Tag Archives: comedy

SEPTUAGENARIAN BRURIA COOPERMAN DEBUTS HER 1-WOMAN SHOW AT TORONTO FRINGE FESTIVAL: REBEL BUBBIE, INC.

Just 6-weeks until Toronto welcomes the annual theatrical Fringe Festival, offering a multitude of comedy and drama presentations by hundreds of actors, writers, directors and hard-working crews. Hot off her scene-stealing appearance in the Adam Sandler film, You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, 75yr old Bruria Cooperman, a.k.a. Rebel Bubbie, a semi-reformed, self-confessed renegade, stars in an unfiltered one-woman comedy at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. Always in search of adventure, Rebel Bubbie has discovered that marriage won’t stop you from being arrested, banned from a casino, or getting kicked-out of a bagel joint. From performing improv in NYC in the 60s & 70s, to directing and producing theatre, to drag racing (the 4-wheeled kind), floating in a weightless space tube, writing books – Rebel Bubbie has done it all! And only arrested twice! Cooperman has led a life of trail-blazing: she was part of the first generation of children born in Israel, post-Holocaust. From an early age, she exhibited an attitude of “Hey, look at me!” This adventurous child got into all manner of scrapes with her playmates and on her own. Always finding humour in the darkness, she wrote a book about children born to Holocaust survivors titled For This I Survived? Children of Survivors Beyond the Trauma (avail. on Amazon).Rebel Bubbie posts fun videos sharing her “Yiddish Word of the Day” on her YouTube channel – subscribe to: @RebelBubbie. Follow on Facebook & Instagram.

Definition: Traditionally, a bubbie (the Yiddish word for grandmother) wore floral housecoats, made chicken soup and gave you the biggest hug. Today’s bubbie still loves you, but wears designers suits, plays tennis and orders in.  Bruria’s co-writer, executive producer and director is Eva Almos (pictured below) who has found success as a writer/executive producer on both the East and West coast. A graduate of the Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop, Eva began her career as staff writer of multiple episodes of Duckman.  She won a CableACE Award and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program for the episode “Noir Gang.”  She has worked on numerous live action and animated series including The Wild Thornberrys, Pinky and the Brain and Invader Zim.Eva went on to develop and executive produce the animated series Carl Squared for Teletoon, developed Dave Darling-Head Case for Starburns Industries, and developed/wrote the popular TVO/PBS series Wild Kratts where she also plays fashion-designing villain Donita Donata.  I remember Eva as the voice of so many brilliant radio commercials in the 80s/90s – so good was she, that Eva became the go-to voice actor for every advertiser, but bigger things beckoned her in Hollywood…and the rest is tv history!I’m thrilled to be publicizing Rebel Bubbie, Inc. throughout the Toronto Fringe Fest period so watch for news on my social media throughout the next 6 weeks.

All 60-min. shows take place at the Alumnae Theatre, 70 Berkley Street, Toronto
Thursday, July 4th   6:00 pm  $10.00
Saturday, July 6th   12:30 pm $15.00
Sunday July 7th       2:15 pm   $15.00
Wed. July 10th         6:00 pm  $15.00
Thurs July 11th        8:15 pm   $15.00
Friday July 12th      6:00 pm  $15.00
Sat. July 13th           3:15 pm   $15.00
Tickets: www.FringeToronto.com

MEET CARLA COLLINS: SHOWBIZ RENAISSANCE WOMAN & HARDEST WORKING COMEDIAN IN DA BIZ!

Oh, how I LOVE this funny lady! Carla Collins has been making me laugh for many years (I won’t say how many ‘coz a lady never tells her age – Carla’s or mine!). This Canadian-born comedy powerhouse has created a brilliant creative niche for herself in Los Angeles that puts Ryan Seacrest to shame – Carla does it all.  She’s won awards for her acting, has built a HUGE fan-base for her stand-up comedy and tv series, modelled, authored an hysterical autobiographical book, and is now conquering the radio airwaves as co-host of the LA AF show. She also Founded a unique comedy/meditation program that launched just as Covid hit us (and it took off online throughout pandemic isolation) and is currently applying her artsy-fartsy sketching skills to produce custom “vision boards” for friends and clients. Way too many skills and credits to list here…whew! So why don’t I just let her tell it herself….laughing out loud is permissible and inevitable!!Carla, as the old ad says… “you’ve come a long way baby”. Did you ever imagine you would be such a successful creative producer, web series hostess, author and comedy goddess in Los Angeles when you first stepped onto the comedy stages here in Toronto?  Oh Honey, you’re so sweet but I’m just out here hustling and happy to be doing what I love. Been a rough couple of years for the industry with the strikes and the Jean-Claude Pan Damme so I’m lucky I’m a bit of an arts Swiss army knife and can do some comedy, some acting, some voiceover work, some hosting and even some drawing. You’ll know that I’ve finally made it when I have a butler called Cavendish, warm kittens stacked up next to my bidet instead of moist toilettes and I’m wearing Fruit of the Illuminati underwear!I remember back in…well, quite some time ago… when the CTV network sent you to Hollywood to host their Oscar red carpet news and interviews. Was it terrifying or did you feel you were finally with “my people”?   Yup, it’s been a minute since my red-carpet days and I think I was one of the first Canucks covering the Oscars red-carpet. It was pretty nerve wracking at the time because we were live, and I used to get very anxious doing new things. Now I would jump up and do 45 minutes of stand-up at a garage sale! I have always loved LA but I don’t think this place is necessarily anyone’s tribe or people, more like another planet with great weather! It was wonderful to meet Sting in person and ask him what would last longer, an Academy Awards acceptance speech or a tantric orgasm? As I remember, I took a lot of heat for the Judy Jetson outfit I wore. No regrets!  (G: Oh I remember that orange sparkly thing well)

