Home Arts You can have your eggs and eat them too

You can have your eggs and eat them too

by The Concordian October 18, 2011
You can have your eggs and eat them too

Besides serving the laughs, Egg Zeppelin cooked breakfast on stage, to the delight of the audience. Photo by writer.

With nothing but a bare stage, it was a bit hard at first to imagine how the performers at the Montreal Improv Festival could possibly make the audience feel like they were anywhere other than that room last Friday.
Happily, all the performers proved to be more than capable for the task. Comedy duo Venezuela started off the night, speaking in their own gibberish language (a hybrid of French, English, Italian, and words of their own device). While they were entertaining, it may have paid off better to keep silent, as the made-up language did little more than buzz incomprehensibly in one’s ears after a while.
However, the visuals of their performance, helped largely by their miming skills, compensated for the auditory shortcoming. Oh, to think of all the things they accomplished with nothing but silly hunting hats and a rubber hot dog.
Winnipeg group Outside Joke was next up and they performed what they called an “anti-musical,” made effective by the group members’ fine-tuned vocals. Going off the audience’s suggestion of slaughterhouse (after asking them for the last place they’d want to go on a first date) they put on a multi-scene skit, complete with annoying picketers and a bestiality joke, to a hilarious effect.
Last up was Toronto duo Kris Siddiqi and Marcel St. Pierre’s Egg Zeppelin. The set-up (easily the most elaborate of the night) consisted of just a small counter with food and a hot plate, and another small table with two chairs. That, it turned out, was all they needed to make the audience feel as if they were sitting in a greasy spoon off the highway.
The show was conceived from St. Pierre and his wife’s wish to open an actual diner back in the day. “And then I realized running a diner is actually a lot of really hard work,” said St. Pierre. “And because I do improv, I was looking for a show for myself to do and it just developed out of that.”
The performers definitely get the best from both worlds, as they cook a full all-day breakfast with every show, which they serve to their guests. Friday was no exception, as the smell of sizzling bacon made its way from the hot plate to the welcoming noses of every audience member.
Going off the audience suggestions of “poutine” and someone’s childhood story about falling through ice into the freezing water underneath, the show gave audience members’ smiling muscles a rigorous workout with the jokes sprinkled along the performers’ conversation, as they slipped easily into the roles of diner workers Dude and Man.
Improv is a hard thing to master, and it was astounding how Siddiqi and St. Pierre were able to keep the ball rolling, touching on everything from the language debate to the ridiculously high sugar content in a serving of Fruitopia. So what is it that draws comedians to this form?
“It’s the spontaneity of it, and it’s just whatever you say you’re responsible for right away,” said St. Pierre. “I think it’s an adrenaline rush.”

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