We cross lines here.

Chris Timms

In Comedians, Featured Acts on January 14, 2014 at 11:57 pm

#Chris #timms #christimms #comedy #cabaret #ottawa #absolute #NSC #newschoolcomedy #new #school

I’ve always loved a good cabaret. Where the meeting of multiple muses join together to create a spectacle, a melting pot of a delicious arts brew, the best of all that is good about the creative community. This is perhaps one of the reasons why comedy simply needs a guy like Chris Timms. Producer of The Chris Timms Comedy Cabaret at the National Arts Center for three years in a row, this determined comedian is showing his city what his funny stuff is made of while showcasing the works of his talented peers. And it’s great stuff. Ottawa is very lucky to have it.

I believe when a performer crosses over to the world of producing, they get a better understanding of what “grunt work” really means. They are able to entertain a deeper sense of appreciation when someone says, “great show” after the months of planning, production, and promotion.They become exceptional.

Timms has proven his talents time and again both on stage and behind the scenes of Canada’s capital, a beating heart behind the soul of the community, bringing multiple disciplines together to prove that the arts are more than just alive in this city. They’re blinding. Let’s hope Chris Timms light keeps shining for long time to come.  If he keeps doing what he’s doing, there is no reason why his name shouldn’t be front and center.

- Chelsea O’Connor

Note from the editor: I have chosen this clip to accompany this article because, to me, it represents Timms innate appreciation for the arts. When you can joke about something, I believe it’s because deep down, you truly love it.

 

 

NSC: Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

CT: I was born in a trailer park and raised in a bowling alley in Ottawa Ontario! And though I live in Ottawa now, I have also lived in Kimberley BC way up in the Rocky Mountains, Toronto, and Vancouver where I intend on returning to at some point in the future.

 

NSC: When/why did you start doing comedy?

CT: I started doing comedy a little over 5 years ago and was something I always wanted to do but just never went out and did it. My dad introduced me to George Carlin at a young age and was hooked. Though I had a bigger passion for music and film when I was younger and headed off in that direction. After film school though I moved back to Ottawa and told someone I worked with that I was gonna perform at Yuk Yuks sometime in the near future before even getting a spot, which then forced my hand and I had to do it so I found out how to get on the open mic night, got a spot, did pretty well and have been doing it since. And as most comics I think my only regret is not starting sooner cause I absolutely love it!

 

NSC: How would you describe your style of comedy and what makes it unique?

CT: I am an adventurer of life and an explorer of experience. The same guy on as I am off the stage; laid back and easy going, never in a rush but always on time, I like to observe yet like to be seen, love to create and has a passion to perform, rough around the edges and occasionally controversial. I share the lessons and tales from my journey through life and learn from those of others. I am Canadian, yet a citizen of the world! Just one small part of an extraordinarily wondrous universe… I mean that’s a style right?

 

NSC: Briefly describe your creative process.

CT: My creative process eh… Well usually involves booze, cigarettes, a joint and a giant whiteboard! But day to day if an idea comes to me I jot it down, add it to the whiteboard and overtime things come together.

 

NSC: What are your top five accomplishments to date? 

CT: Does pairing all my socks after years of a disorganized drawer count? Hmm well I have produced & hosted two sold out shows at the National Arts Centre and now have a series of five happening there once a month from January – May 2014. I was voted Ottawa’s favorite comedian at the 2013 Faces Magazine SIG Awards (my mom has lots of friends). I perform regularly for Absolute Comedy and was a finalist in the 2011 & 2012 Yuk Yuks Summer Comedy Competitions.

 

NSC: Tell us a little bit about The Chris Timms Comedy Cabaret- what is it?

CT: The Chris Timms Comedy Cabaret is a showcase of live music & stand-up comedy; promoting and supporting some of Canada’s (Ottawa’s mainly) brightest rising stars! Hosted by myself; featuring three outstanding up and coming comedians, a hilarious headliner and a special musical guest! Along with a pianist filling the air with beautiful melodies before and after the show, it is a complete evening of exceptionally fun, uncensored live entertainment!

 

NSC: Why did you want to produce this kind of show? What does it mean to you?

CT: Ultimately it started out with just wanting to do something fun and different. Having so many talented musician and comedian friends I thought you know what would be cool? Having everything live, from the music people hear when they walk in and throughout the show to when they leave. And with the right atmosphere create an old time cabaret vibe with some new age swagger! Just a really fun and cool show for some the cities best up and coming performers to showcase themselves in a different setting, while also giving them extra stage time to hone their crafts. And as I have always wanted to one day host my own TV show I figured hosting these is a good start!  As the show has been evolving over the past few years I would like to one day take it across Canada and eventually take it to TV and create a new kind of late night show!

