Everything you need to know about the Hero Show

10389516_670696859670389_5205186814389534594_nVancouver comedy nerds can attest that the Hero Show definitively takes the top prize as the hub for alternative comedy in the city. The long-running spectacle, which takes place on the first Thursday of the month, is a showcase of familiar faces from all genres of Vancouver’s comedy scene, from comedians to improv artists. The event follows a strict format:  performers go on stage alone to execute a monologue. But even though there’s one person performing at a time, this isn’t a stand-up show. In fact, that’s the only rule. The solo act must be performed as a made-up (and often bizarre) character, either in the form of a monologue, comedic musical performance or video short. 

“It’s a place for comedians to do things and try ideas they would never get away with at other shows,” says Cam Macleod, who currently runs the show. “There are aspects of performance art.”

The Hero Show began in November of 2007 as a thrice-a-month event at Cafe Montmartre on Main Street. It was started by comedy duo Conor Holler and Craig Anderson – formerly of Bronx Cheer – and booked and hosted by  Macleod.

The Hero Show took its inspiration from Toronto’s Loner Show, which took place regularly at the Rivoli and followed a similar format. Since Holler and Anderson have since moved to Toronto, Macleod has taken over full duties of the Hero Show, which now takes place at the China Cloud.

Just about every comedic performer in Vancouver has taken part in the Hero Show, including Canadian Comedy Award winners Graham Clark, Dave Shumka, author and comedian Charlie Demers and award-winning producer of CBC’s This is That, Chris Kelly. To get a sense of the show’s hilarious surrealism, past characters and monologues have included a dog whisperer trying to sell his new music album, an 18th century playwright trying to pitch his opera to a modern audience, readings from a fictional book called “Drac Facts”, which included a bunch of unknown facts about Dracula and a woman who is famous for her background work in action film chase scenes.

Macleod has one piece of advice for those attending  for the first time: “People should come with an open mind of what can be comedy.”

Just don’t be surprised if your stomach hurts the next day.

The Hero Show takes place on July 3 at the China Cloud, 524 Main Street. Doors at 8:30 p.m. Admission $10. Performers this month, July 3, include Ryan Beil, Adam Pateman, Bryan Nothling, Byran Cook, Emmett Hall, Camiel Pell and Nathan Hare

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