Capital Comedy Review: Ahmed Ahmed, Big Comedy Parade and more
With the end of the Summer Comedy Competition, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa return to regularly scheduled programming. Tuesdays are generally reserved for the Launching Pad show which features some of the more experienced comics in the city, and Wednesdays return to New Talent Showcase - shows for brand new comics or others working on new material.
This past week, however, was an exception. Tuesday and Wednesday were special shows featuring amazing headliner Ahmed Ahmed. Hosted by the very talented Wafik Nasralla and with opener spots from Abdullah Usman, Abdul and Steve Love, these were incredible shows. Wafik and these openers alone make a very solid show. Add to this a premiere headliner and the two nights were very special.
Ahmed Ahmed is a super talented comic with a very admirable acting resume. A quick look at IMDB reveals some very cool credits like Iron Man, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, and Weeds to name a few. More recently, Ahmed has received global attention as a result of one of the patrons of a comedy show calling 911 on him for telling jokes. Tom Winkler, animator for The Simpsons, animated the call and since then, this video has been viewed many thousands of times.
Ahmed was contacted by seemingly every major news outlet for his story, which hit right at a time when white people seemed to be calling 911 frequently on people of colour. Interestingly, a story like this proves to be quite good for the career of a stand-up comic and Ahmed joked that he’d be pleased to bring the guy everywhere he goes, calling 911 all the way.
Both Tuesday's and Wednesday's shows were amazing. It’s remarkable to me that the best comics also seem to be the kindest and best to deal with. Right off the top of his set, Ahmed asked the crowd to applaud the previous acts, but then he asked for an applause for the club staff which is my favourite thing to hear. I like when a comic appreciates the effort put in by staff to run a show. Ahmed was truly a pleasure to deal with and super funny at the same time.
He stuck around for Thursday and Friday as he had a weekend show in Toronto and Ahmed did opener spots on these shows as well.
The weekend headliner was the very funny Andrew Albert. Andrew has performed at multiple festivals including Just for Laughs two times, and recently on two gala shows at the Halifax Comedy Festival. I’ve had the pleasure of watching Andrew for a few years now and he just keeps getting better. In the time I’ve known him, Andrew has become a premiere headliner with Yuk Yuk’s. Find him in a club, on TV or on Sirius XM.
The Thursday night show was hosted by Ottawa’s own Lorezo Patino. It was the first time I’d seen Lorenzo host a pro show and he seemed like a natural. He appeared very comfortable and brought the crowd from zero to laughing in no time. Mitch Muirhead did well kicking things off. He knows how to elicit a reaction, I’ll give him that. I went up next and by that point the crowd was into the show. I hit with some of my more challenging material which they were mostly on board, so I was quite happy with my set. Ahmed went up next. We played his video of the 911 call and then he made people laugh for a short set.
Next up was He Fangzhou. Originally from China, Fangzhou has been touring all over Canada, hitching rides from city to city and he has become a very good comedian in a short time. I have a huge amount of respect for a comic performing in English when it is their second language. Fangzhou did extremely well on both shows that I watched, Thursday and Saturday. I look forward to having him back again soon. Andrew was very strong headlining those shows as well, and I’m a big fan of both of them.
All in all it was another special week for comedy in Ottawa and it wasn’t over on Saturday. Sunday night at the club we had our monthly Big Comedy Parade show. These are the most fun to perform on. Big Comedy Parade is a variety show with stand up comedy, magic, impressions and musical comedy and these shows remain one of the best kept secrets in Canadian comedy. We have several competition winners, one performer who’s been part of Just for Laughs and also Mitch as well.
Mitch hosted the show on Sunday and he’s been quite impressive as an emcee of late. We had as our guests two of the best up and coming comics in town with Jesse Reynolds and Nick Burden doing spots on the show. Musical legend Johnny Craps made an appearance, stumbling up on stage but as soon as he began performing you can see the genius that made him so successful. Ashley Krawchenko did a great job with standup including a musical piece and a word from our sponsor - Menstrual Cycles - the strangest little bike store in the world.
I went up after Ashley. It was interesting because for some reason a group in the corner of the room decided they all of a sudden wanted to be part of the show and they started interjecting nonsense by shouting out but when I addressed them all of a sudden they had nothing to say. It happened a couple of times before I straight up told them to be quiet or they’d be kicked out at which point they shut up. Some people feel like a comedy show is a dialogue and it really isn’t so if that’s you watch comedy on Netflix or something. If you do come to a show please do so quietly. Anyway people laughed at my jokes in spite of me scolding that group and it was fun. It was a fun show. Fabulous magician Rynestone closed the show and he is always super impressive. Other than that the only noteworthy thing not mentioned was Ashley spitting a shot of Jameson into Steve’s mouth as punishment for poor joke writing on a Big Comedy Parade podcast. All in all it was a very fun week in Ottawa comedy!
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