As for what it means to me? It means a lot, in fact more than most things have in my life. I have made some great friends through it and have really gained an education in not just performing comedy but the business of comedy and producing events; the experience thus far and going forward is invaluable! I like to believe that making it in any industry (whatever making it is to you)  is done my making it happen yourself; you want something, you go out and get it. It’s very rare diamonds are found in the rough!

 

NSC: The show is at a pretty sophisticated venue (the National Arts Center). Why did you decide to mount the show there?

CT: Basically I thought ok I want to do a different show unlike something anyone else has done in the city, what’s the best possible venue? Then I remembered seeing George Carlin perform at the NAC a few times and thought “hey wouldn’t that be cool?” So I called them up told them what I wanted to do, they loved the idea and when they showed me the Fourth Stage; all cabaret seating with candles on all the table tops, a beautiful grand piano, the ceiling was low, the room wide not deep; I knew I had to do my show there so I drained my bank account and booked it! The show sold out a week in advance and continues to do well whenever we’re there!

 

NSC: Do you find the audiences are different at the theatre than they are in a comedy club? If so, how? Are they better/worse?

CT: Because the show is cabaret seating and has a bar it still has the comedy club (or cabaret) vibe though it being the NAC we certainly get very mixed audiences often older than what you’d expect at a comedy club and a little snappier dressed. Plus with the element of live music we get people zeroed in on the show right away and with no one eating and no servers taking drink orders there’s nothing to distract folks from what’s infront of them and so far the audiences have been simply amazing!

 

NSC: Your shows have pulled in some impressive crowds in the past. How do ensure your shows are going to be successful? What’s your secret?

CT: Lot’s of shameless self-promotion! Haha But seriously I have an incredible family, friends and though super small fan base which has really helped getting things off the ground to where we are today. But on top of that the community support for me and the show has truly been something special! I couldn’t put into words my gratitude for everyone who has supported the show over the years from local performers, the media and business owners.

The secret is simply being passionate about what you are doing, work hard at it, take chances and if you put out something people like, the support and success will follow. And if it doesn’t well at least you tried; it’s far more noble to try and fail then to never try at all. So save the joint, get off your lazy ass and do something!

 

NSC: What’s your plan/next steps for your career?

CT: After the series is over myself and fellow comedian Matt Watson will be setting out on June 1st for a cross Canada tour, performing from Ottawa to Vancouver and back!

 

NSC: What are your next upcoming shows?

CT: Show dates can be found at www.christimmscomedy.com though I will be doing my

Cabaret at the NAC

Jan 17th with headliner Mike MacDonald! & musical guest Andrew Johnson.               

Feb 12th with headliner Josh Williams! & musical guest Zach Agar.

Mar 12th with headliner Brendan McKeigan! & musical guest Evan Van Roon.

Apr 16th with headliner Wafik Nasralla! & musical guest Peter Voith.

Then May 30th we will be having a fundraising show for Watson and mine’s summer tour and will have a bunch of special guests! More info about that show will be available closer to the date.

 

NSC: If we missed anything, heres your chance!

CT: First would like to thank you and NewSchoolComedy for doing the article! Also would like to thank the shows sponsors The Adult Fun Super Store and Fatboys Southern Smokehouse; buy a dildo and eat some ribs folks! Also have to thank my supporters Dylan Black, the folks at Daytime Ottawa and everyone else who has helped make my show what it is. Also thanks to Absolute Comedy and those who have supported my filthy mouth and have helped me progress as a comedian. Lot’s of love!

Lastly an enormous shout out to all the performers who have done shows for me I am very fortunate to know so many really talented people and when it comes right down to it The Chris Timms Comedy Cabaret wouldn’t be possible without them. They are the best!

 

 

NSC: Lastly, what does NewSchoolComedy mean to you?

CT: Ultimately it means there is a strong appetite out there for everything funny which to me is quite inspiring. Also any help a performer can get to reach new people and share their craft with others is a great thing. Performers supporting performers… It’s what I am all about!

 

Paul C. Morrissey

In Comedians, Featured Acts, Writers on August 3, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Paul C. Morrissey

All I know is Paul C. Morrissey is one funny, genuine, hardworking, and intelligent comic. The paragraph should just end there… but I’ll continue anyway.

