After many years gaining a reputation in the comedy circles around North America, Comedyworks is in the process of revamping their Montreal location. Located in the heart of downtown on Bishop street the intimate comedy club has undergone an almost complete overhaul of its weekly line-up. One tried and true variety they have kept is the headliner with a couple of openers. This is exactly what Montreal comedy fans were treated to this past weekend.
The headliner was Canadian Michael Harrison. Though I had never heard of him he is a veteran of the stand-up scene with more than a decade experience under his belt. That experience shone like gold on this evening. That is in comparison to his opening acts. Neither of the two comedians who came on stage before Harrison made any sort of connection with the audience and did not rouse much laughter. Which is always an unfortunate and slightly awkward situation when it comes to live comedy. Thankfully the polar opposite was true in regards to Michael Harrison’s time on stage.
Harrison has been doing stand-up since he was 17-years-old. Now in his early 30s he has really figured out his on stage identity and honed his act. This has been earned the hard way through constant touring and playing any gig he could get his hands on. Now working his way up to headlining his own gigs at Just for Laughs and taping a special for the Comedy Network. Pretty high heights for a guy from a small town on the Saskatchewan prairies.
His set was mostly made up of interactions with the audience (which he was particularly adept at) and then he would go off on related topics. Very little of what he did seemed rehearsed or predestined. Now, that might sound like some to be an utter disaster, but this was in no way anything other than a success. His two favourite “targets” were a set of parent(s)-kid(s) in the room. At certain points (to the delight of the rest of us) I’m sure either/or wanted to crawl under their tables. Great eye contact and connection with the audience. He comes across as honest, silly and occasionally outrageous. A very good comedy combo. Some very funny stuff about what a loser/geek he was in high school.
What was most refreshing about this guy was that he seemed truly astounded and grateful that his job entailed making people happy. Incredulously uttered that he gets paid to make people laugh. Never really heard comedy described quite that way.
Check out Comedyworks this coming weekend as Montrealer Guido Cocomello is the headliner. Tickets are a very affordable $15 or $10 for students.