Hey Fish Fans,
If you are in Toronto be sure to catch Diana debuting her solo show “Self-ish” at the Toronto Fringe Festival. Written by Kuan and directed by Fish alumni director Dawn Milman, Self-ish tells the story of Esther Jin, a 30-something Korean-Canadian, navigating her relationship with her family in the aftermath of a recent tragedy. It’s funny too! Honest!
Here are some opening night reviews!
Seven shows left! Don’t miss out!
Rated 14A, for coarse language and violence against cardboard boxes.
Ticket details here.
Good morning Fish Fans!
We’re still recovering from our late night opening show at the Vancouver Fringe Festival last night. What a blast! We were absolutely astonished to see a packed house and we would like to thank all of those brave souls who sweated through our act. Apparently Studio 16 gets hotter throughout the day due to the stage lights – and we were the last act of the day – so for once we can say without bragging that we were likely the hottest show at the Fringe last night (har har har). So if you are planning on seeing our show or any of the other fine offerings at Studio 16, particularly the late night shows, please dress lightly and bring water.
We also woke up to the crazy news that we’ve been profiled in the Globe & Mail.
We haven’t had time to see any other Fringe shows yet but here are some sure bets put on by some talented friends of ours from the Vancouver sketch comedy scene that we will definitely be trying to catch:
“Strapless Sketch Comedy”, featuring Jackie Blackmore and Lauren Martin
“The Johnny Tomorrow Chronicles” with Michael John Unger
“I am the Bastard Daughter of Engelbert Humperdinck” with Kathryn Kirkpatrick
We’re also really excited to see SNAFU Dance Theatre’s “Kitt & Jane: An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near-Post-Apocalyptic Future” because we loved their production of “Little Orange Man” at the 2011 Fringe and this is the sequel.
We’ll post more reviews and recommendations as we see more shows. If you see us on the island or after one of our shows feel free to suggest some to us!
A Big Box of Funny – Clockwise from top left: Reid Along With Browning, OPM, Kasper Hauser, MEAT, Morgan Brayton, The Pork Filled Players, The Cody Rivers Show, The 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors
By Kuan Foo
One of the greatest things about being in a sketch comedy troupe is that you get to perform at comedy festivals where you can see a lot of great and inspiring comedy. People that we have had the pleasure of seeing or sharing with the stage with over the past 10 years include the Blackout Broadcast, Bucket, Canadian Content, Charles, the Cory and Doug Show, David C. Jones, the Dead Understudies, Hey You Millionaires, the Kupps, KYHU, Obscene But Not Heard, the Skinny, Ten West and the 30 Cent Players.
Backstage with Doug Morency and Ayumi Iizuka of the Kupps, the epitomes of class and professionalism on and off the stage. They also taught us that ukuleles are hilarious when correctly deployed.
The following are some of the troupes and individuals who have had the biggest influence on us in our development as a comedy troupe. Thank you all for letting us play in the same sandbox as you. (P.S., I have no idea if those are real titles for the individual sketches I have listed but those who have seen them will know what I’m talking about.)
Morgan Brayton. What can we say about Morgan that has not been said (and likely by her). It is not too much of a stretch to say that we owe our continued existence to Morgan. If she had not plucked us from obscurity, like a Hollywood producer discovering a small-town ingénue at the county fair, and programmed us into Vancouver SketchFest in 2005, we likely would not have celebrated our second anniversary, much less our tenth. Over the years she has been a supporter, a mentor, an ally and an incredible friend. And she is also one of the smartest, funniest, fiercest sketch comedians that we know, whether performing solo or as part of a group. She taught us one of the most important lessons that any comedian can learn: that you are ultimately responsible for what you put on stage and how it is perceived. Or, to put it in her more succinct words, “Never write a cheque that your ass can’t cash.” Personal favourite sketches: Any of the “Button Bradley” monologues, “I want a baby!” (from the Crawford Twins with Lauren Martin), “ICE CREAM!”