I first met Paul at Absolute Comedy in Toronto, during a summer I moved back to the city to pursue standup again (aka. bartending for the Persian mafia on College St., unofficially). Getting to know Paul was like being a kid again- aside from the fact that we were texting each other from across the table for a good hour, we spent the better part of the evening keeping the cook locked out of the club, which was both necessary and hilarious. “I don’t know how to unlock the door. I can’t figure it out.” It’s been the basis of a long and genuine friendship.

Paul has achieved quite a lot by committing himself to the business of stand up and yet remains honest that he still does it “to hear the laughter.” While this can come across as an obvious response, Paul says it with a genuine conviction that hasn’t been tainted by the journey. It’s quite moving actually. His history and experience in broadcast TV and comedy are unique and inspiring.  As a former sports broadcaster, Paul is no stranger to the spotlight and brings a refreshing sense of everyday observational ‘WTF’ with a smooth, conversational approach to his audience.

Working with some of the biggest names in comedy, appearing on ‘Late Night with Craig Ferguson’ FOUR times, running The AlleyOop Podcast, and touring- Paul C. Morrissey is one busy, committed, and thoughtful comic who you should definitely see on stage again and again. If you’re lucky enough to have a few pints with him after the show, he might not lock you out of the club.

- Chelsea O’Connor

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NSC: Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

PCM: I grew up in a little town called Owego, NY. I currently live in Los Angeles, CA (Studio City).

 

NSC:When/why did you start doing stand-up?:

PCM: I was a huge fan of basketball and comedy as a kid. I loved Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics, College basketball and also Saturday Night Live (I was a huge Fan of Norm MacDonald on Weekend Update) , Kids In The Hall, all the HBO Specials with George Carlin and Rodney Dangerfield.

I still have all of these video tapes of NBA highlights of my favorite players & tapes of my favorite comedians. For about ten years, basketball was my life. All I did was play it, watch it and study it. I wasn’t very good at basketball when I started, but all the hard work paid off. I had a successful high school and a great college basketball career. After that was over I pursued a job as a TV Sports Anchor. I ended up landing one in California, which was a big break. ESPN was really fun and loose at the time, so my dream job was to be one of the funny guys on ESPN.

I knew sports but I wasn’t comfortable on camera yet, so one night in Sacramento, I literally wandered into a comedy club, and the woman running the open mic asked if I’d like to go on. I said no, but she asked if I’d like to take a class with her and then get on stage every week. At the time, I never thought of it in any other way than “this will help me be funny with my job on TV.” But I had a good experience early on, and had a pretty good 10 minutes right away so that gave me some confidence. Soon I became fully driven by it, just like in basketball. About a year later, I quit my TV job to move to New York City and pursued comedy as a career. For the next ten years all I did was do standup comedy, watch it, study it. You could say I’m a basketball and comedy nerd-but I think that word is overused.

By the way, the woman who ran the little open mic class in Sacramento became a writer on the Ellen DeGeneres Show along with just about every other comedy talk show on TV and has won a room full of Emmy’s. So I guess you could say I was at the right place at the right time.

NSC: Briefly describe your creative process.

PCM: When I look back, I think about how much all the other experiences helped me in comedy. With college basketball, it prepared me to deal with high pressure situations, performing in arenas in front of huge crowds. Most importantly it taught how hard work pays off. It you work harder and prepare, it helps you feel confident going into any situation. Of course comedy is a lot like Golf, we are trying to perfect something that can’t be perfected. Funny how that reason is why I don’t play golf but I can’t stop doing comedy. No matter how good you are, there will always be bad shows. Sorry for all of the sports analogies.

 

NSC: How did your career as a sports broadcaster influence your comedy?

PCM: Well it was like taking an Improv Acting Class every night. I was on LIVE TV every day. And every day things would go wrong, and you’d have to not get flustered or upset, just roll with the punches in the studio lights on LIVE TV! I would be on the air and hear in my earpiece “we don’t have that video tape.” So I would have to fill the next minute of dead air by talking and being entertaining without yelling at the crew who lost or melted the video tape that I worked six hours editing. I learned to deal with every situation calmly and comedically.

 

NSC: What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on stage or on the road?

PCM: The road stuff anything goes. I’m never surprised by anything in small towns. I grew up in one. So to do a show where there is no spotlight, or no microphone, or an audience gets drunk and approaches the stage doesn’t seem that crazy to me.

