It was a humid and hot Tuesday night, in a freshly renovated theater on this highly interesting street that is Sainte-Catherine. In this said old-looking building, decorated with a welcoming horse head’s sculpture, a grandma’s lamp and giant portraits of a few blues legends, a gang of somewhat eccentric personas are conversing and obviously happy to be reunited. It is because they are all here, in this still paint smelling hall, for the beginning of Grinders Comedy Lab’s second season. For most of you that are not familiar with Grinders Comedy Lab, it is important to clear up something: it has nothing to do with the gentlemen location-based meeting application that some of you may know. Grinders is actually an open-mic night where comedians and artists of all acabits and occupations are invited to perform in front of an audience. It actually takes its name from a comedic web-series, simply called Grinders, involving by regular participants of the Comedy lab such as the two hosts Alain Mercieca and Stefen Petersen. It is not only a place to go for a enjoyable Tuesday night, but it’s also a chance for those eager to mount on stage to be, even just for a moment, who they really are. So for those of who would like to show off their latest homemade choreography, an awesome harmonica solo or simply tryout as a comic, Grinders Comedy Lab is a place where you will be accepted for the best and the worst.
Still, even if the night is open for every kind of artists there is, those open-mic evenings are mainly occupied by comedy as the first night of the second season showed. The only exception to the rule was a talented musician who graced us with one of its compositions. During this said evening, the array of comedians on stage gave the audience reasons to laugh about pretty much nothing and everything; from Amish television shows to wearing someone else underwear, passing by time-travelling and the simple act of loving mayonnaise.
A strong sense of community is in the core and fabric of the Grinders Comedy Lab. Involving Mercieca, Petersen, the newly appointed host Jacob Greco and a lot of other performers, the Lab tries to bring a more Americanized version of the open-mic night by inviting comedians to try new things every night instead of simply putting the same performance they have been working on for a long time. It diverts from what is seen in Montreal most of the time. It also gives some sense of randomness to this kind of evening since both the audience and the performers will not know what will result of this said open-mic session. This is what an open-mic is really supposed to be about. Comedians need a stage and a public to really try out their work. As suggested by the actual name of the weekly event, a comedy club like the Grinders Comedy Lab is a place in which comedy is created. It’s true that sometimes creation means trying and failing. It also means that by attending those evenings, the audience is passively participating to this creation process. And in some rare instance, it also means that together, it is possible to craft wonderful moments of hilarity that can only be achieve in a confined, un-pretentious and peculiar environment such as The Grinders Comedy Lab.
The Grinders Comedy Club – Every Tuesday at 8:30p.m. – Sainte-Catherine Theater