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Comedy is Fantastic

Posted on: January 26th, 2014 by brendanmckeigan

 

Like the headline says, comedy is fantastic. I’ve had the pleasure of performing with some incredibly talented people this week. Look them all up. Trixx, Lars Callieou, Arthur Simeon, Andrew Chapman, Jeff Leeson, Monty Scott, DJ Demers, Diana Love, Dan Bingham, Scott McMann, Todd Van Allen, and Casey Corbin.

I’m writing this as the Saturday late show is ten minutes old. The room is filled with laughter already and hopefully that continues. Should be pretty interesting since I’ve maybe had a few drinks. But on the plus side, as I type this, I’m not really misspelling anything.

The point is, comedy is fantastic. The best compliment people can give after a show is, “Thank you. I was having a really shitty day, and I needed this.” To know that jokes made somebody feel better after a bad situation in an incredible thing. This blog is going to be short, because I have to get ready to go on stage. The point is, you should try to immerse yourself in comedy. It’s just makes things better.

Also, I love whiskey.

Doctor Who is Great

Posted on: January 24th, 2014 by brendanmckeigan

 

Remember when you were a child, and your imagination would run wild? You would be playing, and in your mind you see whatever you wanted. Well somebody never stopped that, and decided to create “Doctor Who”

The show itself is incredibly cheesy. Low budget special effects, props, costumes, etc., and makes up for all of that with incredible scripts and great characters. I’ve just finished watching David Tennant’s run as “Doctor Who,” and I’m kind of sad. I started watching the show because I have a few friends who watch it, and David Tennant was so captivating and fun, that I wanted to watch every show. I knew he would be leaving, and I actually took a two week break to prolong his run as The Doctor.

Most people think the same thing: NERRRRD! You might be right, but alas, I do not care. If you actually let yourself watch the show without having a preconceived notion of doubt, I think you’d really enjoy it. Sure, it’s a show I watch alone since it’s not my girlfriend’s cup of tea. But that’s fine! It’s not for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try it.

I think that can be said for anything in life. I don’t mean to say that Doctor Who will change your life. It might just entertain you for a while though! I just mean that I think being close-minded can make you miss out on a lot of great things in life. So be open and try stuff you wouldn’t. I tried sushi three times before I found some I liked. That was over the span of a few years, but you get the idea.

Today, I watched the first episode of Matt Smith as Doctor Who, and I have to say, so far, so good! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m designing a custom microphone to look like The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. Allons-y!

Canada Laughs! Interview on XM Radio

Posted on: January 23rd, 2014 by brendanmckeigan

 

Today I was fortunate enough to be a part of “Canada Laughs” on XM Radio. Hosted by the very funny, and all around great dude, Ben Miner; who is also in the Top 50 for Master Chef Canada! Is there anything he can’t do?

It was great because most times as a comic, you feel pressured to be funny or act like you’re on stage while you’re doing radio. Thankfully, Ben is more about just conversing with comics. Very natural, just like we were hanging out somewhere. And that somewhere just happens to be a soundproof booth with professional recording equipment.

We covered a variety of topics from art, to Sudbury, to mutual friends and a bunch of other stuff that I don’t really remember because that’s just how flow-etic the conversation was.

I was pressed for time, but I saw Ward & Al recording their show and wanted to jump in and do a “walk on,” which is where you interrupt somebody on the air for your own selfish reasons. But it’s also kind of a dick move.

Tonight is the start of the full weekend of shows at Absolute Comedy Toronto for my DVD launch of “Make It A Double.” I need to get ready and get my DVDs together, so this is a short entry, but that doesn’t make it any less special!

Drinking with Family

Posted on: January 22nd, 2014 by brendanmckeigan

 

Last night, after taping for Strombo, I went out for a couple of drinks with my sister and my Dad. Followed by dinner at The Keg, including a couple bottles of wine, and then of course a few whiskies at a pub.

Drinking with family can go one of two ways. It can be a horrible night where everyone ends up yelling and screaming at each other. OR it can be a hilarious night where everyone just laughs the entire time. Last night was no exception.

I had a couple of beers first, downtown at a bar with the fam. The beer was warm, and let me tell you: Don’t ever put ice in beer. That was my sister’s genius decision. Shock Top beer does not taste good when it’s watered down. If I wanted watered down beer, I’d go to America. HA! OH MAN I CAN’T BELIEVE I SAID THAT! Anyway, since most bars only serve bangers and mash, or some generic burger, we went to The Keg.

