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Jarrett Edmund

Comedy Monday Night gives stage to first-timers

By Jarrett Edmund, May 19 2016 —

For 11 years, Comedy Monday Night has been a live-comedy staple in Calgary. The weekly event at Broken City provides a space for aspiring and established comedians to perform for a live audience.

“We’re the longest running open-mic comedy show in Western Canada,” says Comedy Monday Night producer and comedian James Moore. “We put 11 comedians on each night.”

By mixing up the order of the performers, Comedy Monday Night offers a unique show that blends veterans and amateurs together.

“You get a show that has momentum right from the start, and we always get great headliners,” Moore says. “Plus we can have you home in time for the 11 o’clock news.”

Although Comedy Monday Night draws a sizable crowd every week, Moore admits there wasn’t always a strong comedy community in Calgary.

“We started when there were no open-mic events in the city at all. Comedy Monday Night was born out of an absolute need,” he says.

Building a strong following from scratch isn’t easy, but Moore praises both the local community and Broken City for creating a scene that he feels is the envy of bigger cities like Vancouver and Toronto.

“We have a great group of local comedians in Calgary and I credit a great deal of our success to the support we’ve had from the staff and owners,” Moore says.

For first-time comedian Ryan Loach, the sense of community is clear.

“The other comedians were very welcoming. It was a really cool environment,” says Loach. “James took me on stage and gave me a complete run-down and it went extremely smoothly.”

Despite a few butterflies, Loach admits he wasn’t that nervous before his first comedy routine.

“I had rehearsed a lot at home” he says.

With his first set out of the way, Loach plans to continue pursuing comedy.

“The feeling is amazing. My favorite thing is making people laugh. To do it on stage with an entire room of strangers is unbelievable. It’s an absolute rush,” he says.

Moore says Loach’s experience isn’t unique to first-timers.

“It speaks to the character of the comics that are in Calgary. It’s a great community,” Moore says.

A seasoned veteran of comedy himself, Moore didn’t perform his first set until he was 43.

“It’s tough to get your toe in the door and one of the things I recognized early was the need for stage time,” he says. “That’s why it’s really important that we have places like Comedy Monday Night. There’s only one way to become proficient in comedy, and that’s practicing in front of an audience.”

Comedy Monday Night has been more than just a place for up-and-coming comedians to work out their new material.

“We’ve had big Hollywood A-listers jump on stage. Zach Galifianakis, Bob Odenkirk and Nick Offerman have all done sets,” Moore says.

For those interested in pursuing comedy or just looking for a good place to laugh, Comedy Monday Night at Broken City is a bargain.

“You can’t beat $5,” Moore says.

For more information about Comedy Monday Night, visit comedymondaynight.com

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