Comedic Meditation – you launched this initiative several years ago, helping people reach nirvana (or at least sort out some shit) via comedy and yoga and just chillin’ out – a strange intersection of philosophies, sure, but it all worked. How/why did you launch CM and how important did your online presentations become during Covid?  Actually, there’s absolutely no yoga involved whatsoever, even though I’ve been practising yoga for a couple of decades now. This is simply stand-up comedy followed by an authentic, original guided meditation. It happened pretty organically as I have been a big fan of meditation for years. My Mom practiced Transcendental Meditation so I’ve always known how beneficial meditation can be but so many people in LA are self-proclaimed gurus and many of my friends were too intimidated to go to a meditation center. I started this at a friend’s chiropractic and wellness space here in the valley one night a few months before the pandemic. I had been writing my own meditations for a couple of years because I wasn’t loving the ones online and I wanted to remove the woo woo factor and make meditation more accessible and digestible to everyone. I’m also a very hyper person, most of the time I shake like a chihuahua on meth after a couple of 5 Hour Energy drinks so I figured laughing for 20 or 30 minutes before sitting or lying still to meditate would help burn some energy, release endorphins or at the very least, people would hear about my crazy life and feel better about theirs! Turns out laughter and mediation are a great combo because they both produce the same gamma brainwaves.People seemed to really enjoy the odd marriage right out of the gate, and I was lucky to get some lovely media coverage early on. Chuckle & Chill (that’s what I call it now) combines my two greatest passions: comedy and wellness/spirituality. I think it seems natural that haha moments would lead to aha moments. I was in Canada doing a mini-Chuckle & Chill tour when the world shutdown and C&C transitioned fairly seamlessly online. I believe people were very stressed and felt more comfortable doing this in their own places. Everyone loved that they could just roll over and go to sleep after a session and didn’t have to drive home! I tailor both the comedy and the meditations to make them more personal for each group or individual.  I mean who doesn’t need to laugh and relax more in these rapture adjacent times?

You currently have several projects on the go, including Laugh of Attraction, and especially your unique Vision Pop Boards. You’re helping people create visualizations of their wishes and dreams, right? So how can we get our own customized vision boards? Yes! The Laugh of Attraction family now includes Laffirmations (merry mantras that make you giggle and punch through to your subconscious more easily than the generic affirmations. For example: “My skin is as smooth as jazz” or “I have an attitude of gratitude when I’m in the nude”), “Chaneling” instead of channeling with my French lingerie model stand up psychic character Souffle (“Knock, knock, I know who’s there and what to wear”), Vision Pop Boards where I draw you and what you want to manifest (see below) and coming soon my Tarot Grigio comedic tarot card deck.When I was a kid and throughout high school, I wanted to be a fine artist. Shout out to my Facebook friend and high school art teacher Mr. Olsen! I would overthink and stress about each drawing or painting, so I abandoned my watercolors even though art was my first love. This year I started sketching again on the down low. My brother and best pal Rick, who teaches Art History at a private school in New Zealand, saw my sketches when he was visiting over the holidays and encouraged me to keep going.  I was sketching little vision boards because I heard it was a great manifestation tool and I found it very therapeutic. Rick asked me to make him one. I posted a couple of them online and started getting orders from friends and lovely people on socials. Rick felt my style was more pop art/cartoon thus Vision Pop Boards! Basically, I ask people to send me a few pictures of themselves along with things they love and want to bring into their lives. I sketch the person in the middle of the piece and use symbols, drawings of their desires, pastels and some magic to create the boards. I also do some generic feelgood boards like a winning scratcher ticket. These can all be used as phone or computer wallpapers. You can order your customized VPB by hitting me up on Insta or FB or emailing me directly: carla@carlacollins.com So tell me about your “professional 3-way” with Grace and Jimmy co-hosting the LA AF podcast – how did you meet, what was the “lightbulb moment” that focused your sights on hosting the show? And what is LA AF all about?  Jimmy McCammon and Grace Fae McCammon reached out to me on Instagram back in December and asked me to be a guest on LA AF, a Los Angeles-centric show that has some fun at the city’s expense. I believe their tagline is News. Culture. Snark. As a good, trusting Canadian, I literally drove to a stranger’s home in Pasadena whom I had never met out in the wild or even spoken to. I keep joking that I could have ended up on Dateline. Instead, I was really impressed because Jimmy is an amazing producer and is very funny. He reminds me of my bro. The whole show has a morning radio vibe, is jam-packed with pop culture and is loosey goosey but professional. Grace is a phenomenal jazz singer, like a modern-day femme fatale from the 1940s and a beautiful spiritual soul. They are just the most lovely and talented couple. The chemistry was straight fire and there was a seamless ease to the hour when I was a guest. In January, Jimmy reached out to ask if I would be interested in being a regular host for two of their three shows a week and it’s been a delight ever since. We are getting some great guests and numbers and I’m loving it. It reminds me of my radio days. I have been asked to join several podcasts but this time it just worked. I believe Jimmy started this podcast during the pandemic then Grace joined him and now, we’re a throuple! Professionally speaking of course.Listeners can stream the shows on Spotify, iTunes, etc. and join LA AF Patreon for the entire show with lots idle extras for just $1 a month https://www.patreon.com/laaf?utm_campaign=creatorshare_creator

We all loved you in Carlawood – the comedic tv series telling of your quest for fame and paid gigs in Hollywood. So has your life actually mirrored those tv episodes?  Often and it’s only become weirder and more entertaining, I wish we were still filming. It was back on good, old fashioned cable TV in Canada. More recently on Amazon Prime. When I first moved here, I thought people in LA didn’t understand sarcasm but it’s more that it’s so wild and weird in this city, anything is possible and can happen. Los Angeles is almost impossible to parody. I think there is always a lot of fodder in my life mostly because I constantly find myself doing comedy in the oddest places: funerals, wealthy people’s living rooms, nudist colonies (I mean, where am I supposed to keep my phone?). I’ve had to follow Burlesque performers who are wearing less material than Carrot Top’s act and doing gymnastics on stage with great names like BonBon Paris and Lola Boutee. At that moment, I don’t want to do comedy, I just want to become a Burlesque dancer called Gigi Hadidn’t. I’ve performed stand up at a hospice here (that afternoon we were all dying…) and I’ve even performed at the Kabbalah Center in Beverly Hills where I told them my Hebrew drag queen name was Yum Yum Kippur! Also, LA is loaded with so many delicious, crazy characters right outta central casting, literally. There’s never any shortage of material here. I recently found out my yoga instructor was a coke head. This explains why we kept only taking in deep inhales. It’s very convenient to take a snort in downward facing dog! I also now know it wasn’t yoga keeping her so slim and confident.Any more fabulous books in the works? Angels, Vampires & Douchebags (2010) was brilliant, hilarious and a very insightful look into the life of a vixen on her journey to tinseltown. You must have enough material for at least 3 or 4 more books….  Aw, thank you so much Doll, you are too kind. I have recently completed writing a children’s/inspirational book called The HuaHua Way. It’s a love letter to my beloved Chihuahua mix Dr. Zira who passed away. It’s the “true” story of my three dogs: Buster, Miles and Dr. Zira (pictured below with their mistress) which subtly tackles some heavy issues like grief, divorce, sexism, etc… and I hope it brings comfort and joy to animal lovers everywhere. It’s currently being illustrated and should be released in time for the holidays this year.  Right now, I’m working on another non-fiction book called Botox in my Third Eye which, like Angels, Vampires and Douchebags, is somewhat autobiographical and combines comedy with self-help.And your stand-up comedy – you’ve headlined and guested on so many of the BIG stages (and TV specials) across the US and Canada…where are you appearing next, where can fans come out to worship you?   Hahaha worship! Welp, you can come laugh at me for sure. I will be on at The Laugh Factory on April 18th with iconic host Frazer Smith. Just follow moi on Instagram @carlacollinscomedian for all upcoming dates and hopefully I’ll be back in Canada for some shows soon.Any other news or stories you’d like to share?  Just that I appreciate wonderful goddesses like you who have always been wonderfully supportive. You have been a tireless champion to many Canadian entertainers, and we really appreciate your expertise and wit Darling. Remember, every time you laugh…an angel gets knocked up by Nick Cannon or Elon Musk so keep laughing! xo

