Big Jay Oakerson. Photo by Susan Moss
Everyone already knows Montreal has a great comedy festival in Just for Laughs. But has anyone considered that it might actually be too good?
Think about it. The best comedians in the world are all in town one month out of the year, and they love gathering in one spot at the same time as much as we do. But outside of July, there’s slim pickings for comedy lovers looking to see international acts. (Not meant as a slight to our hard-working local comedy clubs, who deserve your love and support.)
Enter Brunch Club, a new endeavour founded by former JFLer and comedy show producer Sasha Manoli. For the months out of the year when the big fest doesn’t reign, Manoli is hoping the Brunch Club will be able to serve local comedy fans. For now it’s a monthly, and for each edition a comic from outside of the city will come in to headline.
“We want to bring in the type of comics you normally wouldn’t have access to outside of festival season,” says Manoli. For their inaugural show last month, they brought in gruff NY/Philly galoot Big Jay Oakerson. Manoli says he played to two packed rooms, so the response has been positive so far.
“We deserve to have comedy year-round. It’s happening in other cities, like Toronto and even Vancouver, so we shouldn’t be excluded from that. I just think the proposition hasn’t been there for these comics to come,” Manoli adds.
The Brunch Club’s second show is this Saturday at Théâtre Sainte Catherine, starring Toronto-via-Halifax funnyman Mark Little. Next month, New Yorker Mike Lawrence will headline at la Vitrola.
“We’re looking at alternative spaces and different theatres,” Manoli says. “It contributes a lot to the experience.”
The eventual goal for Brunch Club — the name was indeed conceived over brunch — is to create a passionate community in Montreal, one that goes out to comedy shows regularly instead of waiting for July. Manoli knows it will be difficult to change our habits.
“I used to save up my money, and then when I had enough I’d travel to L.A. and for a week just immerse myself in the comedy scene,” she says. “I want something like that in my own city.” ■
The Brunch Club presents Mark Little at Théâtre Sainte Catherine this Saturday, April 25 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.. $15 (per show)
Enter a contest to win tickets here.