It was a really nice one too. Sometimes, a restaurant just feels like a restaurant. But The Keg was great. The service was great, the food was great, the atmosphere was great. We went so my Dad could get a Prime Rib roast. As soon as our server came to our table, one of the first things she said was, “I should mention, we’re out of Prime Rib roast.”

Hilarious.

My Dad had been craving it all night. Luckily, they were preparing another, but it wouldn’t be ready for another 45 minutes. We were in no hurry and got apps and wine, then more wine. And then our food came. No pun intended, because it was orgasmic. Fresh, prime rib roast, so succulent it would make a vegetarian’s mouth water. We finished our meals, and then finished our wine.

Our care-free saunter down the road to a pub for one last stop was freezing. This “polar vortex” as they’re calling it, is not very fun. Finally, we arrived after our grueling five minute walk that seems longer than having to watch any episode of The Kardashians. I ordered a whiskey sour, it sounded good. Until I received my drink and it was just a “sour.” It was a horrible drink, but much to my delight the bartender was more than happy to give me a whiskey on the rocks instead.

And do you know why? Because I was very polite about it. Too often, people yell or scream at a server and expect something for free. If you yell your way to free food at restaurants, please come over so I can kick you in the face wearing golf cleats. It’s amazing how much further along you get by being nice. The bartender may have somehow forgotten to put liquour in the drink. It happens! Or, perhaps she just followed a recipe they’re given, and the drink is just garbage. Either way, I just politely mentioned that the drink wasn’t quite what I was expecting, and this divey bar, which could easily just say, “Well you ordered it,” just exchanged my drink. So much better than yelling at somebody over something trivial, don’t you agree?

I’d like to tell you everything we spoke about last night, but then this blog would be 48 pages long. Give or take.  So when you go out, be nice to people. It’ll make everyone’s night better.

Strombo Panel & Mental Health

Posted on: January 21st, 2014 by brendanmckeigan

 

Today was a fun day. I was fortunate enough to be part of George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight on “The Panel,” alongside the incredibly funny Anna Gustafson and the immensely talented Patrick McKenna.

We spoke about mental health issues. Which was fitting since we’ll all be appearing at the Cracking Up The Capital Festival, February 5th to 8th in Ottawa. Why is that relevant? The festival serves a dual purpose besides just comedy shows. It also aims to raise money for various mental health charities. Something everybody should get behind.

I don’t want to talk about what we spoke of on the show, otherwise you may not watch it, and that’s not fair. But I will say this: it felt great to be able to talk about mental health in a supportive way. I’m know some people feel ashamed that you may be going through mental health issues. What you need to know is that there’s always somebody you can talk to. I think there are more people you can confide in than you think. Family, friends, counselors, hell even somebody from a message board.

Should somebody every have the courage to tell you about his or her mental health issues, please, listen. It is an incredibly difficult thing to bring up to somebody. Please don’t compare how bad you, or someone else you know has it either. Just listen. Be supportive, and keep being awesome.

You must have done something to earn that trust to begin with. Keep up the good work.

Strombo Tonight! Well, Technically Tomorrow

Posted on: January 20th, 2014 by brendanmckeigan

 

Tomorrow night I’m going to be appearing on “The Panel” segment of George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight on CBC, along with Patrick McKenna and Anna Gustafson.

We’re going to be talking about mental health issues, which is consistently an interesting topic for people. It’s also fitting since we’re all going to be part of the “Cracking Up The Capital” Comedy Festival in Ottawa from February 5th to 8th. I don’t want to give too much away about exactly what we’ll be discussing just yet. You should just watch the show for that!

I’ve got to say, I’m pretty excited to be on the show. Strombo is one of the best interviewers on television. It’s always refreshing to see honest interviews with celebrities, who don’t have to feel the need to be “on” like they are on some of the other talk shows. His interview with Will Ferrell was a perfect example of that. Of course Will was funny, but he didn’t have to be in performance mode, which was a great change of pace.

So if you’re not doing anything tomorrow night, tune into the show! I would watch if YOU were on!

The World Needs More 80′s Action Movies

Posted on: January 19th, 2014 by brendanmckeigan

 

In a world where special effects, CGI and overpaid actors reign supreme, sometimes the best way to fully enjoy a movie is to watch an action movie from the 80’s, and possibly early 90’s.