Visit Carla’s website for all her social media links, videos, funny business, news and more… https://www.carlacollins.com/This blog is dedicated to Carla’s muse, the late great Dr. Zira (below)

“LIVE FROM THE POOL DECK” INTERVIEW WITH CANADIAN COMEDY ICON, EVAN CARTER

EVAN CARTER is one of my all-time favourite comedians. When I worked as agent for Toronto’s Yuk Yuk’s Komedy Klub back in the 80s, he was my go-to guy for corporate gigs when the client required a clean comic, and he was a brilliant MC for in-house shows as well as gigs across the country – Evan was always reliable and could deliver the goods no matter who the audience may be.
Back then, record labels and concert promoters would frequently use comedians to open for their touring music artists and I booked Evan for gigs with some pretty big names such as the chart-topping Aussie pop duo Air Supply and the late R&B legend Marvin Gaye when he stopped in Toronto on his Sexual Healing tour…oh my!Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of not only working with Evan but sitting in the audience as a civilian and watching/listening to him kill it on stage. Now we can all watch him on YouTube and listen to his recent comedy album You Speak So Well.I was thrilled when Evan agreed to come visit me for a Live From the Pool Deck series of video Q&As talking about his current “Legends of Motown” musical stage show that’s successfully packing ‘em in across North America, as well as past triumphs and stories from the comedy trenches.  His new website has just been launched [www.evancarter.com] so check Evan out for yourself and see why he’s considered “the comedian’s comedian…”

Thanks for sharing all the laughs over the past four+ decades…keep it up, we need all the laughs we can get, Evan. LOL
Again, visit Evan’s new website for social media links plus videos and concert soundtracks – www.evancarter.com

 

MEET LUKE LYNNDALE, A REAL STAND-UP GUY & FOUNDER OF THE DANFORTH COMEDY FESTIVAL

Thanks to an introduction from “That Canadian Guy” comedian Glen Foster, I recently connected with LUKE LYNNDALE, a fellow stand-up comic and the Founder of a brand new comedy festival taking place over 2 weekends next month (Aug.) on Danforth Avenue in Toronto’s Greektown.

The Danforth Comedy Festival line-up of exciting and hilarious comedians includes many who you might have seen on Canada’s Got Talent, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Conan, Comedy Central, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as Just for Laughs, Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Halifax Comedy Festival, CTV Comedy Channel, and CBC Comedy. See full line-up, shows dates and times at www.danforthcomedyfestival.com I recently spoke with Luke to learn about his roots in the comedy scene, his Comedy Nuggets comedy agency and, of course, this inaugural laugh fest spanning two weekends in August….

What first drew you to a career in comedy? Did you start off studying to become a medical professional, accountant, stockbroker, auto mechanic?  My father was a professor at McGill University in Montreal and saw a posting for a comedy competition. I went and won $50. I was hooked! In university, I studied mathematics but I didn’t have any specific direction. Later, I did lots of work as a digital product manager.

You first worked as an improviser – what propelled you into stand-up comedy?  Well, actually, I started in standup. In Montreal, I did standup for two years before moving to Toronto to take courses at The Second City. Then, I did both for two years before taking a long break from comedy. I started back doing improv in 2010 and standup back in 2017.

How did you become a finalist in 2020’s Comedian of the North competition? And what is that contest all about?  I first competed in the Comedian of the North competition in 2019, when I didn’t place. I went back in 2020, and finished third. The competition is in Thunder Bay, ON. It no longer runs but was produced by Incidents Comedy – Miki Hughes and Carole Cunningham.You’ve worked in the States in festival and club environments – how do US audiences differ from Canadian ones?  For me, I haven’t found many differences at all. My material isn’t Canada-specific, except for one or two, so most of material works well in either country.

You created Comedy Nuggets, an agency/promoter securing gigs in clubs and corporate venues for fellow comics, and most recently founded the Danforth Comedy Festival here in Toronto that launches August 4th and runs for 2 weekends. What drives Luke to succeed in such a capricious business? First, I want a great show for both performers and audience. I’m a performer first, so I want there to be lots of audience and good audience – those ready to laugh and looking for a good time. This inaugural Danforth Comedy Festival means lots of balls in the air…how good a juggler are you?  In my corporate life, I worked at times as a project manager. So, juggling and prioritizing are strengths. I don’t get stressed. I do my best, make decisions and go with it.Who are the comedians (or shows) we should look out for at the Fest? Any improvisers or stand-ups we’ve never seen before but should?  This is a loaded question because they should all be seen or else they wouldn’t be in the festival. Some of our headliners are Nathan Macintosh, who is a Canadian living in New York City, has been on late night TV. He’s a favorite in Toronto. We have two Greek headliners –  Efthimios Nasiopoulos and Manolis Zantonos, both hilarious and must-see. We also have Rob Haze – one to watch. On the improv front, we have HERE: The (Improvised) Musical. They are a duo from Columbus, OH – Tara DeFrancisco Rance Rizzutto, ask the audience for suggestions and then create a 45 minute musical, all improvised.

