This weekend I am hosting my cousin from California who I am afraid has much too high expectation about how cool I am. I think she mistakes my quirkiness and failed attempt to have my life mimic that of Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling into something more than spending my weekends crocheting and watching Dateline. With the added pressure of living up to a standard I am blatantly unworthy of, we ventured out this Friday the 13th to explore the city of Calgary. On our way to our first destination of the day, I pointed out Canada’s fanciest department store only to be horrified by the words “Eat Dick” spray-painted under the shiny Holt Renfrew sign. We then headed over to the Calgary Tower for lunch, only to be greeted by a blue shirted symphony and word that the Tower was closed for the day. So far my day of showing off my city was experiencing a lot of misses and I hoped that the evening’s visit to my favourite place in Calgary would provide a much needed hit.
Much to my brother’s chagrin, we arrived at the Loose Moose Theatre in typical awkwardly early, Andrea style. However, I heard that the show would be sold out and I wanted to ensure we had seats. After arriving far too much ahead of all normal audience members and picking up our tickets first, we drove around to kill time and arrived back to the anticipated full house.
It is quite surprising to myself that even after all my years of being an avid Moose fan, I had never attended a Christmoose Carol that had been running at Loose Moose for the past 18 years. The fate of my perceived coolness to my Cali cousin lay squarely in the outcome of the night’s show. Loose Moose went above and beyond its usual delightful off the cuff improvisational comedy and delivered a fresh twist to an over-told Christmas classic. The 50s television themed Christmoose Carol featured era focused jokes and yet remained relevant to the younger audiences. The show’s high energy antics reminded me of Monty Python or live television show classics like SCTV or the Carol Burnett show. My mother’s embarrassingly loud hysterical laughter shrilled loudly in appreciation from the fourth row to locally focused jokes. There were creatively imagined costumes, bungee cords & hole in bed and couch antics and a ton of jokes to keep the audience engaged. But the show stealer of the night had to be the talented Rob Mitchelson, who I was lucky enough to be taught by at the Loose Moose and have been watching on stage for many years. I have always been a fan of Rob’s humor, attention to detail and the seamless way he engages his audiences but tonight I saw the best of Rob’s work in my opinion. He was versatile, had incredible timing and bantered to perfection with his fellow cast members and got a slow-to-warm audience completely involved in the show by the end.
On the way home my Dad asked why people like Rob have not been discovered and made a difference in Canadian television. While Rob is a former instructor and casual Facebook friend of mine, I don’t not know the details on his comedy career. What I can tell you is that I have had the pleasure to be entertained by Rob Mitchelson on several occasions over the last 15 years at the Loose Moose and a few events around the city. It is performers like him that make me truly believe in the Canadian comedy scene despite the lacking television and movie scenes here in Canada. The Canadian comedy scene might not prosper on screen in Canada but it is alive and well and thrives in small black painted theatres and community halls all over this great country. It often troubles me that for some reason here in Canada we don’t put our money and resources in developing this talent to be recognized on national and even international level. If Canadian comics dare to dream of careers beyond the stage, their best chance is to take their talent to States to make the break into the thriving television and movie industry. But all over this country there lies gems like Rob Mitchelson, so make sure to share the joy of hidden local talent with friends and family no matter where they visit you from to make sure that you are supporting the deep wealth of comedic talent in the local Canadian comedy scene.
The night of Friday the 13th ended in success and laughter thanks to my good friends at the Loose Moose Theatre. If you are in Calgary this holiday season, I urge you to grab your loved ones to check out Christmoose Carol. You won’t be disappointed because it was well worth every penny of the inflated holiday pricing. I would much rather pay inflated holiday pricing for a night full of belly laughs than water-downed drinks at Calgary’s nightclubs. Did I mention tomorrow’s plan is a night out at Cowboy’s? <insert unimpressed eye roll here>
Who knows maybe it will provide me with my next a slightly hilarious blog post or broken bone? Until then, keep laughing!