Right now, I’m watching Beverly Hills Cop II, and Eddie Murphy is fantastic. Seriously, it’s just amazing. It might be one of the best movie characters ever. There’s even a poster on the wall in one scene for “Rambo: First Blood.” Think of how great some of the characters in 80’s action movies were? Eddie Murphy, Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Van Damme, Pre-Crazy Mel Gibson, the list goes on.

If you can’t take joy away from a cheesy 80’s action movie, then I feel sorry for you. They’re everything great; comedy, action, and a slue of one-liners that people will be quoting for the rest of time. Think of it! That doesn’t happen anymore. “I’ll be back.” “Yippie Kay Yay.” “I’m getting’ too old for this.” The list goes on. They’re just entertaining. They aren’t trying to be anything more than that. They aren’t going for Oscar glory, they’re just fun.

Do you realize that Van Damme has a FINISHING MOVE? A goddamn FINISHING MOVE! He plays a different character in every movie, and yet somehow at the crucial moment, he majestically leaps into the air with the power of a thousand Michael Jordan’s, spins like Elvis Stojko, and delivers a nothing short of miraculous 360 degree crescent kick. And just in case for some reason you missed the best part of the movie, it’s replayed from every angle besides having a yet-to-be-invented GoPro camera strapped to his foot (which I would love to see). Just in case you still aren’t on board, that kick is so majestic, that Bolo Yeung took it once as the main bad guy “Chong Li” in Bloodsport, decided that kick was so nice, he needed it twice and took it AGAIN in Double Impact. The irony there kills me.

The Expendables are some the best action movies of modern cinema, because Sly remembered that people want cheese! Sweet, delicious, gooey, cheese! So many new action movies fail because they do things wrong, like let characters get into a car BEFORE they’re partner already starts driving it. Or NOT starting a gunfight in the middle of any crowded place and only hitting bad guys. If at some point, some pessimist watching doesn’t say, “OH, YEAH RIGHT!” Then you aren’t making your movie correctly.

I hope more action movies are made like The Expendables. Seriously, I would watch The Expendables 17, in which they plot to overthrow the crooked owner of the retirement residence they all live in. Even in Van Damme can’t walk, I bet he would still be able to do the splits. So at the very least, you can get that crescent kick from a scooter.

I will gladly watch a time traveling Rambo over anything by Michael Bay. Enough with the slow motion. Give me speed, bullets, car chases, one liners and mullets. Lots and lots of mullets.

Okay, I’m done writing. I’ve gotta go buy every 80’s action movie ever. American Ninja marathon anyone?

How to Act Like an Idiot Audience Member

Posted on: January 18th, 2014 by brendanmckeigan

 

It’s Saturday! What to do? I know! How about make plans for next week? It’s the official launch of my DVD, “Make It A Double,” at Absolute Comedy in Toronto. Sure, I’ve been selling them this week too. But that’s just because I need to make sure they all work. That, and I’d like money for goods and services.

Last night, I had a woman in her late 50’s, early 60’s come up to me and basically berate me after the show. Why? No reason. She just walked up as I’m trying to sell my DVDs and starts yelling, “Who buys a DVD?! NOBODY! Nobody buys DVDs anymore! Do YOU have a DVD? Who even HAS a DVD player?! You should be going digital! Just online downloads! You’re young! Figure it out! Seriously, who buys a DVD?!”

My response was surprisingly calm. I just responded with, “This is Canadian comedy. Most people won’t remember the name of any of the comics by the time they get home. Also, I think people like to take something tangible home from time to time. But thank you for coming up to me in front of all the audience members and shitting on my dreams. I really appreciate that.”

You know when you’re filled with anger, and you want to be blunt and devastating to somebody? What I wanted to say was, “What if you go fuck a cactus? Or would your desert of a vagina just encourage it to grow bigger?” But I did not. I just said, “Thanks for coming!”

I still sold a few copies, but who goes out of their way to dump on the hard work of somebody else? How shitty is your miserable life that you feel the need to stand in front of my merch table and berate my work? I don’t come to your job and constantly inform you of all the horrible life choices you’ve made, and that’s why you’re working some shitty job, hating your life and everyone in it.

Don’t get me wrong; I know some people should always wear a helmet. And I laughed about it after she was gone. I just wonder if she does this all the time to make her feel better. Does she stand in front of hot dog carts and start yelling, “YOU NEED TO HAVE BIGGER DOGS AND SMALLER BUNS!” Either way, I just wanted to vent.

I don’t think it’s best to go eye for an eye, and killing with kindness is a tactic I’m trying to utilize in situations like this. You know, evil begets evil, with great power comes great responsibility. If I went off, she would probably cry. And I’m better than that. But in the back of my mind, I’m still pretending to whisper into my sleeve, “Take the shot.”