For all details, venues and ticket information, log onto www.danforthcomedyfestival.com and follow the Fest on Instagram @danforthcomedyfestival or Facebook.com/danforthcomedyfestival

 

JOIN NOW TO VOTE FOR THIS YEAR’S NOMINEES INTO THE CANADIAN COMEDY HALL OF FAME

Starting April 1st, YOU can vote your favourite Canadian comedian into the CANADIAN COMEDY HALL OF FAME...but you must become a Member first. Visit www.canadiancomedyhall.com and for a special lifetime membership fee of $25, you will have voting rights to ensure your favourite “Performers” are added to the Hall’s list of great comedic artists. “Voting is set to open as of April 1st for this year’s group of inductees into the Canadian Comedy Hall of Fame,” says Founder and Exec. Director Tim Progosh, “and we hope everyone across the country will become members so they can cast their votes for their favourite performers named on the impressive list of nominees.”  Voting runs until May 24th.  “After 2 years of Covid lockdowns, restrictions and lack of live entertainment, Canada needs a damn good laugh”, continued Progosh, “so we’re proud that the Canadian Comedy Hall of Fame celebrates the country’s funniest comedians, creative professionals as well as great artists from the past whose legacies paved the way for today’s comedy stars.”   Those stars voted into the Hall this year will be announced July 1st, followed by a formal presentation event later in the year.
Here are just a few of this year’s nominees…Learn more about the previous inductees and plans for the future of the Canadian Comedy Hall of Fame by following social media (all linked on the website) and visiting www.canadiancomedyhall.com

AND THE NOMINEES ARE….CANADIAN COMEDY HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES 2022 NOMINEES FOR INDUCTION

On behalf of the Board and Nominating Committee for the Canadian Comedy Hall of Fame, I’m pleased to announce this year’s inductees featuring legends of Canadian comedy in three categories: Legacy, Creator and Performer.

First off, nominated as performers (10 to be voted in):  Norm MacDonald (pictured), Mike MacDonald, the cast of SCTV, the cast of CODCO (pictured), Steve Smith, Rose Oulette, Catherine O’Hara (pictured), Mort Sahl, Elvira Kurt, Michael J. Fox (pictured), Al Waxman (pictured), Phil Hartman, Leslie Nielsen, David Steinberg and Dan Aykroyd. The Creators nominees include (5 to be voted in):  Mark Breslin/Yuk Yuks (pictured), Sandra Faire, Keith Johnstone/Loose Moose Theatre, Robert Gravel and Yvon Leduc/La Ligue Nationale d’Improvisation (pictured), Ivan Reitman (pictured), Andy Nulman/Bruce Hills of Just For Laughs Festival, Jo-Anna Downey – Comedian/Open Mic impresario, Andrew Alexander/The Second City and Lorne Michaelsand as Legacy inductees (2 to be acclaimed): Oliver Guimond, Mordecai Richler, The Happy Gang, the cast of Wayne & Shuster (pictured), Beatrice Lillie and silent film director and founder of the Keystone Cops Mack Sennett (pictured).The inductees will be announced on July 1st with a formal live ceremony to be announced later.

The Board and Nominating Committee has also voted to acclaim writer and humourist Stephen Leacock (pictured below)…and the legendary TV comedy producers Frank Peppiatt & John Aylesworth (pictured below) into the Canadian Comedy Hall of Fame. The vote was unanimous for Canada’s greatest humourist and the writing duo that dominated and changed television comedy in Canada. Every year the Board and the Nomination Committee has the ability to acclaim two Legacy acts into the Hall.In the words of Exec. Director and Founder of the Canadian Comedy Hall of Fame, Tim Progosh: From the very first political cartoons in the 1860’s through the two world wars, the advent of silent movies and the rise of television, Canadians have always been leaders in making people laugh and recognized for those achievements around the world.  And from Board Member and comedian, now Director of Pembroke’s Festival Theatre, Rick WhartonThe wealth of comedy talent in Canada is just mind-blowing. As well, there are so many people behind the scenes who need to be recognized, too. 

I encourage you all to join up for membership and learn more about the current and future plans for the Canadian Comedy Hall of Fame:  www.canadiancomedyhall.com   and follow them on Fcbk, Twtr and Instagram for weekly updates and news.

FUNNY LADY CARLA COLLINS OFFERS INFECTIOUS LAFFS WITH NEW COMEDY ALBUM “PANDEPIC!”

With three comedy albums currently available on iTunes – Mobius Stripper, The Best of the Worst of Carla Collins and Recovering Nudist, funny lady extraordinaire CARLA COLLINS has just unleashed…er, I meant released her latest album PandEPIC! available now on your favourite streaming platform. Here’s a teaser of the tracks: www.carlacollins.hearnow.comIMG_4218Recorded at the legendary El Mocambo nightclub in Toronto in between Covid lockdowns, this hilarious escape from reality delivered by our favorite emotional support cougar will have you laughing your ass off !

Carla’s reality show Carlawood is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, and she’ll soon be filming her first US comedy special produced by the legendary David Steinberg and Proven Entertainment once the industry opens back up post-pandemic. She recently launched her new podcast/web series Carla Collins Rox the Elmo where comedy, music and spirituality meet for the perfect three-way. Carla has also teamed up with bestie, entrepreneur and longtime vegan Michael Stuart Webb for a new podcast to complement their upcoming book called The Douchless Vegan: a Giddy Guide to Living a Delicious Life without Being a Dick.d veganCarla is the creator of Chuckle and Chill: Comedic Meditation, a revolutionary new concept where after delivering thirty minutes of her stand-up comedy, she leads the audience through an authentic, original, relaxing guided meditation. An instant hit, her comedic meditation has already been featured on NBC’s California Live, CP24 News, SiriusXM Radio, CBC’s Metro Morning and in The Eden Magazine and LA’s Splash Magazine.20CCEA42-71CB-46F0-B8B5-7B9781544E96Carla is the bestselling author of Angels, Vampires and Douche Bags, a comedic motivational tome which I read in one sitting – it’s so damned funny! – and is currently writing a new self-help coffee book entitled Stairs: A 30 Day Step by Step Guide to being Fab AF. Her hilarious comedy can be heard around the world on various Sirius XM stations, Spotify, iHeartRadio, TIDAL and Pandora. You can also hear her melodic voice on several commercials and cartoons. So you see…Carla is the reigning queen of all comedy media! Below, Carla shares the stage with Canadian comedy legend, Kenny Robinson.with KennyHaving known her since the early 90s (when she was a mere child!), I’ve watched Carla rise from her first comedy appearances in Toronto, through her stints as a TV reporter on the Oscar red carpet in Hollywood, to producer/host of her own network tv & webtv shows, to best-selling author, meditation guide, to headlining star in leading comedy clubs in Canada and the US. She’s so multi-talented, she out-Oprahs Oprah!!IMG_4199As we’re crossing fingers, toes, eyes for Covid restrictions to ease, why not enjoy a damn good laugh with Carla as she guides us through life, love and lust with a little squirt (yes, Carla, I told you I’d find a way to incorporate your fave word) of lascivious and licentious laughter via her brand new comedy album PandEPIC! now available via Amazon, Spotify, iTunes, Apple, Pandora, Deezer…etc.