MEAT (Elizabeth “Biz” Ellis, Reggan Holland, Becky Poole and Livia Scott). I’m not sure if this NYC group is still around but they were arguably the biggest influence on us in terms of content, philosophy and intelligence. An all-women group that never made women the butt of the joke but instead created comedy that was dazzlingly varied in form and content, sometimes sharply political, sometimes surreal and geeky, but always hysterically funny. We met them at Vancouver SketchFest in 2005 where they immediately took us under their wing and made us feel like a real comedy troupe for the first time. Personal favourite sketches: “Dancing Poodles”, “Black Babies” and “Evil British Children.”
Pork Filled Players (Current line-up Brian Beckley, Matt Dela Cruz, Agastya Kohli, Narea Kang, Maggie Lee, May Nguyen, Melissa Slaughter, Roger Tang, Brad Walker, Owen Yen and Yvette Zaepfel), OPM (Charles Kim, Ewan Chung and others), 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors (Michael Hornbuckle, Greg Watanabe and Peter Wong). I’ve lumped these three groups together not just because they are all Asian American, you racist, but also because they were all instrumental in showing us that you could be respectful and true to your identity but not restricted by it. I remember being asked at a panel discussion if we found being an Asian Canadian comedy troupe “limiting.” The answer is that we find being an Asian Canadian comedy troupe about as limiting as Monty Python found being a troupe of freakishly tall, Oxbridge-educated Englishmen limiting, which is to say, being an Asian Canadian comedy troupe is only limiting if you think being an Asian Canadian is limiting. These three groups are anything but limited and we have been honoured to perform with and be inspired by all three over the past decade. OPM, alas, have hung up their spurs but the PFPs and the Warriors are still going strong. Personal favourite sketches: PFPs “I’m dead”, OPM “Homeless Chinese woman”, 18MMW “Citizenship test”
Reid Along With Browning (Matthew Reid and Sean Browning). The self-described “thinking man’s hot bowl of stupid” are the Pixies of sketch comedy: they are never going to be as popular as Nirvana or Pearl Jam but they are the group that all of the other bands listen to and secretly want to be. Almost impossible to describe except to say that while many groups DO absurdist humour, Reid Along With Browning ARE absurdist humour (and really nice guys to boot). Personal favourite sketches: “Reid Along With Browning: Edgy” “Waiting for Godot: the musical”.
The Cody Rivers Show (Andrew Connor and Mike Matthieu). Probably the most inventive comedy troupe we have ever seen, combining elements of theatre, dance, mime, slap-stick, wordplay, time-travel and wrestling, sometimes within a single sketch. No two sketches are alike or even closely related. I once heard someone describe them as what would happen if Robert LePage created sketch comedy. I would disagree only in that Cody Rivers often transcends sketch comedy altogether. Personal favourite sketches: I don’t even know where to begin.
Kasper Hauser (Rob Baedeker, Dan Klein, James Reichmuth and John Reichmuth). Watching them is like entering an alternate universe where you no longer make sense. They are masters of taking a offbeat premise and playing it out to its (il)logical conclusion with complete commitment. And they once did an entire show in clown suits. Personal favourite sketches: “Phone call to the 14th century” “Blaine Cardoza.”
A big thank you to the Powell Street Festival for another amazing year. It’s a privilege to be a part of this incredible community event for 10 years. Special thanks to Kristen Lambertson, Julia Aoki, Janice Wu, Miko Hoffman and all the other fabulous staff and volunteers who work so hard to put on this festival every year.
Warm thanks to Jamie Burns and Linsy Rotar who run a tight ship at the FireHall Arts Centre; Laura McLean, our director who makes us look and sound so good; and Linda Ong Chan, who usually wears a publicity hat but was happy to don one of our new T-shirts and distribute fortune-teller fish.
Last but not least, thank you to our fans. What a great turnout on Saturday! We loved performing for you and hope you had fun. If you liked what you saw on Saturday, please join us in September at the Vancouver Fringe Festival for Assaulted Fish: Sacred & Profane. It’s going to be a one hour extravaganza of our favourite sketches of the last ten years. Tickets are now available through the Fringe box office. You can also pick up a Fringe program around town.
Stay tuned. We’re going to make a special announcement tomorrow!