – new comedians are just as likely to use these evenings to test new gags and won’t hesitate to joke about dropping a line if the punchline falls flat.  In a way, the audience almost gets to feel like they’re part of the process – and I loved it.

This evening featured six talented individuals.  Mehdi Bousaidan, Katherine Levac, Mike Paterson, Mélanie Ghanimé, Yannick de Martino, and Julien Tremblay did not disappoint.  The only drawback I could note was that with six such unique comedy styles quickly following one another, it feels more like a series of six teasers than a single show – each comedian leaves the stage just as, it felt, they were hitting their stride with the audience.

I’m by no means a qualified critic of stand-up comedy… but speaking strictly as a guy who enjoys a good laugh, it was Julien Tremblay who scored the strongest.  Taking the stage with his guitar, he flows his monologue seamlessly between rocker-ballad style crooning and shrill ironic criticism of past girlfriends.  In a striking example of the aforementioned close-knit ties between comedians, he invited his fellow up-and-comer Mike Paterson on stage for a song they wrote mocking Québec’s supposed “Two Solitudes”, called “Two Solid Dudes”.  Ross Murray would have loved it, I’m sure!

The Grand Rire’s Comédie Club continues until April 30th every Wednesday.  If you’re interested in possibly getting to know the next big names in Québec’s French-language stand-up comedy world… this is the place to do it.

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Farnell Morisset

Farnell Morisset has an engineering degree from Université Laval and common law and civil law degrees from McGill University, where he also studied economics.

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