If you wanna keep up with news of future  shows, books and live appearances, visit her website www.carlacollins.com and if you’d like to explore her wellness thru laughter program, visit: www.comedicmeditation.com   You go, girl!ECC32362-64EA-4F9F-BA47-EA1611C7EC47

CANADIAN COMEDY ICON GLEN FOSTER TO RELEASE COMEDY ALBUM “UNCHECKED” MAY 25TH!

I’ve known GLEN FOSTER for nearly four decades, representing him during the 80s as part of the Yuk Yuk’s Komedy Klub agency Funny Business, then working with him again several years ago when he launched a series of independent comedy showcases featuring the best of the best of Canadian comedy talent.  Known as That Canadian Guy, Glen has become a mainstay on the Canadian comedy circuit – he didn’t just work the road, he’s one of the comics who built it! His comedy is clever and intelligent, combining reflections on his own personal experiences with razor sharp commentary on current events and popular culture.World_on_shoulders_0253 (2)He has appeared many times at the world-renowned Just For Laughs festival, had his own TV specials on the Comedy Network, can be heard frequently on CBC Radio’s “The Debaters” and he’s a club and corporate event favourite across the country.  That Canadian Guy is a reference to Glen’s first network comedy special during which he joked about the fact people could call him “that Canadian guy” if they couldn’t remember his name.  Sure enough, after the show aired, Glen received a flood of e-mails from viewers who said, “I couldn’t remember your name but I remembered “that Canadian guy.” This became a part of his act….

Glen contacted me recently with great news…he’s releasing a brand new comedy CD on a real-life record label, so I asked him a few questions about how the album, UnChecked, came to be during the pandemic lockdown as well as how the comedy industry has dealt with the lack of live audiences….

After being locked down and locked out of live performing for 14 months, you’re releasing your new comedy album “UnChecked” May 25th – is producing this album how you spent your time during Covid quarantine?  I’m a procrastinating perfectionist which is a terrible combination.  It means that a lot of things never get done.  And if by some miracle, they do get done, they’re never right.  Oddly, I was wildly productive at the beginning of the pandemic; I created a “Covid Comedy” website to showcase comedians who were doing online projects during lockdown.  I co-wrote a Covid parody song and I was one of the first Canadian comedians to attempt a Zoom show.  In fact, just hours before the lockdown, I borrowed a van and raced to Home Depot to get a piece of fake brick wall so I could build a virtual stage in my basement which I called “The Covid Club”.  But did I work on the album?  No, well, not right away.  The bulk of this album was recorded in January 2020 which is very lucky, because a month later, we were going lock down for three weeks to “flatten the curve”.  After it was done, I decided to set the recordings aside for a while so that I could come back and listen with “fresh ears”.  For me, “a little while” means “forget about altogether”, so it wasn’t until we were in full blown pandemic that I actually started listening.  And then I listened repeatedly, over and over.  I made detailed notes as I prepared a paper edit.  Being a bit of a purist, I was hoping to record the entire album from a single show.  (Personally, I think it’s cheating to record six shows and take the best bits of each), however, it turned out that the best recording was the Saturday early show, which is a shorter show because they have to bring in a second crowd. This meant that I couldn’t do a full headline set.  So, full disclosure, I had to edit in material from other shows. 18739257_612638128931218_5476678764500736413_o (2)As the pandemic dragged on, so did the editing process as I sent notes and audio files back and forth with the producer, who was a friend with a newborn who was also time-challenged in his own way.  I vacillated between completely ignoring the album and sudden urgency for completion.  First it was to release the album in time to qualify for the Junos. When that deadline passed, I thought Canada Day might be a good time to release.  Of course, I couldn’t get my shit together in time, so by late summer ‘20, I had decided to hold the release till Christmas.  Then I got a call that changed everything.  A comedian friend I have known for many years, put me in touch with 800Pound Gorilla Records, which is the largest producer of comedy albums in the world!  They wanted to hear my album but they couldn’t get to it until after Christmas so I made the decision to postpone yet again!  Finally, almost a full year after I had recorded it, I got word that they wanted to sign me to a distribution deal.  I am very excited because UnChecked will the first album that I have ever released on an actual record label.  It’s only taken forty years to get some US audience and media attention.Head_hands_out_0093 (2)How did you choose the material included on the album?  Well, first of all, I had to eliminate material that I had already done on previous albums, which I managed to do – mostly.  There were a couple of bits from earlier albums that I HAD to include because they were working well with some of the newer bits I had been working out, so they had become part of my regular set.  I would say though that there are only a couple of exact repeats.  Most of them are bits that were in an early development stage when I first recorded them.  Now, of course they’re much more polished, or I’ve spun them differently or changed the delivery.  Besides, I wouldn’t be the first comedian to get away with doing an “old” bit on a new album.  Unchecked has been growing as a concept in my mind (and in my act) for a few years now.  Partially it’s a reference to my scatterbrain existence. I have a To Do list with NO checkmarks, which is not entirely true, I suppose, because I did manage to get this album out…finally.   However, it also refers to the fact that as a “cis gendered white male” I don’t check any boxes.  If you look closely at the cover, you will see that it is made up of actual check boxes, some of which refer to things that are still on my “to do” list like “Screenplay” and “Taxes” (the deadline is looming as we speak), while others are boxes that I can’t check like “Female” or “LGBTQ”.  I’ve thrown in some more whimsical ones as well, like “Rich”, “Sexy”, “Astronaut” plus a few more contentious ones like “woke”, “safe”, “politically correct”. – things I am most definitely NOT.  So in that sense, the third meaning of UnChecked is not holding back, no holds barred, which is an approach I certainly take on this album.  I seem to have a penchant for ambiguity; I love it when things have two meanings, so UnChecked having three gives me a kind of nerdy thrill.

