Local comics ready for download at the Waldorf Hotel

In the comedy world, Louis C.K. is king. During his reign, it has become the standard for standup comics to constantly push forward and create new material rather than rest on their laurels, thanks to C.K.’s yearly out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new practice. With his cultlike following, he recently decided to forgo labels and release his latest concert footage as a download on his website for a mere five bucks. In 12 days, he amassed over a million bucks. Fellow comedians’ heads began to spin. Aziz Ansari and Jim Gaffigan followed suit. And now that DIY attitude is trickling down to the rank and file.

Enter Paul Breau. The Vancouverite (and nonpractising standup—he hasn’t performed a set in over a year) believes this model just might work on the local level. Vancouver, after all, has a thriving standup-comedy scene, even if its practitioners aren’t household names. Working in the multimedia industry, Breau realized he has the technical expertise and experience to put together a three-camera shoot and develop a website that will sell downloads for $5 apiece. So he’s gathered 10 of the city’s best comics and will film their respective acts over five nights this week.

“None of these comedians are well-known enough that they can afford to do this themselves,” says Breau at a downtown coffee shop. “None are of the stature of Louis C.K., but I think they’re extremely talented. I think they should be household names.”

Each night, two performers are recording their shows at the Waldorf Hotel’s Cabaret Room. Tuesday and Wednesday featured Jane Stanton, Carter Hortie, Patrick Maliha, and Ivan Decker. Tonight through Saturday (May 17 to 19) it will be Graham Clark, Ben McGinnis, Erica Sigurdson, Dylan Rhymer, Charlie Demers, and Paul Bae.

“I think it’s an idea whose time has come,” says Rhymer, who, along with Sigurdson, performs on Saturday. “How long has the Internet been around? Music figured this out a long time ago. They stopped being beholden to the record labels ages ago.”

Rhymer, like several of the other comics on the bill, has had his own Comedy Now! special on CTV. The problem with those vehicles is the made-for-TV aspect of them, where the performer looks like he is directing his act to the camera rather than the live audience. Add the fact they’re heavily edited and saddled with laugh tracks, and the result is often stilted-looking.

“The great thing with what Paul Breau is doing here,” he says, “is, because it’s online, I can do as much time as I want, I can say whatever the hell I want, and it’s not going to be censored.”

Rhymer is an issues-oriented comic who takes on religion, politics, and corporations both on-stage and online, at his site Stateoftheweek.ca.

“I would love to be sued by Monsanto,” he jokes about the genetically-modified-seed giant. “If I couldn’t make hay out of that, then I should just quit. I fantasize about being sued by Stephen Harper. It would be the best thing ever for my career. Because I would lose and I would just declare bankruptcy.”

Breau claims these specials are “raw and uncut”. “We’re not removing any jokes or editing it in any way,” he says. In that respect, the finished product will be a true reflection of the comics’ live act. “It’s their show,” he adds. “We’re just acting as a host. They can do whatever they want. They own the material.”

The specials will be available online at Thestandupcomedians.com when it goes live in June.

“I have every faith in Paul,” says Rhymer. “Unlike myself, he is exceptionally organized and focused. He really knows what he’s doing. This is an opportunity for me to do a three-camera shoot. I’ve been wanting this for a very long time: a sharp-looking, uncensored special. Because if I get hit by a bus, at least I know there’s something out there.”

Dylan Rhymer and Erica Sigurdson perform at the Waldorf Hotel’s Cabaret on Saturday (May 19).

Comments (35) Add New Comment
funny or not here i come
LOL.. if Vancouver comedians think they will make more than $50 they are deluding themselves... Vancouver standup comedy has got to be the worst community of crappy comics amassed in one place.. I would rather pay someone to clean my house naked than pay money to see a pathetic standup comic from Vancouver think he is anything close to the quality of someone like Louis CK... umm.. if any of you were worth buying I would have come to see a show for $5 at any number of crappy local eateries, Funny haven't I seen any of you on Letterman, Leno or O'Brien.. Rigggght..... its because this town is a cesspool of the worst kind of narcisists who tell stupid jokes... not a headliner among them.. pathetic truly pathetic... just like the comedy scene in Vancouver.. I forgot that all of you smoke the weed.. so I guess crossing the border for fame is unlikely.. here is a tip for you.. if you are over 50 years old and still paid less than you believe you are worth.. chances are.. you aren't worth it... I think there should be a retirement age for crappy comics... I doubt any of them will get rich on this scheme.. but I will say.. This article is hilarious!
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Morgan
I will pay Graham Clark $5 to clean my house naked! (I'll leave the key under the mat, Graham, I have to go to work.)
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Why so serious?
I disagree "funny or not". What stand ups are you referring to as being ? I don't think they are trying to get rich either; they're just trying to release video in a more economical way that gives them full control.

Relax man. Its just stand up. I've seen several of these performers before and they are quite talented.

That's like crapping on the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra because they aren't the New York Philharmonic. Its true that they aren't but really irrelevant to whether or not its good.
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Dylan Rhymer
Thanks for your support, FORNHIC! It's just your kind of generous, helpful attitude that makes the Vancouver comedy scene one of the best in the world! YOU'RE THE REAL STAR HERE, FORNHIC! GIVE YOURSELF A GREAT BIG ROUND OF APPLAUSE!

