Instant Theatre Company not only stages off-the-cuff improv shows, it instructs others in the art. "Our preference is to give you the overall experience," the company says on its website. This translates to classes that emphasize character, scene work, and story, the blend of which helps students develop comedic timing, learn team-building skills, and make up really great excuses when they forget their mother's birthday. The result: quick-witted shows that engage both the actors and the audience. And though the company focuses much of its energy on improv, it also embraces other comedic forms, namely sketch comedy taught by Kids in the Hall alum Kevin McDonald and standup classes helmed by festival regular and CTV star Adam Pateman.
The members of Instant Theatre founded the Vancouver International Improv Festival to not only bring performers from across the globe together, but to also spotlight fresh comedy around the corner. Improvisers from faraway lands such as Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle share the stage with Vancouver natives, performing in their own troupes and mixing into ad-hoc ensembles for memorable sketches. The week culminates with a super-group performance by the International Ensemble—a group of participating artists that forms for one week only to tackle new forms and forge new collaborations.
Since its Toronto location opened in 1976, Yuk Yuk's has been a collective launching pad for such comedy heavyweights as Jim Carrey, Rick Moranis, and Russell Peters. All of Yuk Yuk's laugh-establishments invite seasoned jokesters and up-and-coming comedians to their stages every weekend for up to four days of high hilarity and three nights of cozy lodging atop their cocktail tables. Many Yuk Yuk's locations offer drinks, dinner, or bar fare during the show, but those interested in dining should contact their club of choice to find out about reservations.
Quintessential pop-punk idols blink-182 delight fans with up-tempo jams and a trademark, irreverent humour. Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge's raw vocals and brain-burrowing guitar riffs interweave with Travis Barker's toe-tap-inducing percussion to serve up aural stews that nourish eardrums weaned on diets of TV static. With a classic catalogue of rebellious anthems and loss-tinged reflections on love including "All the Small Things" and "What's My Age Again?," the band draws on nearly two decades of tuneful hits. Pop-punk mainstays My Chemical Romance, Rancid, and Against Me! join the euphonic festivities with energetic aplomb. Musical merrymaking will take place at Rogers Arena, where the inescapable aura of the Vancouver Canucks cools off any fans who arrived on a unicycle while clad in head-to-toe leather.
Vancouver TheatreSports League mingles the adrenaline rush of athletic events with the dramatic drollery of improv comedy to produce sidesplitting shows that are crafted on the spot for 60 minutes of audience-integrated outlandishness. Audience earthlings yell out suggestions as the multitalented improvisers ignite games and challenge themselves to bring laughter to your tears. Scared Scriptless's comedic members cultivate the genre's most admired styles while pushing envelopes into feral territory previously only trekked by wild yard gnomes and hyena nightmares.
The Global ComedyFest corrals some of the best and brightest comedians on the international circuit into Vancouver for a marathon of laughs, fun, and moderately uncomfortable first dates. Big names such as zany former MTV staple Tom Green perform alongside up-and-comers in more than 30 performances throughout the festival. Eschew the everyday monodimensional comedy with a combination stand-up and comedy 3-D video show featuring Canada's own Reza Peyk, Jy Harris, and Gary Fong, or opt for a night of ?it?s funny because it?s true? laughs at the Gerry Dee show. The Edge of the Fest performance pushes the festival?s edgiest artists to the limits of social acceptability, while the Best of the Fest showcases top comedians such as Greg Behrendt and Peter Chao.