On Saturday, May 22nd, I attended the jam packed Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Tour featuring Francois Weber and our local comedy hero Nick Beaton at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre. Every month or two, Yuk Yuk’s comedy tour makes a stop at MTCC and this time was a little different. This time, we had a local boy on the bill who has been doing very well for himself in the Canadian comedy scene.
We walked in the venue shortly after 8 pm and the place was almost full even though the show doesn’t get started until 9 pm. The crowd was already in full swing after enjoying drinks and food before the show. The thing about the comedy tour at MTCC is that the doors open at 7 pm so you have to get there early if you want a seat up front.
After meeting a very nice couple at our table (I wish I could remember their names) and chatting with them for over 40 minutes or so, the show started with our host for the evening, Francois Weber. Weber is a school teacher from PEI who also enjoys a career as a stand-up comedian. The familiar job for Weber this evening was too warm up the crowd and keep the flow of the show going in between acts. The host at a comedy show is very important. You have to not only warm up the crowd right off the bat but also keep them interested while you introduce each performer. A bad host can really destroy a show leaving the other comedians to pick up the pieces. Weber handled this job very well. He came onto the stage with more energy then any comedian I’ve seen before. He grabbed the crowd by the neck and insisted they enjoy themselves. Weber had a really nice relationship with the crowd and made everyone feel as if they’d gone to high school with the guy. Even if you didn’t like his material, you could enjoy his physical routines and his infectious enjoyment of being on stage. The crowd seemed to really love what Weber was doing. I did find, however, that a lot of his material didn’t really end up anywhere. They seemed to be stories that happened to him in his life that work well when telling them at a party but could use some re-writes for the stage. His stories would build and build to the point where you couldn’t wait to see where it was going to go, but then the punch line would be a little soft. But again, the audience loved him and Weber was a great host for the evening.
Weber brought along another comedian with him from PEI who was not scheduled to appear on the show but came to do a short set for the MTCC crowd. Since I only heard his name once in the evening, it completely has slipped my mind and I tried to google as much as I could to find it but, I came up short. Weber’s friend only did about 20 minutes or so. It was nice to have some variety in the evening and three is always a good number. Even though you could tell that this comedian did not have as much experience as Weber or Beaton, it was a good way to break up the night and Weber’s friend gave it his all. Most of his routine centred on his experiences in Wal-Mart, with his thoughts on self-checkouts being a ploy to get back at the customer and giant women’s underwear always being directly across from the electronics section.
On to the headliner! Nick Beaton hit the stage to a very excited, hometown crowd and they were happy to see him. This was Beaton’s debut at the MTCC so the crowd was filled with people who were seeing him for the first time. I have seen Beaton perform almost every time he rolls into town, so I was looking forward to watching him in front of a few hundred extra people this time around. Beaton, being in front of a very fresh audience for him, could really use his best material since most of them probably haven’t heard it before. It was great to hear some of his classic jokes and some new material as well. Beaton has made a name for himself as a performer across the country and for good reason. His material tries to say things that most people would normally hold back. Beaton had the audience clapping a few different times because of how he put things into perspective. One particular moment was when he mentioned how Tim Horton’s leaves a jar for donations for their summer camp that the franchise funds. Beaton pointed out that a company that makes millions and millions of dollars selling donuts, insists that its customers pay for these children to go, or their summer will be ruined. The crowd erupted during this part and loved what Beaton had to say. The crowd also loved when Beaton brought up a list of rules for women to follow in a relationship. When he said the first rule was to stop being insane, the men in the crowd cheered and stood on their feet. You could even tell that Beaton was crafting his show around the audience he was working for that night. Beaton did almost 50 minutes and kept the crowd laughing the entire time. Even though not every one of Beaton’s jokes went over as well as he wanted to, 95% of it hit the mark perfectly. It was a very polished and outstanding performance from this amazing, young talent! Beaton definitely made us proud at the MTCC on Saturday night. Great job!