You pride yourself in working “clean”, but with all the frustrations of isolating with the family, were you tempted to go from That Canadian Guy to That Pissed Off & Angry Canadian GuyI used to be more of a stickler on the clean thing, but now I like to play both sides of the fence.  I can do a completely clean show if that is what’s required, but shows where you can cut loose are a lot more fun.  I don’t mind dropping the odd F bomb, but I would never swear for the sake of swearing.  If you’re going to do it, it should help the joke. There is only ONE F bomb on the entire new album, but there is no way to do the joke without it.  I’ve tried, but F*ck is the only word that really works.  I could have cut the joke, but I really wanted to include it because, apart from getting a great laugh, it makes an important point about the state of comedy and what should be considered “funny”.  In fact, there are a few observations about the state of comedy, particularly with regards to political correctness, cancel culture and what you can and can’t say.  Or more specifically what I, as a cis gendered white male, can’t say.  Or certain taboo topics that comedians are not allowed to joke about.  The only rule I have in comedy is that there should be no rules.  In fact, when someone tells me that I can’t do a joke about such and such, I see it as a challenge to find a way to do it.  For me, the jokes that create the most tension are the ones that bring the biggest laughs and the best of those are the ones that leave you wondering “Was that offensive?”  I would say that about 70% of this album is pretty close to “Disney clean”, and another 20% could be considered questionable, but that last 10% is going to make some people’s heads explode!!  So I look forward to the release of UnChecked and my subsequent cancellation…LOLliveWith the possibility of live performances starting up by end of summer, are you already planning shows in Toronto and across the country in support of the album?  If I do any touring, I don’t think it will be in Canada, not for a while at least.  We are way behind on vaccinations, so I don’t see things opening up again until fall.  Even then, I think older crowds, which I appeal most to, are going to be pretty skittish about going into crowded spaces for some time. Or maybe, if they ever perfect Zoom, we’ll be doing more virtual shows.  I’ve done a few of them during the pandemic, and some of them were awful.  Even the good ones don’t compare to LIVE though.  Of course, if the album is a big hit, who knows?  This is the first time that my comedy will be heard all over the world and that may bring some new and interesting opportunities.

Several years ago, you presented a series of live stand-up shows (The Canadian Aces) featuring comedy greats like the late Mike MacDonald, Evan Carter, Ron Vaudry, Ronnie Edwards and Simon Rakoff, as well as your then Hump Dump Live radio show co-host Lawrence Morgenstern. The rooms were packed with fans who appreciated the sharp and timely material. Could such a series of shows happen again, either with the Aces or the young’ens once we’re allowed to go back in to the clubs?  Again, it remains to be seen. And again, the primary market for that sort of thing would be an older crowd who, as I say, might be a little skittish about crowded spaces for a while.  The good news is more and more comics have been in this game for twenty years or longer, although due to all the lockdowns and on again off again closures of live venues, 2020/2021 may have an asterisk in the margin of the record books.

In That Canadian Guy’s opinion, how has the comedy scene changed over the past 4 decades since you started out?  Comedy reflects reality, so all the issues that have been part of that reality like racial tension, the #metoo movement, gender issues have all had an influence on comedy. The biggest thing I’ve noticed would be the rise of political correctness, which isn’t unique to comedy of course, though comedy seems to be the focal point of a lot of anger lately. Certainly a number of comedians have been under the threat of being “cancelled” for mere jokes.  This is another one of the themes of UnCheckedGlen Foster_Unchecked coverThere is this notion that comedy, like everything else needs to be more diverse and inclusive.  Along with that comes the idea that old, white, male comedians such as myself should step aside, give up our privilege, etc.  As a result, I find that a lot of comedy is more preachy than it used to be.  It’s more about making your point, or standing up for this group or that group, not punching down, etc.  There is a lot “clapter” these days which is a term for an audience half laughing, but more clapping and agreeing with whatever point a comedian might be making: I think it’s all a bit of nonsense.  To me, the only thing comedy has to be is funny.  My rule is be funny first, then you can preach or do whatever the hell else you like, but be funny first.

Where can we purchase/download your UnChecked album and how much will it cost to enjoy and own great comedy?  On May 25th, it will be available on all the usual music download platforms like Apple, Amazon etc.  Or you could just visit my website www.thatcanadianguy.com because I will have all the links listed there.

Good luck with the launch, Glen…I hope everyone buys the album and the next blog interview I do with you will be for next year’s Juno awards!!  Make sure you visit Glen’s new website, follow him on Fcbk at  www.facebook.com/thatcanadianguy or visit the record label    www.800poundgorillarecords.com

Fabulous funny lady CARLA COLLINS tickles funny bones, meditates on life & laughter, and soothes our souls

I remember the night of the Oscars many years ago when one of Canada’s leading TV networks sent beautiful Toronto comedienne CARLA COLLINS down to L.A. to cover the red carpet arrivals and do interviews with the stars. OMG, I’ll never forget that vision of her in a bizarre, wild orange sparkly frock tossing out bon mots and kudos to the stars, drawing them into her microphone and asking them hysterical questions about their nominated roles, their lives and loves…and whatever else came into her head – a wacky stream of consciousness. She was brilliant! Totally unafraid to meet to BIG named stars head-on, kinder than Joan Rivers but just as “intimate” with her enquiries, Carla charmed everyone that night and I knew it was only a matter of time that she herself would walk among the showbiz giants…on 6″ stilettos and with even bigger hair!

Working her magic in west coast comedy clubs, hosting corporate events & awards nights, special guesting at swanky soirees – years later Carla has forged a successful comedy career as well as becoming a best-selling author, launched a brilliant interactive program that merges laughter with meditation and yoga principles, and now back on home turf in Canada, she’s hosting a brand new webcast series (which should go live with a studio audience once Covid quarantining is over) staged at the legendary El Mocambo nightclub in downtown Toronto.

