Toronto’s Bloody Marys, Portland’s Broke Gravy among this year’s Vancouver Improv Festival guests

Toronto’s The Bloody Marys.

Improvised TED Talks, naughty puppets, twisted sci-fi dystopia and more are on the docket of this year’s Vancouver International Improv Festival.

Out-of-town performers include The Future from Philadelphia, Broke Gravy from Portland, Rapid Fire Theatre from Edmonton. Local improv stars such as Hip.Bang! and The Fictionals are also taking part.

All told, the 19th edition of the festival, has 40 performances scheduled during its Oct. 11-14 on Granville Island. Here’s a look at some of the acts.

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Toronto’s Bloody Marys, Portland’s Broke Gravy among this year’s Vancouver Improv Festival guests

You can’t keep a good game show down — the return of Graham Clark’s Quiz Show

Graham Clark brings back The Quiz Show from “game-show hiatus.”

Graham Clark loves game shows. And so the Vancouver comedian is eager to once again present The Quiz Show, a live hybrid of American game show and British panel show.

Clark debuted in 2016 at the now sadly defunct Main Street gallery Hot Art Wet City. Originally a spoof on segments from game shows past, The Quiz Show grew to incorporate all original segments. Local comedians are the contestants, and do their best to make audience members laugh – and win prizes, of course. On Sept. 9, he’ll resurrect the show at the Fox Cabaret (2321 Main St.).

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You can’t keep a good game show down — the return of Graham Clark’s Quiz Show

Catch HBO star/podcaster/talk-show host/stand-up comic Chris Gethard this Tuesday night in Vancouver!

On his Beautiful/Anonymous podcast, Chris Gethard fields a random call and talks to a stranger. As the comedian himself admits, this is can go a lot of ways – funny, sad, neither. Which is why, when he comes to Vancouver to record a new episode tomorrow night (Tuesday May 30) at the Biltmore Cabaret (2755 Prince Edward St.), he’ll also do a set of stand-up.

Besides Beautiful/Anonymous and his standup comedy career, Gethard hosts his own TV talk show, The Chris Gethard Show; starred in the 2016 Mike Birbiglia film Don’t Think Twice; and is a cast member on the hit Comedy Central series Broad City.

Other credits include Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central), The Office (NBC), Parks and Recreation (NBC), Louie (FX), and Bored To Death (HBO). You can also catch him in his own HBO comedy special, Career Suicide. We talked to the 37-year-old New Jersey-ite about the podcast, therapy, and his upcoming Vancouver show.

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Catch HBO star/podcaster/talk-show host/stand-up comic Chris Gethard this Tuesday night in Vancouver!

JFL NorthWest, Vancouver Comedy Fest spotlight – Ivan Decker and local comedy

Vancouver comic Ivan Decker

Besides opening for Jim Gaffigan and Iliza at this year’s JFL NorthWest, Vancouver comic Ivan Decker will host two showcases of local talent.

This year’s JFL NorthWest is bringing a plethora of big-name comics from down south. Colin Quinn, Iliza Schlesinger, Jim Gaffigan, Trevor Noah, and Sarah Silverman are among the talented mirth-makers coming to Vancouver for the festival, which begins tonight, Feb. 16, and runs until Feb. 25.

But the festival also gives local comics a chance to shine. For example, in B-Sides with Chris Gordon (Feb. 21 at Biltmore at 9:30 p.m.), Calgary’s Gordon and top local headliners such as Graham Clark, Kyle Bottom and Efthimios Nasiopoulos will discuss a comedian’s creative process by featuring the rare and risky jokes they love to tell, then opening up to an audience Q&A.

The festival is also hosting a Best of the West series that features many of the best locally produced shows. Among them are Alicia Tobin’s Come Draw with Me, The Gentlemen Hecklers, Graham Clark’s Quiz Show, and more.

Meanwhile, one of the best-known names on the local scene, Ivan Decker, has been picked to open for both Iliza and Jim Gaffigan. Decker, whom Splitsider once named the Top Canadian Comedian Under 30 (he’s now 31), will also host the Just For Laughs Showcase at the Biltmore Cabaret on Feb. 21 (7 p.m. start, before the aforementioned B-Sides) and Yuk Yuk’s Vancouver Feb. 22 (8 p.m.). We talked to Decker about comedy festivals, scaring Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, and his online dating profile.

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JFL NorthWest, Vancouver Comedy Fest spotlight – Ivan Decker and local comedy

JFL NorthWest, Vancouver’s comedy festival profiles – Barry Crimmins

Barry Crimmins.

If any of the comedians coming to this year’s JFL NorthWest are in a position to talk about the current political situation in the U.S., it’s Barry Crimmins.

An activist as well as a stand-up comic, the Boston-raised Crimmins is known for his acerbic and trenchant take on politics. An acknowledged influence on comedians Marc Maron and Patton Oswalt, he’s been honing on the stand-up circuit since the 1970s.

In the 1990s, he led a crusade against child porn on the internet. More recently, his old friend from the Boston comedy circuit Bobcat Goldthwait directed a documentary about Crimmins called Call Me Lucky (2015). In it, Crimmins talks about his own history of sexual abuse, and of being raped at the age of four.

We talked to Crimmins, who plays the Biltmore Cabaret as part of JFL Northwest Feb. 23, about the current political situation, why Vancouver is his kind of town, and touring with musician Warren Zevon. Continue reading:
JFL NorthWest, Vancouver’s comedy festival profiles – Barry Crimmins

JFL NorthWest, Vancouver’s Comedy Festival profiles – Aparna Nancherla

Aparna Nancherla comes to JFL Northwest for a show at the Biltmore Cabaret Feb. 25.

Aparna Nancherla has written for and appeared on numerous comedy TV shows, including Late Night with Seth Meyers and appeared on Inside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central) and on the upcoming season of Love (Netflix). In her adopted hometown of New York, the former Washington, DC resident hosts a long-running, popular live underground weekly comedy show, Whiplash. Besides stand-up, she is an experienced improviser. She comes to JFL NorthWest for a show at the Biltmore Cabaret, Feb. 25.

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JFL NorthWest, Vancouver’s Comedy Festival profiles – Aparna Nancherla

Hot tub anniversary machine – Vancouver’s monthly live talent show celebrates 9 years of hilarity

For nine years, Talent Time has been giving a home to stray talent. In the fine old tradition of vaudeville and the Carol Burnett Show, the monthly live variety show has hosted comedians, singers, clowns, jugglers – you name it.

For its upcoming ninth-year celebration, Thursday Feb. 2, Talent Time is doing something it hasn’t done before – bringing a hot tub onto its stage.

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Hot tub anniversary machine – Vancouver’s monthly live talent show celebrates 9 years of hilarity

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