Inspiration and improv found me at the Calgary Fringe Festival

NotoriousI have been facing a creative slump as of late, when it comes to my improv and comedy pursuits. But whenever I am feeling stuck or in a funk, I look down at my Eiffel Tower tattoo on my left arm. Everyone asks me about it and I have given an abbreviated explanation, “Going to the Eiffel Tower changed my life.” But the more accurate reasoning behind it is that the Eiffel Tower changed my perspective. After years of being miserable at the bottom of the barrel of my career and a personal battle with depression I got laid off from my job and found myself smack dab in front of this beautiful sparkling tower. In the middle of my tour, I went found a quiet place to look up at the tower and promise myself to never forget that no matter how rough life gets, moments like this will unexpectedly sweep into my life and bring in that joie de vivre – the joy of life.

As I said I have been feeling like I have been in a slump with improv these days and it should be anticipated because of the summer and shows and classes being few and far between. But even when I do have a chance to jam with people, I have been feeling a bit off and not as comfortable as I was feeling in the spring. I was not willing to quit though because I knew that around the corner would be that joy that improv and comedy had brought into my life. And this week after a class with one of my favourite longform improvisers, and a couple of really fun shows I checked out during the The Common Ground Festival and The Calgary Fringe Festival – I am feeling excited about telling stories and doing improv again!

Learning from Covy Holland of the Kinkonauts was a pretty exciting opportunity for me, not only because I have become a big fan over the last few months, but because Covy is a comedy geek like me and appreciates the same kind of styles that I do. I might not have had the greatest class but it got me excited to hear a new perspective on improv from someone as passionate and nerdy about it as I am. I really hope to get more opportunities to learn from Covy and fellow comedy geeks in the upcoming season.

On Saturday I took some friends to check out Five Dates at the Common Grounds Festival. Written, produced and starring my new improv friend, Shawn Hoult. It was a story about his first and last five dates he had as an awkward and nervous 19 year old in the ‘90s with an older girl who he was just unable to seal the deal with. The show was in a small black space, with two chairs, two talented actors and soundtrack I could identify with. It was vulnerable, quirky verging on awkward at times, funny and so honest. And it is cool to see people use at-the-time-traumatic moments to inspire a funny and engaging story. To me, that is art in its purest form.

Tonight I capped off my amazing long weekend with some Fringe Festival wonderfulness with my improv friend, Jocelyn. Jocelyn is another improve lover/geek who recommended we go check out Chase & Stacey’s Joyride before hitting up the Notorious Beer Garden.  The show was held in the Lantern Church in Inglewood and I really had no idea what to expect as I sat in a church pew and waited for the show to start. They had a hilarious musical opening number with singing, rapping and awful and funny dancing followed by longform improv and sketch comedy that had me close to tears it was so freaking hilarious. This show is playing again Friday and Saturday, so if you like laughing and stuff – check it out!

The night was capped off with my boyz, Notorious who have a sweet Fringe set up with their Pop-up Patio in Inglewood. I know how much work it took them to bring it all together with press, set up and doing solid sets for nine days in a row but the work has definitely paid off. They have had sold out shows every night and I was so happy to finally get to see it all come together myself tonight. My favourite thing about Notorious, besides their mad beats of course, is that you can see the respect they have for each other and their audience from start to finish. Their energy is engaging and it is just such a good time outside there with beer and pizza. If I could every day to Notorious Beer Garden, I would but I can’t because of work and stuff – so why don’t you go for me!

I am happy this week came around and reignited my passion to learn and create more in the Calgary Improv and comedy scene. I know a lot of cool stuff is coming up in the fall and I am so excited to work to contribute to this bustling comedic community because in my heart I know, this is where I find my Joie De Vivre!


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