The Comedy Lab Hangs Up Their Lab Coats

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It’s nice to be able to highlight the positives of the local comedy scene, especially when nobody else seems interested in doing so.  I have been doing this blog for over six years and have a bit of a following, so I understand the responsibility that I have in taking the focus off of me at times, to showcase people who deserve a pat on the back and a thank-you.

For those of you who may not be aware, there used to be just one open mic night.  It’s Buds on Broadway on Wednesday nights.  It’s a great place to go if you want to get on stage and talk to yourself for five minutes.  For the longest time, there wasn’t another open mic show that had any staying power to it, until a local comedian started a niche night, only to have the show revitalized by two local comics that made it the cool place to be on a Sunday night.

It was called The Comedy Lab, held in the upstairs loft at The Thirsty Scholar.  It was run by the two most well liked comedians in Saskatchewan, known as “the twins”.

Dylan Jay and Dusty Adam (or Dylan and Dustin Williamson according to their Facebook profiles) are respected and well liked by all comedians, which is a strange occurrence these days.  You cannot find anyone with a bad word to say about them, which is probably why they get asked by headliners to accompany them to out of town gigs (I have no idea what that’s like, to be that universally liked or asked to do gigs with others).

When the twins made The Comedy Lab the place to be, and they made it so by adding their own uniqueness to it.  They constructed a stage, along with a sign and logo.  They brought two mic stands, their laptop, computer cables, spotlight, table signs and envelopes.  The Facebook fan page soon followed with weekly events that had different themes.  Touring comedians like Simon King and Erica Sigurdson would perform, in addition to local headliners.

What most people don’t see is the work that went into creating the show to what it became.  They would show up two hours before showtime to set up and tear down.  Then they arranged the tables and chairs in such a way where there really wasn’t a bad seat in the house.  They put envelopes on the tables and asked people to put either five or ten dollars into the envelope at the end of the night.  With roughly ten or more comedians on a given night, this translated into tremendous value for your entertainment dollar that can’t be beat.  To their credit, they never took to social media or the stage to complain about the lack of money that came in if some weeks were pretty thin.  They respected the stage and the audience, showing a thankfulness and a gratitude that was genuine and sincere.

They also had a vlog (video blog) called The Open Mic Insider, where Dylan would interview a particular local comic before, and after their set at The Comedy Lab.  They would go over the set, how the comic felt about it and just engage in a general conversation about comedy and what that particular comedian has been up to.  A novel idea that hopefully will continue.

Their was no server for drinks, as the only employee was behind the bar, so it was walk-up service.  For the most part, people were pretty respectful when they went to order drinks.  They kept the talking to a minimum and were quiet enough not to take away from the performer on stage.  I believe that respect emanated from the hosts who set the tone.  The twins set the standard for how other comedians and the audience are supposed to be treated.

They also never played favourites.  When the show grew where too many performers showed up, they would do a draw to see who got on.  They were respectful of the audiences time, keeping the show to roughly 90 minutes.  A former open mic host couldn’t grasp that studies showed an audience will lose their attention span after 90 minutes.  Certain spots in the lineup received certain amount of stage time, regardless of which comedian occupied those spots.  Everyone got the amount of time they were allotted for that spot, and no more.  A warning light went off with one minute left, and each comedian had a particular 70s tune played as they walked on and off the stage, with the tunes changing each week.

Why was the show discontinued if I’m portraying it as a success?  Maybe it didn’t make enough money, maybe the attendance wasn’t where it needed to be week after week.  Regardless of the reason, it wasn’t for a lack of effort, and it certainly wasn’t because the hosts were disrespectful of the audience.  At the end of the day, it’s mere speculation on my part, and you’ll probably never get the twins to admit publicly what the reason was, if they were even told one.  I don’t believe that’s how they were raised.  That isn’t their style.  They are hard working, creative, accommodating and friendly, all while keeping their humility intact.

Where will the next Comedy Lab surface from?  Will it return to Amigos like it did for one night?  Or do the twins have other irons in the fire they are currently working on that they are keeping hush at the moment?  Nobody knows but them, and I’m sure at the right moment they will let everyone know of their future plans.  I believe they take great pride and joy in putting a show together and being able to share it with other comedians.

It takes a lot of time, effort and money to put together a show and keep it going week after week.  Thank you Dylan and Dustin for raising the Saskatoon comedy open mic to a level of integrity and professionalism never before seen.  Every comedian that has ever graced your stage owes you a debt of gratitude.

Hopefully one day down the road, each comedian who has graced your stage will be able to repay you both for your hospitality and kindness.  As always, feel free to leave your thoughts below about The Comedy Lab to say thank you to Dylan and Dustin for their selfless efforts.

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