By IAN DOIG
Some of the biggest laughs happen in small clubs, and Calgary features a handful of such intimate comedy venues. In fact, the longest-running (almost nine years) open-mic comedy show in Western Canada takes place once a week in what happens to be one of the city’s coolest music clubs. A collection of bar stools and booths surrounds the dance floor and stage at Broken City. Here, on Comedy Monday Night, you’ll find funny-man host James Moore and his comic guests surrounded by a semi-circle of laughter.
The show has a reputation among stand-up comics: Zach Galifianakis and Bob Odenkirk have both dropped by. Why is that?
They’re comics, and they like to get out and try new stuff. We have a reputation for putting on a show, and that probably draws them in. Galifianakis absolutely destroyed the place. Odenkirk had some great new bits he was trying out, equating his kids to living with the worst roommate ever.
We’re like the El Macombo of comedy—the club in Toronto where the Rolling Stones would drop in and try their set out before they went on tour. We’re a bit like that. We’re also getting a lot of top-shelf Canadian acts like Glen Foster and Mike McDonald.
For somebody dropping in to catch a show, paying $5 at the door and suddenly you get somebody like Glen Foster pop up on stage, it’s an electrifying night.
What sort of fun does Comedy Monday Night feature?
It’s where anything can happen five minutes at a time. We do a two-hour show and always end with a great headliner. Most comics do short sets and new material. Every week we get a couple of guys who’re up there for maybe their first time.
Broken City is an intimate venue. How does that affect the performances?
It’s a perfect storm for comedy. The audience is pretty close to the stage. A lot of people are fully prepared to stand through a two-hour comedy show. You can hear a pin drop sometimes—the whole room just hanging on that joke.
Why should someone attend Comedy Monday Night?
You never know what’s going to happen. Come for the thrill of it. You might see a Calgary kid who’s on stage for the first time who’s going to be a big star. The next Jim Carey might be born at Comedy Monday Night. Or you might be there when a Galifianakis or an Odenkirk drops by. You never know what you’re going to get.
Broken City is located at 613 – 11 Avenue SW. Comedy Monday Night is presented each Monday, 8 pm to 10 pm (doors open at 7). For more information, visit www.comedymondaynight.com.