So I'll see you at the show?
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Steve B
I think this is a great idea! The local stand ups that I've seen have often been hilarious! I hope these specials get seen by people in Vancouver and elsewhere!
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misofine
Erica Sigurdson is okay.. the rest.. meh

the older more bitter comics are the ones who seem to regurgitate the same material.. over and over and over and over again... telling the same joke for 20 years to the same crowds of comedy enthusiasts means you will eventually run out of people you haven't told that crappy surrey joke too.

the real problem is that the ego of a middle aged comic is unnaturally high and they thrive on working out their middle aged angst on stage. Its like being an armchair psychiatrist for overblown egomaniacs who refuse to pay for therapy, and work it out onstage and expect you to pay.. and clap!

And if you are lucky enough like I am, you get to hear and see the merry go round of poor unsuspecting women who date some of them and you soon realize they are wounded children looking for their next victim... my advice to the women of Vancouver.. if a guy tells you he's a comedian... RUN far far away, because he will suck the life right out of you... Have you ever known a comic who wasn't Needy? Broke? Depressed? a loser?

yeah.. me neither.. videos for sale online are just as pathetic as you selling a crappy DVD at the back of the room after a show.. I just paid $5 to hear crappy jokes and now you want me to pay $20 to take it home and listen to the same crappy jokes over and over again? BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.. hahahaha...

funny or not.. a naked comedian cleaning my house would be funnier..
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Dylan Rhymer
I think MISOFINE is one of my ex-girlfriends. I'm not even joking.
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Ian Boothby
I'm sorry to hear that some Vancouver comedians have been forced to take work as nude maids. I'm also sorry that FORNHIC's 5 minutes at Kino didn't go over very well at some point in the past. Aside from that, this all sounds great.
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Jon Bomb
Haters gonna hate.
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What's a matter Fonhic
Fonhic, I think you misunderstood this article. This wasn't an order to go and see this show or reporting that a law was passed that you MUST download the show. If you don't want to go to the show, don't go to the show.
Also, I think a lot of people would rather pay someone to clean their house than see standup, because cleaning is terrible - so you did make a fairly good point, albeit the naked part was a bit confusing. You see, cleaning houses naked is probably a fetish type thing and you'd get paid way more that 5$, so you lose the above mentioned point.
You also seem to know an awful lot about the Vancouver comedy scene for someone that 'would have paid 5$ ...at a crappy (why'd you have to drag the eatery down too?) local eatery' but didn't because you had no desire to see them.
On a final note, it seems like you need to have a good cry or maybe you just need to talk to someone about this rage you feel towards people that tell jokes in your city.
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Skipperoooo
Erica Sigurdson is GRRREAT .. & pretty Hot too!!!!
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ex-yuk-yuk
I have seen all of these comics perform and all blow wind. Stories on repeat jokes hitting the floor with nothing but crickets. this plan would only work for a C.K. or Dane Cook but not a group of local comics who never will amount to much. didnt erica paul and graham and charlie have a citynews tv show that fricking flopped. take the hint and start going back to school. comedy has turned them into jokes.
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DJ ROY
Vancouver comedians are suppossed finger prints are NOT what is about! This is a game to be determination but one is not full of houses!
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Gojo
It's funny that the trolls are describing EXACTLY the kind of comic Louis C.K. was for a decade (middle-aged, bitter, telling same jokes over and over again for years) before he had his big breakthrough and became the comedian the same trolls love today.

I guess some people just support comedy and some don't. Real comedy lovers will go see it in all its forms, because it's the most reliable indicator of the zeitgeist. And the people who put themselves up onstage to relate that authentic experience are heroes, no matter what the anonymous, little trolls hiding behind their keyboards have to say.
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Nathan Robinson
Vancouver has some of the best talent, period. Comedy,music,performance art. Anyone who doesn't think so either has an axe to grind or is completely clued out.

+also Louis CK is not to thank for the out with the old in with the new practice. George Carlin is, in fact CK thanked Carlin for it.
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What's a matter Fonhic
DJ - are you okay? that comment makes me think you might be having a stroke.
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DJ ROY
Sorry about that. I had auto-spell on. What I wanted to say was that Vancouver comedinas are not suppossed to be finger painting because that is not what comedy is about. It's a game to of determination and not one that is about filing houses!
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Steve McSteve
Regarding the comment by "funny or not here i come": by beginning your post with the term "LOL", you instantly wrote yourself off.

Hey "Misofine" - I assume you're female? And desperately lonely? Figure out a way to please a man (or a women for that matter) before it's too late.

Oh, and "ex-yuk-yuk" - by citing Dane Cook, you also wrote yourself off. Anything that came after that was taken not with a grain, but a pillar of salt by anyone reading that knew anything about comedy.



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Andrew Carr
Wow! Some harsh comments from some bitter people. Sounds like they have some personal issues that they're taking out on some talented dedicated professionals. But it's not the first time entertainers who put there ass on the line have had to suffer the slings and arrows. It comes with the territory.
The Waldorf is a great idea Paul.
God speed funny people!
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Trent McClellan
I can't believe the negativity on here? I am amazed that people are just dumping on a bunch of folks trying to get their material out there and make a living doing what they love to do. I would imagine most of the negativity is from those who have never realized a dream or taken a chance in their life. You don't have to like someone's act but you can at least respect the fact they are making an effort to follow their heart and take chances. Too many people sit in daily misery and boredom doing mundane jobs because it's safe.These comedians aren't doing that and that alone deserves your respect. People reading this article should be inspired not infuriated.
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