Ever seen a dating profile where they write, “I like to laugh?” Yeah. Really. I should hope so. Do you perchance also like to chew your food? How did I know? *Rolls eyes*
In major cities, wherever seemingly normal people have made laughing their pastime, chances are there’s also a sketch comedy community. And any such self respecting community will also likely have their own annual SketchFest, where the funniest troupes from anywhere in the world apply or are invited to put themselves and their own city’s sketch scene on the map.
And as a fan of hilarious performances being created here in Montreal, it’s pretty exciting to hear that two of our best, recently-decorated sketch teams will soon be making waves among other high-caliber performers in two different American cities. If comedians are known for wanting to win the love of everyone in the room, they’ll be taking on two of the biggest and best sketch communities sometime later in January.
HOT RAW FIRE is exactly the same three adjectives necessary to describe each comedian/actor in this five-person sextet: Deirdre Trudeau, Danny Belair, Lise Vigneault, Paul Naiman and Jacob Greco. They’re regular hosts and performers at the monthly Sketch Republic, as well as at other stages around the city. Just last year, they had an amazing run at our own world-renowned Just For Laughs festival (ever heard of it?), in addition to picking up accolades for the second year in a row for being the Best Local Troupe at the 2016 Montreal Sketchfest, to add to their 2015 win in the same category. I could use sophisticated words to help drill in the idea of how funny they are, but it’s easier to say they like to experiment, they sometimes infuse their comedy with live video in ways that’ll make you say “jamais vu!”, they get messy gross, they use bike handles to pretend they’re cycling. They slap the mundane in between two slices of silly and make a laugh sandwich that’ll bust your guts open. These grown up kids are going to Chicago SketchFest in January, the biggest and most respected one in the whole world!
Ladies & Gentlemen, the comedy duo Daniel Carin and Chris Sandiford, began as standup comedians and have since counted sketch writing & performing among their batman-like utility belt of laughs for some time. Their sets are partly improvised, and heavily scripted, and you never know when they’re thinking on the fly. If this was Westworld, they’d be the perfect sexbots. In addition to performing all around the city, individually or together, these gangsters of giggles rake in the crowds every month for their standup showcase at the Shaika Café in N.D.G. They’ve also begun hosting a bi-weekly sketch night at Comedyworks. Strong work ethics, keeping at it for years and creating lasting friendships along the way has translated to earning them a very hot & ready JFL award for being the funniest act at last year’s Montreal SketchFest, as well as an impressive Best Visiting Performers award at the 2016 Seattle SketchFest a few months ago. This time, they’ll be crashin’ on Danny Tanner’s couch (is Full House still relevant?) when they do the San Francisco SketchFest, also in January.
Of course, sending all of these people on a plane to these far off places can be quite the costly affair. So for comedians, their tried and true method of crowdsourcing is of course to put on a show! This Saturday, January 7th at 8 pm, HOT RAW FIRE join forces with Ladies and Gentlemen at Theatre Sainte Catherine to give the home crowd a sneak peek into what they’ll be showcasing. Expect these troupes to be at their most feral, bringing new and wild stuff, along with strong crowd-favorite standards of their own that’ll be sure to blow the minds of all Americans and visiting performers alike. The evening is hosted by the talented Emily Bilton, in character as the fratty bad boy TRIPP!
So on Saturday evening, let’s send them off in the best possible way: by laughing really hard. Should be an easy task, as their sketches help facilitate that. And for the sake of all that is good, here’s to hoping they’ll also enjoy every bit of their time there, sample the yummiest foods, and laugh at other troupes whom they’ll hopefully get to bring to our own great Montreal Sketchfest this May!
The Sketch Republic presents: Trips! This Saturday Jan 7th at Theatre Sainte Catherine, 8pm. Tickets at theatresaintecatherine.com: $8 – $6 Students (student tickets available at the door only). This event is a fundraiser – all proceeds will help pay for travel for the troupes.