Published Apr 01, 2019Spring has sprung, and with it comes the next instalment of Exclaim! and Comedy Records' monthly standup comedy showcase.
It will all go down on Thursday (April 4) at Wenona Lodge in Toronto (1069 Bloor St. W) at 9 p.m. Ahead of the show, we spoke with this month's featured comics Sandra Battaglini, Tim Rabnett and Pat Burtscher about their comedy, inspirations and what they're excited about now that the snow has melted.
Sandra Battaglini performed at our very first standup showcase back in 2016, and has since co-founded the Canadian Association of Stand-up Comedians, an advocacy group that works to bolster the careers of Canadian comics. The group recently scored a major victory after successfully lobbying Just for Laughs and SiriusXM against retooling the "Canada Laughs" radio channel to feature international comics, which would have drastically slashed airtime (and royalties) for Canadian comics.
Though Battaglini is proud of the victory, she says that CASC's work is far from over. "The entire community banded together so powerfully and we're eager to get working. We now have six committees that are working on everything from establishing standards of practice, pay, workplace safety and harassment policy, economic impacts analysis." She adds, "we will continue to pursue our goal of getting standup recognized as an art form as well as gaining easier access into the U.S."
While Battaglini continues to advocate for her community members, she's also working on her own projects, which include pitching TV series and writing scripts. As the weather starts steadily improving, she's most looking forward to "[wearing] less clothes and watching things bloom!"
Though it's been 20 years since Tim Rabnett started performing standup, he's the first to admit that he happened upon his love of comedy by accident. "When I was 10 or so, my brother and I used to stay up on Saturday nights to watch wrestling — Saturday Night's Main Event! But it wasn't always on. Most of the time it was this other show called Saturday Night Live that aired, and I started to enjoy that almost as much as wrestling. It was the Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Jack Handey years. Steve Martin seemed to host a lot too. That was definitely the earliest thing that lit a spark for comedy in me."
Rabnett's current approach to comedy has been well-honed by his decades of experience. These days, "the number one thing that I am trying to focus on is authenticity. In your first five or ten years, I think it is important to try stuff that is uncomfortable, or challenging, maybe try some different styles. Now that I'm two decades in, I want everything that comes out of my mouth on stage to sound like something I would say offstage."
Always one to help nurture his community, the thing Rabnett is most looking forward to in the spring isn't fully about him, but for his dog. "Spring! I can't wait!," he says "As a dog owner, it means I actually will enjoy being out for walks without freezing. And there are way more gross smells for him to sniff during spring. It's a win for both of us!"
Pat Burtscher is a frequent performer at Exclaim! and Comedy Records' standup showcase. Known for his spastic, absurdist style of humour with plenty of self-deprecation, Burtscher is channelling those vibes nonstop ahead of his upcoming showcase set.
When asked about his comedic inspirations, he says, "As always, dumb stuff and tomfoolery. Love a good bit of mischievous mischief and silly silliness. Anyone/anything that provides that gets an A+ in my books!"
As to what he's currently working on, he says, "As always, dumb stuff and being in the zone. Gotta find that wave and ride it like an idiot, bruh."
And as to what he's most looking forward to about spring, he says, "As always, dumb stuff and riding my bike. Also, anything to do with loose knit sweaters and longboards/longboarding. I don't own a loose knit sweater or a longboard, but I do like the way they look when written down."
Come see these folks usher in the start of spring on Thursday at the Wenona Lodge. A $10 ticket includes one pint of Steamwhistle and you can get tickets in advance here.