I recently caught up with my fellow blonde goddess and posed a few scintillating questions I thought my readers would enjoy….th (1)It’s been a long time since your first stand-up gig at The Rivoli in Toronto – do you remember your excitement or fears when you first set foot on the stage? And did you think it would lead to such a successful career in comedy for you?  For the longest time I was absolutely terrified of doing stand-up and had a crushing nerve problem where I couldn’t even eat for days leading up to going on stage. I only dabbled in comedy a couple of times a year when I was working fulltime on TV and radio.  Although comedy was my first love, I was terrified before every show. Now I could jump up and do 45 minutes at a garage sale! I can’t wait to make people laugh and I certainly never imagined it would become my greatest high and healthiest escape. Like every other comedian right now, I’m practically doing a tight 5 in the Whole Foods parking lot against everyone’s will.   The Rivoli was the mecca of comedy – I’m so sad to hear it has closed and so honoured to have had the opportunity to perform there a few times.

Your stand-up comedy has attracted a huge following in the States and whenever you’ve come home to Canada for special appearances you pack the theatres – do you find any difference in the audiences?  Audiences can vary a little from place to place, city to city. If I were to make a general, sweeping, certain to offend someone observation it’s that US audiences tend to be a tad more effusive and more prone to standing ovations and Canadian audiences seem to prefer more intellectual humour at times. Having said that, depending on the town or region, that statement can be totally flipped. At the moment I would kill for any type of audience, even though my Chihuahua, three kittens and UPS driver have been a great crowd during lockdown.15C4588F-D0F0-4D61-B70A-CBE938F0D1FE

Have you had any really weird experiences while doing your shows? Any men’s underwear thrown on stage, mothers claiming you seduced their sons or maybe some ugly streakers?   One time in Long Beach, California, a very drunken woman slurred and heckled throughout my set. That wouldn’t be remotely unusual except for the fact that I was performing at an AA meeting and the Ziplock bag full of vodka that fell out of her purse was frowned upon by the organizers. Last year in Calgary a former hockey player and his girlfriend bought me many, many drinks after I headlined a show. I had to excuse myself and retire to my room as I was beyond tipsy only to find a $1,500 tip in my purse! I was a bit of a legend the following night as the other comedians and wait staff had witnessed the event. Pretty sure I naively escaped an Albertan three-way!headshot2In one of your many film appearances, the diamond heist adventure Bitch Slap, you got to work with both Hercules (Kevin Sorbo) and Xena (Lucy Lawless) – how was that experience and did you manage to score any super powers of your own?   Well I was only in one scene so I didn’t get to work with either one on set. I did meet Kevin at the premiere and I already knew Lucy through a mutual friend. She’s absolute perfection and is one of my girl crushes. Pretty sure everyone adores Xena/Lucy. The only super power I emerged with was my ability to overact even in the tiniest of roles and my ability to kill off husbands. Metaphorically.bitchslapA few years ago, you created a fun online chat show, Carla Collins Comes Clean, set in your actual bathtub where you told us about all sorts of hilarious things that happened to you. How did you come up with the crazy concept and did you ever invite any special guests to the tub?   We had so much fun doing that web series and we still have a season 2 that needs to find its way out into the wild. It was directed by Tom Moser who has won multiple Emmys in animation. My then producer, Penny Edminston, and I thought it would be funny for me to just rant away in a bathtub as that is my natural habitat and form of cheap therapy. I would straight up be doing prison time if I wasn’t allowed to take baths. We were tickled by the twist ending of reversing the camera and showing some poor pizza delivery man, nun, B list celebrity, etc… fully-dressed in the tub with me and forced to hear my bullshit. There is interest in remaking the show this coming year so expect to see more of me, as it were. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

I’m interested to learn about how you’re exploring your spiritual side by launching the innovative Comedic Meditation program, hosted online now (thanks, Covid you bitch!). Please tell me about the healing effects of humour and how you have merged guided meditations with laughs and smiles.   Currently, Comedic Meditation is my favourite child! I think I have often combined my love of comedy and spirituality including performing stand-up at the Kabbalah Center in LA and my humorous self-help book “Angels, Vampires and Douche Bags”.8179923._UY630_SR1200,630_ (2) I’ve been spiritual all my life and have practiced yoga and meditated for almost 20 years now. Everyone in Los Angeles claims to be a guru and I just wanted to take the intimidation, preciousness and woo woo out of meditation. It’s simply focusing on your breath. The marriage isn’t as unconventional as it may seem at first. Starting off with 20 to 30 minutes of stand-up allows everyone to release endorphins and get out of their own heads and both meditation and laughter produce the same gamma brainwave. People are finding that they are able to relax more deeply and more quickly after some giggles (and sometimes a few drinks) Also, although no one thinks Zoom comedy shows are ideal, the meditation portion may work even better delivered online as people can relax comfortably in their own home without feeling judged and without having to drive home…or wear pants.   I’ve been fortunate to do a few corporate comedic meditations this month for a few organizations which I loved.  Thanks to several sponsors like our title sponsor, The Michael Stuart Webb Team, you can sample a show right now at no cost by visiting www.comedicmeditation.com Figure we all need to chuckle and chill during these mad times.9584DC8C-8DFF-4DBA-8F02-C07769F0FD8D meditationMore recently, you returned to the stage here in Toronto at the legendary El Mocambo nightclub presenting a unique talkshow-style webcast called Carla Collins Rox the Elmo – do tell…how did this happen and who will you be chatting with?  Pretty sure masks and podcasts have both become mandatory! I had a wonderful experience playing the Elmo for two shows in September during that brief but glorious window when venues were quasi-open. I had quarantined with Elmo Owner and former Dragon’s Den star Michael Wekerle and his family and we became fast friends. Michael Stuart Webb (whom I refer to as my gay fiancé!) and I had already partnered on Comedic Meditation and he was launching his new media group so the three of us joined forces to produce a pandemic panacea podcast/web series. Carla Collins Rox the Elmo is the perfect three-way of comedy, music and spirituality where mental health meets metal health with the iconic venue as the beautiful backdrop.logo IMG_5293 with KennyWe just wrapped season one with some exceptional guests partaking in no-holds barred, intimate interviews. Many also treat us to mini concerts you won’t see anywhere else. Season one includes candid chats with actor Dean McDermott, Canadian music icon Gowan, comedian Kenny Robinson (pictured above, with Carla), Olympic skating queen Elizabeth Manley, recording legend Kim Mitchell, singer/songwriter Gordon Deppe, the list goes on.  Naturally there’s a lot of laughter and great music but also a lot of raw emotion and honesty. I’m very proud of this show and hope everyone will check it out on my YouTube channel and/or iTunes and Spotify.IMG_5378The Covid lock-down, isolation and quarantining has not dampened your sense of humour and certainly hasn’t curtailed your creativity. How many webisodes are you planning at the Elmo and then what’s next for Carla Collins? Any more books in the works?  We’re planning more webisodes in the new year when we are able and I’m also going to release a new comedy album from my two shows in the fall at the El Mocambo (maybe even a TV special!).  I am working on a new book: the world’s first motivational/self-help coffee book featuring the beautiful fashion designs and photography of my dear friend Jorge Del Busto called Stairs: A 30 Day Step by Step Guide to being Fab AF.  It features various photos of me on a staircase with some hilarious and hopefully helpful hints of being even more fabulous than you already are 😊 I’ve been billing myself as the world’s most immature mature model. Funny fact: I was just signed to a modelling agency in LA. Now I’ll be spending the entire holiday season phoning up my exes and letting them know that they didn’t know it, but they were bangin’ a model!Facetune_20-11-2020-19-10-45 IMG_4986Carla, is there anything else you’d like to add, any shout-outs or messages to your fans?  Just wanna send everyone lots of love and laughs right now. Stay safe and healthy. If you can, during lockdown, adopt a pet. Or an accent.

