“This show should just be called Now.”


When you advertise a free show during Oprah, you should probably figure that the audience is going to be made up of a lot of bored middle-aged women, the unemployed, and maybe some mental defectives. And my girlfriend, who immediately picked up her phone when she saw a message flash onscreen and secured us four tickets to an upcoming taping of Comedy Now, figuring we could take the couple across the street.

Because I had to go downtown on business the next day, I picked them up. Noticing that they didn’t mention anything about who would be appearing, I hit Google to find out and eventually deduced that we could be seeing one Glen Foster, aka “That Canadian Guy.” I was baffled to see that his website described him as a veteran of the Canadian comedy scene. Why would a guy who mostly appeared in venues such as the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, The Mike Bullard Show, and CBC Radio’s The Debaters try to distinguish himself by going by a moniker that would describe almost all other comics appearing in such places? I read further: “Glen is also a popular corporate entertainer, performing regularly at conventions, golf tournaments and other business and charity functions,” the website said. Corporate entertainer? That didn’t bode well either.

Still, a free show is a free show. It turned out that the couple across the street were in Greenland, so we went by ourselves. As we arrived to find a long line waiting to get in, we decided the extra tickets hadn’t been wasted. After all, they’d cost us nothing, and because it said right on them that seating was first come, first serve and not guaranteed, by holding on to a pair of extras, we were theoretically keeping two people out of line who might have otherwise been competing for our seats.

We got good ones too, right in the middle of the balcony’s second row, with a couple of empty seats in front of us that were repeatedly occupied and re-emptied as people sat down, realized their view was obstructed by a banner hung from the railing in front of them, and then left to find something better. I sat next to an enormously fat woman who had been in front of us in line, accompanied by a skinny, greasy-haired guy whose protruding Adam’s apple more than made up for his lack of a chin. “Let’s cuddle in case we get on camera and people think I’m with her,” I whispered to my girlfriend.

The show began, and That Canadian Guy was pretty much what I’d feared he would be: a polished corporate entertainer whose act left me stone-faced. But he seemed to go over well with the rest of the audience. On the other side of my girlfriend, a woman guffawed lustily at each of his punchlines and occasionally blurted “It’s so true!” at his universal truths. With annoyance, my girlfriend asked if I would please switch places with her. I obliged, and she took my place next to the enormous woman, who immediately slipped off her flip-flops and filled the air around her with a noxious stench that made my girlfriend gag.

Meanwhile, That Canadian Guy went on an interminable riff about the name of the show being filmed, saying that he’d been on Comedy Now before, so this made his previous appearance Comedy Then and asking the audience to please not videotape the show because it was supposed to be Comedy Now, not Comedy Whenever the Hell You Want. “This show should just be called Now,” said my girlfriend, rolling her eyes. I practiced a slack-jawed expression and tried not to think about the fact that at that very moment, Louis C.K. was preparing to go onstage down the street.

Meanwhile, the woman next to me was having a blast, still laughing uproariously. That Canadian Guy wrapped up a joke, then said that this seemed like a good time to take a break. “That was a good place to take a break,” the woman said admiringly as That Canadian Guy stood onstage having his nose powdered by a makeup girl.

Then, looking past me at a group of spectators in the row behind us, she said pointedly, “Someone should tell that annoying woman to stop talking.” They gazed back in confusion. I wondered if she’d perhaps heard her own voice echoing. My girlfriend, now dizzy on foot fumes, asked if she could please sit beside the crazy woman again, and we switched back to our original locations.

“Any fat lesbians in the audience?” asked That Canadian Guy, beginning the taping again. I inadvertently looked over and made eye contact with the enormous barefoot woman, then looked away, feeling guilty. The eye contact had clearly been accidental. She obviously wasn’t a lesbian; she was clearly there with a skinny, greasy-haired, chinless partner with an Adam’s apple too large for him to be mistaken for anything less than a one hundred percent pure hunk of man.

“Look on the bright side,” my girlfriend whispered, “At least you’ll have something to blog about later.” She says this kind of thing now and then, and I rarely agree. That Canadian Guy wasn’t going to have anything funny to say, so I wasn’t going to have anything funny to say, and it was just going to be a long, mediocre, Jeff Dunham-esque experience.

I eventually felt better when he finally left the stage after a long final bit involving terrorists whom he for some reason represented as speaking with Indian accents and was replaced by the second of the night’s two comics, Sunee Dhaliwal. Mostly, though, I was glad that the couple across the street hadn’t been able to make it, as I’d have been embarrassed to have subjected them to That Canadian Guy. I was even gladder that they had been the ones to go to Greenland and not, say, That Self-Appointed Canadian Guy. I’m not sure he’s the most representative ambassador for our country’s comedy circuit, although I do think he’s missing a good chance to add a semi-offensive Danish/Inuit accent to his repertoire by not making a pilgrimage to the Godthåb Yuk Yuk’s.

That said, he’d done well enough with most of the audience. But as I said, when you advertise a free show during Oprah, you’re probably going to get an audience of bored middle-aged women, the unemployed, and some mental defectives. And when the show ended, the house lights went on, and we all stood to leave, I saw someone who was all three of these things: my former brain-damaged housemate Toula.

I quickly turned away. We’d narrowly avoided Toula only a couple of days earlier, having walked right by her while she was sitting on the patio of a coffee shop on the Danforth. My girlfriend marveled that Toula had actually gotten it together enough to make it there, which would have required remembering a phone number, remembering to pick up the tickets, and remembering to actually come on the night of the show. I was disappointed because I’d missed the chance to play scalper by selling Toula our two extra free tickets.

5 Responses to ““This show should just be called Now.””

  1. 1 Keith

    That made me cringe. Yow.

  2. Which part?

  3. 3 Keith

    Any part involving the “comedy” or the bizarre people near you. So pretty much everything.

  4. 4 MC

    Glen Foster or Louis CK. I think that is one of the easiest decisions ever. Unfortunately you chose… poorly. You have my sympathies.

  5. Reasons we chose Glen Foster over Louis C.K.:

    1. The tickets to see Louis C.K. were over fifty bucks, while our tickets were free.
    2. Louis C.K. wasn’t the featured performer of his show, but merely the host emceeing a show featuring other comics.
    3. The Louis C.K. show had actually taken place on a previous night, contrary to what I believed at the time.
    4. I don’t like myself or think that I deserve happiness.

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