5 things you should know about the Laugh Gallery


Laugh Gallery host Graham Clark

Those keen on comedy are probably familiar with the Laugh Gallery, a monthly event that brings together some of the top comedic talent this city (and country) has to offer. In its 13 years, the Laugh Gallery has taken on various incarnations – from a weekly show at El Cocal, to one-off events for New Years and the Vancouver Comedy Festival. It’s currently a monthly show at the Havana theatre, with the next one taking place on April 15. I spoke with host Graham Clark about the five things people need to know about this Vancouver comedic institution.

It’s seen some famous faces
When a pre-Hang Over Zach Galifinakis was shooting a television show in Vancouver, he would do weekly sets at the Laugh Gallery. It was the only comedy night in town that had a piano, which was a big part of his act.
“At one point he brought Jason Priestley, and he got drunk and heckled people on the show,” Clark says. “So that was a fun night.”
Other familiar names that have performed at the Laugh Gallery include Brent Butt, the Flight of the Conchords and Tig Notaro.

It’s launched careers
Most notably Charlie Demers, who’s a regular on CBC’s The Debaters as well as author of Vancouver Special, which is a must-read for anyone with ties to our city. Demers took to the stage completely unplanned when someone in the crowd vouched for him after seeing him host an event with Noam Chomsky. Although he was unprepared, Demers took to the stage and destroyed. He eventually went on to be one of the city’s top comics.

It brings out the best in people
Comedian Ryan LaChance, was a regular Laugh Gallery performer who’s confined to a wheelchair. Since he needed someone hold the mic for him, a group of audience members pooled their money and bought him a special mic he could use on his own.

And the not so best in people
Unfortunately, two weeks later, somebody stole the special mic.

It’s the place to win memorable prizes
“I’ve been to all the thrift stores in all of the Lower Mainland,” Clark says. That’s because every Laugh Gallery audience member has a chance to win a special, usually bizarre, prize – everything from a Michael Jackson doll to Pilsner beer board game. Clark puts in serious time and energy to find these treasures. It’s part of what makes the night so memorable.

The next Laugh Gallery is on April 15 at Havana, 1212 Commercial Dr.
Tickets are $5 at the door.

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