Crazy things to me are when people you grew up watching on TV end up at your shows. To have Kevin Bacon at one of my shows and talk to me after, or drink a beer with Screech, talk about my sleeping habits with Steven Wright, and to hang with Norm MacDonald after a show and have him tell you Bob Uecker stories for two hours. I went through customs with Rob Zombie last week. I love that stuff. Hunter S Thompson said life never got weird enough for him. I’m with him on that. Bring on the weird.

 

NSC: Who are the coolest or most influential people you’ve met/places you’ve been in your career so far?

PCM: When I first moved to NYC, I did a little show at the Boston Comedy Club for a tiny audience, the comedians out-numbered the audience. It was hosted by Ed Helms with Judah Friedlander, myself and Jim Gaffigan. It was the first time I met Gaffigan, and we became good friends and he asked me to open for him at a lot of clubs over the years. Last year, I opened for Jim at this huge theater on a Sunday, two shows were sold out. Backstage we laughed about that show at the Boston Comedy Club a few years earlier, so that was a cool moment.

Gaffigan also has that same kind of drive as me, he works so hard. People have no idea. It’s really good for me to be around people that have that same level of obsession about comedy and doing the work. Tom Papa is like that too. I’ve been working with him a lot in the last few years. He seems pretty happy-go-lucky but that guy works as hard as anyone. He just did a new hour comedy special and get this, it was directed by Rob Zombie.

 

NSC: What are your top five accomplishments to date (and why, if you feel like it:)?

PCM: Well obviously making 4 appearances on “The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson” is a huge deal for me. Not only did it make my mother realize that I was in show-business but doing it 4 times establishes you as a comedian who is prolific and can keep coming up with new sets and material quickly. Some people get a break big and do the show once but never really are able to get together another set. It’s really a lot of work and there’s a lot of discipline that goes into putting together those 5 minute TV spots for comedians. -HBO Comedy Festival -Performing my solo show “UNPROFESSIONAL” (based on my TV News Career) at the UCB Theater in Hollywood, Toronto and Montreal. Creating a new hour show with none of my standup in it, was pretty hard but very satisfying. -Creating the Alley Oop Podcast. My buddy Ari Shaffir really helped me get set up and motivated to start my podcast. I had really been trying to separate myself from sports, but this allowed me to bring my love of comedy and sports together. I’ve had Jim Gaffigan, Larry Miller, Ari and a bunch of other comics and actors on it. It’s really been fun.

 

NSC: What are you working on now and what’s your plan/next steps for your career?

PCM: Well, I’m doing this crazy tour (about 40 shows in 32 days) to create my next half hour of standup material.

I’m making the transition into TV writing, I’ve been approached to work on a few things and also develop my solo show a few other things I’ve written into TV shows, so that’s a new challenge I’m looking forward to. I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities to act this year. I went through the UCB Improv and did some sketch shows over the years. But this year I’m really focusing on some acting too, I just did a Nike Commercial with LA Clippers guard Chris Paul, where I played–get this—a sports reporter.

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BONUS QUESTION: What does New School Comedy mean to you?

PCM: Hmm, well I guess it means that people are really becoming fans of specific comedians instead of just watching comedy. It used to be if people liked you, you would get a sitcom. But now comedians like Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan would rather just keep developing new standup material each year and have the fans keep coming back to see them perform live. Almost like seeing your favorite band in concert every few years.

 

 

 

Matt O’Brien

In Comedians, Featured Acts on May 30, 2013 at 2:39 am

newschoolcomedy, matt o'brien, #mattobrien, Matt_O'Brien,

He may look like a joke-telling lumberjack but that just adds to the sheer zaniness of the one and only Matt O’Brien.  After growing up in a small town, Matt’s material about moving to the big city is both refreshing and ridiculous.

His list of notables include Best Stand-Up at the LA Comedy Festival, Next Top Comic by XM/Sirius Radio, Video On Trial, and a one-hour special on The Comedy Network in Canada.  All this with only FIVE years in the biz.  Someone get Alicia Keys one the phone ‘cause This Dude is on Fire! (eh em… clearly I need Matt’s help writing jokes.)

Side note: As a compliment to his extraordinary talent in stand-up, his hilarious collection of 6second stories on VINE… if you haven’t seen them, I suggest you start following him immediately. I’ve nearly snotted my drink through my nose on several occasions watching his mad edits- most notably his pronunciation of car license plates, undressing of the banana, and a series of shorts where Matt claims he’s “still got it.” (There are so many- I wish someone would just string them all together for broadcast already.) Certainly new media is in Matt’s future favor because he has clearly proved himself a creative content creator and sketch comedy bright light.

