Judging from recent standup comedy open call auditions held at Concordia, the school has lost its sense of humour.
Montreal’s Hilarious open auditions, held last Monday and Tuesday at Reggie’s, were intended to get students to try standup comedy in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Performing in front of only two judges, selected winners would be invited to participate in a series of amateur shows in Montreal.
Over two days, equaling four hours of audition time, only two students showed up at Reggie’s – and one of them was from McGill.
“I’m really surprised,” says event co-producer Jeff Schouela. “Our expectations aren’t even that big.”
Schouela and his production partner Eman El- Husseini held other open auditions at McGill, Dawson, and John Abbott and Marianopolis colleges. While the overall turnout was still low, with less than 15 auditioners in total, Concordia held the unflattering title of least school representation.
Robert Martin, a 24-year-old second year student, was Concordia’s only contestant.
“Right now I am green as grass,” says Martin, referring to his relative inexperience doing standup. “So an opportunity to perform in front of, well, anyone is good enough reason to get on stage and try stuff out.”
As for the reason for the low turnout: “Maybe I should not have posted my own posters to say the performances were cancelled,” jokes Martin. “Sorry. I don’t like competition.”
Adrienne Matea, the other person to audition at Reggie’s, came to Concordia’s tryouts after missing the McGill auditions. Arriving early and delivering jokes about condom gum and things like Concordia’s student population, Matea says she is unsure of her future plans for comedy. She wants to see where this goes.
Martin balks at the idea that people at Concordia are unfunny or chicken. “Just walking down these hallways you will hear some of the funniest things come out of people’s mouths,” he said. “Whether it is done intentionally or not, that is another issue.”
Schouela and El-Husseini say they believe timing may have been a cause for the lack of participants, with exams and essays weighing on the minds of many students. While there were a large number of posters in the Hall building, Schouela says better promotion may have also been required. Schouela says students may also be nervous about performing in front of an audience, but stresses this event is intended for amateurs and they really just want participants to have fun.
“I want to do a no pressure show for all the first-timers who came out,” says Schouela. He expects to put on the show at Comedyworks in late April.
If you missed your opportunity to try out and are still interested, you can contact Jeff Schouela at email@example.com