Watch for webisodes of Carla Collins Rox the Elmo now on YouTube!76E97749-7719-4666-A45F-9BB83EF87B94

CANADIAN COMEDY LEGEND, KENNY ROBINSON, TO HOST ROCK TRIBUTE BAND FESTIVAL IN OSHAWA

Back in the 80’s when I ran Yuk Yuk’s Komedy Kabaret and its talent agency, Funny Business, one of my favourite comedians was Kenny Robinson. Kenny always showed up and delivered a killer set and was one of the most reliable MC’s we had on the roster.  No matter how big or humble the gig was, whoever the audience was, Kenny would have ’em rolling in the aisles!  And a few years ago, I was privileged to watch as Kenny was presented with the “Phil Hartman Award” for his contribution to the Canadian comedy industry at the annual Canadian Comedy Awards in Ottawa.Kenny 2Next Saturday, Sept. 16th, Kenny is the host of a unique concert featuring 5 of Canada’s top rock tribute bands and I know that only Kenny can keep things rolling and on time for the 1st Annual Durham Rock Tribute Festival (details below).

His irreverent, socially conscience, intelligent, opinionated and profane style of comedy has made Kenny a fixture and favourite with comedy clubs, festivals, radio, and television audiences for 3 decades.  Raunchy, energetic, sharp-witted, and sharp dressed, Robinson is a one of a kind act. Not for the weak of heart or narrow minded, Kenny assaults your sensibilities and funny bone with unspoken truths.  His episode of the CBC’s Comics has been referred by the Toronto Star as “One of the few episodes that still stand with the test of time” and many Canada’s brightest young comics have claimed Kenny as a mentor and influence. 17457914_10154980646416271_3297041097344781726_nI asked Kenny a few quick questions for this blog and he obliged with the following….

You’ve hosted a lot of music and comedy concerts over the years – do you remember the first one you MC’d and/or the show your hosted with the biggest stars?  My first gig opening for a band was with Tommy Tutone…(867-5309…Jenny Jenny) at the El Mocambo. Later I would host for Jim Carrey, Bo Diddley, and Peaches and Herb.18057020_10155068379351271_2914880231838205834_nHow important is the job of the MC when you have a lot of performers in the line-up?  As the host, my job is to keep the show moving…keep the crowd entertained and informed. On the 16th, I will have five bands and five hours of no holds barred rock and roll on such a tight schedule that VIA rail would envy!!

You’ve been the star of your own TV comedy specials and headlined many live shows in comedy clubs or concert halls: what do you prefer – TV or live?  I love TV and performing live.  TV exposes me to a larger audience and usually pays better…but live gigs give me the thrill and challenge of improvising or trying previously untested material – I’m like a jazz musician that way.

Do you have any musical preferences? With the 5 tribute bands performing on the show you’re hosting in Oshawa, do you have any favourite genres or are you a closet disco king?  I’m basically a blues junkie, so Bad to the Bone and The SRV Experience will be the highlights of the night for me…no disrespect to the Skynyrd boys, haa haa!

Where can your fans see you next?  Folks can catch me the last Sunday of each month hosting Kenny Robinson and his Nubian Show at the downtown Toronto Yuk Yuk’s, and for the 420 crowd, at the Green Leaf Vapour Lounge in Brampton where it’s not unusual for me to drop two long sets.

Do you have a website or social media networks? Folks can check me out on Facebook, or my much neglected website http://www.kennyrobinson.com/contact.html17554206_10154989207221271_4898851077302236969_nKenny’s hosted The Gemini Awards and was twice nominated for his writing and performance in his ground breaking one hour special “Thick and Thin” on the CBC.  Kenny has earned accolades as the creator/writer/producer and host of the edgy late night series “After Hours with Kenny Robinson” on The Comedy Network.

As an actor Kenny has appeared in such films as “Third Miracle” with Ed Harris, “Down To Earth” with Chris Rock, Clement Virgo’s “Love Comes Down”, and David Sutherland’s “Love, Sex, and Eating the Bones.”  Robinson has appeared on the CBC’s “Royal Canadian Air Farce”, Showtime’s “Soul Food”, and has a wide fan base from his re-occurring roles as “Jelly Bean” on PAX series “Doc”, starring Billy Ray Cyrus, and as “Mickey” on the teen fave “Radio Free Roscoe” on the “Noggin” Network. 17554420_10154989217981271_2719326215689466989_nCome see/hear Kenny work his comedy magic as he rides shotgun on this incredible line-up of bands next Saturday night.

Durham’s 1st Annual Rock Tribute Festival 
Saturday Sept, 16th (doors open 5pm)
General Sikorski Hall, 1551 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa
Tickets are available from: www.ticketpro.ca 

Thanks to our media sponsor…..CKDO logo