His comedy tour schedule is aggressive so you’ll likely be able to catch him on stage in the near future, click here for a schedule of his events. And you can always download his podcast ReHas# for maximum Matt O’Brien consumption. We’ll be keeping our eye out for his new projects and watching him travel the globe doing what he does best: being genuinely damn funny.

-Chelsea O’Connor

 

 

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NSC: Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

MO: Grew up on a farm outside of London Ontario…it’s funny how I have to say Ontario because people automatically jump to some British fantasy land, when the reality was a town called Thorndale, population 800, the only accent there was the broke down Hyandai outside the Barlows- lived there until I was 18, which I’m greatful for because I live downtown Toronto and the excitment of just being in a city still hasn’t worn off, I’ll stare up at buildings still and people will call me a peice of shit and run into me, it’s pure joy. Really.

 

NSC: When/why did you start doing comedy?

MO: Started about 5 years ago, fresh out of college I graduated with a diploma in Print/Broadcast Journalism.  I really wanted to be an on air TV host and I figured doing standup would help me be more comfortable talking to crowds and with people- I was interning at MTV Canada at the time I started, but then I loved doing standup so much I just focused on that 100%.

NSC: Briefly describe your creative process.

MO: Very loose…I know alot of comics that schedule time to sit in cafes and write, I’ve tried and I find I’m most creative when on stage, or even walking to a show even a show I’m not on- I get the most ideas when I have the anticipation of being on stage, or just being in the environment of comedy- that’s why I go out every single night of the week.

 

NSC: How would you describe your style of comedy and what makes it unique?

MO: I usually just say story telling, which is true, but I’d say it’s more a combination of stories and extreme self awareness, I like people to know that I know they know about things, ya know?

NSC: Who are your biggest influences?

MO: Really anyone who’s been a successful comedian. I can respect and be influenced by anyone that’s able to do this for an extended period of time, it’s insane. Growing up Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Seinfeld, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin all made me want to be a funny person.

 

NSC: Who are the coolest people you’ve met/places you’ve been in your career so far?

MO: Recently I was in San Francisco at their Comedy Festival, I got to party with people like Micheal Ian Black, Rachel Dratch, I didnt really talk to them but ya know they were there so that was exciting. I never really know what to say to “famous” people at the end of the day they’re really just strangers, we don’t know each other, we can’t really talk past “hey I’m a fan, thank you for how funny you are.”  I got to hang out with Rory Scovil recently at a pot show and I’m a a huge fan it was cool to just hang out and talk shit with him. Doing shows with comics/friends like Pete Zedlacher, Ron Josol, Mark Forward, Debra Digiovanni, I’m still very grateful to know these people and to hang out with them and talk comedy. I got to hang out and have drinks with Scott Thompson, one person I absolutely looked up to, it was surreal, he really opened up about Kids In The Hall, cancer, doing standup, it was really inspiring.

 

NSC: What would you say are your  are your top five accomplishments to date?

MO: Getting my Comedy Now special was a big deal, that was a 10 year goal I set and got it way earlier than I thought I would.  After that I stopped making extended goals and just focused on working my ass off. Being a touring comedian, making money from doing comedy always blows my mind, winning best at the fest in LA, getting into the SF Comedy Festival… just reaching the 5 year mark of doing stand up, it’s such a tough biz, but it’s the best choice I’ve ever made.

 

NSC: Name one of your most memorable moments in comedy so far.

MO: The whole day of my Comedy Now special was unforgettable…rehearsing, getting all made up, actually shooting it… I’ll never forget that day.

 

NSC: So, what’s your plan/next steps for your career?

MO: Try and expand into the US.  I just started doing one-off gigs in the States, got to gig in Montana recently. Basically I want to get my papers in order and move to LA when I feel ready and make more of a name for myself.

 

NSC: What are your next upcoming shows?

MO: Check out my website www.mattobriencomedy.com I post them all there.

 

NSC: What did we miss?

MO: I’m pretty proud of my podcast and the attention its getting I’ve got some great fans, some great support, basically I interview Comedians about their Twitter accounts.

NSC: Here’s a link to Matt’s podcast Rehas# : https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/rehash/id543097806?mt=2

 

BONUS QUESTION: What does NewSchoolComedy mean to you?

MO: What does it mean? Means new comedy?

NSC: Well, when you put it like that… yeah.