5 Types of People at Karaoke

Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by brendanmckeigan

 

Sometimes you’ve just got to cut-a-loose. Footloose. And then proceed to kick off your Sunday (or whatever day of the week it happens to be) shoes. Karaoke is a fantastic place for that.

Karaoke can be broken down to the following characters:

1)   The Weirdo

2)   The Entertainer

3)   The Surprise

4)   The Smoke Break

5)    The DJ

And here’s what makes each of them great…

The Weirdo is the person who shows up alone. You aren’t sure if you should keep your distance, or makes friends so he doesn’t kill you. Generally very docile, The Weirdo is dressed for the songs he sings. Usually along the lines of Elvis, Garth Brooks, or Meatloaf. He can sometimes surprise you with his abilities, so never be too quick to judge.

The Entertainer is somebody who may not be the best singer, but dammit they have stage presence. Usually not afraid to make an ass of themselves, or just do whatever songs they want, The Entertainer knows what songs they can actually pull off, and what songs to avoid. The Entertainer also knows they could never be a professional singer.

The Surprise is somebody at karaoke that goes up on stage and makes everybody wonder why they don’t have a record contract in the first twenty seconds. These talented individuals can belt it out! You should buy them a drink, or get them a record deal. They are the head turners of karaoke in a way that makes your eardrums salivate. Metaphorically. If you salivate from your ears, see a doctor immediately.

The Smoke Break is delusional. Even if you don’t smoke, they make you want to leave the room. Friend and family often tell The Smoke Break that they have an incredible voice. The Smoke Break is chasing dreams that were placed in their head by unrealistic expectations. Yes, it’s sad. But sometimes, it’s entertaining. The Smoke Break will often sing, and place a finger to one ear, not realizing this does nothing if you don’t have a monitor in your ear to begin with.

The DJ is required at ALL times to wear track pants, a button up shirt, and a gold chain. Often times, The DJ is waiting to get discovered at their own karaoke night. Despite a room full of people, The DJ will take up to an hour worth of mic time a night, for purely selfish reasons, rather than making customers happy and keep a steady rotation going. The DJ at The Fox and the Fiddle in Toronto at Wellesley is the exception to the DJ rule. That guy is fantastic.

I know, some of you are probably thinking, “Really? I can’t sing. I would NEVER do karaoke.” Well, then you’re a little dead inside. Seriously, you can’t find ONE song that you want to entertain others with? If you know you can’t sing, pick a joke song like, “Ice, Ice, Baby,” or the theme song to “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”

Karaoke night always ends with Journey.

Anti-Social Media

Posted on: January 16th, 2014 by brendanmckeigan

 

When you’re with people, put your phone away, simple as that. But in case some people are confused, let’s review!

Right now, I’m writing this from a Starbucks inside a Chapters Bookstore, across the street from Absolute Comedy in Toronto. Almost every seat is taken, or was while I was trying to decide what to write about. Every single person has a cell phone in front of them. Not in their pockets, I mean literally in front of them. There’s a couple on a date, and they both have their phones, face up, just in case.

When someone has their cellphone out on the table, it’s rude. If you have to ask why, then please read on. If you don’t, then just read on and click the like or tweet button at the bottom.

When a cellphone is put on the table, I feel like the person just put up a barrier. It’s almost like a Plexiglas wall, like those booths in a prison. How bad is the conversation that you’re itching for an excuse to be distracted from it? Maybe it would be a better conversation if you paid attention to it, and not your phone. And yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but in general, please put your phone away. Think of what you’re missing by not being in the moment!

If the people on the other side of your phone are that great, then why not go hang out with them? Maybe it bothers me more since this seems to always happen in comedy clubs. Your little glowing light is distracting and rude. In the movie theatre, people will say something. In a theatre performance, you might even be asked to leave. But in a comedy club, people think they have every right. Well, stop it!

Is it at the point where comedy clubs should take away a patron’s cellphone, like a teacher disciplining a student? “You can have this back at the end of the day.” My God, that would be the greatest thing in the world; although comedy clubs would probably need to have a separate room for cellphones. No text is that important, no tweet, no Facebook status, and for cripes sake nobody cares what you’re eating.

Life is calling. Are YOU going to answer? (Read that like it’s on a poster with Smokey the Bear for some reason. Or picture the NBC, “The More You Know” star flying by)