Only a toonie to visit Tinseltown

Dollar Cinema’s founder keeps films accessible, affordable

The Dollar Cinema is the greatest place on Earth. At first glance, it’s just a second-run cinema in nearly abandoned Decarie Square mall. However, once you start going you become part of the family.

Bernie Gurberg is the owner and one of the few staff members of Dollar Cinema. He works seven days a week, charging $2.50 per flick (or $1 if you buy tickets in bulk). To run a cinema that you can pay for entirely in couch change must be a film buff’s passion project.

Bernie Gurberg’s provides an affordable movie-going experience and keeps patrons of the Dollar Cinema feeling more like family than customers. Photo by Andrej Ivanov.

But Gurberg hasn’t seen a movie since the original Taken was released. In fact, he only sees a movie about once every five years. So why does he persist in running a cinema with a business plan that would boggle an accountant’s mind?

He claims to be an “ordinary guy, just doing whatever I’m doing.” Our interview is interrupted by a customer requesting a medium popcorn. “No,” Gurberg responds with deadpan delivery, “I’m hungry.”

“We come here for [Gurberg] more than for the movies,” says Alex, a longtime patron, as he passes the counter with his wife, carrying snacks.

“It’s a family here,” Gurberg nods.

His main business is from families—“single moms with three kids,” in Gurberg’s words. Gurberg says that being able to provide a place where any family can afford to come and buy a snack for each kid is worth more than money to him.

“You need to be 13 to see this movie. Do you have ID?” Gurberg questions another passing customer—who, by the way, is clearly older than 13. With faked exasperation, the client responds, “You’ve known me since I was 13! I’m Don’s kid.” Dollar Cinema has been open for just over a decade now, so some of his youngest customers have grown up with Gurberg.

Another unusual feature of the cinema is the number of volunteers. Normally, a cinema does not qualify as the sort of not-for-profit initiative that would justify such a need. Gurberg doesn’t recruit volunteers either—from what this reporter can tell, they start coming for the movies and they just sort of stick around to help.

“[Gurberg]’s a good egg,” confides one of the volunteers, who wished to remain anonymous. He and his brother have been volunteering at Dollar Cinema for six years now. They do everything from painting and plumbing to repairing the popcorn machine. It’s also a common sight to see patrons pick up not only their own cups and wrappers, but those left behind by others as well.

This kindness does not go unreturned. On two occasions I’ve suggested that Bernie bring in a movie—and both times he’s obliged (Snowpiercer (2013) and The Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)). I’m not the only client to get the VIP treatment either. In fact, he recently helped one man with his marriage proposal by reserving the small cinema and playing their favourite movie (she said yes).

In addition to providing entertainment at more-than-affordable prices, Dollar Cinema adds to the cultural scene by hosting an annual Jewish Film Festival, various fundraisers, and bringing in movies that other cinemas won’t (or can’t) screen like The Interview (2014). In collaboration with Ginny, one of the volunteers, Gurberg is also interested in producing a Chinese Film Festival in the near future. The festival will feature a series that documents the life of Dr. Norman Bethune, a Canadian surgeon famous for his humanitarian efforts and for bringing Western medicine to rural China during World War II. Dr. Bethune’s statue can be found near the Sir George Williams campus of Concordia University, just opposite Guy metro.

Gurberg has always felt a special connection with Concordia students; when he first opened his doors on June 4, 2004, his first two clients were students of the university. Those two clients visit the cinema to this day.

As a parting gift, he tells me that anyone who comes to the cinema and mentions this article gets a free bag of popcorn. “What would you like me to put as the expiry date on this offer?” I question, expecting an answer like “one week” or “the month of March.” “Well, that’s the problem,” Bernie says grimly. “The offer expires in 5,000 years.”

The Dollar Cinema is located at 6900 Boulevard Décarie, Montreal. (514) 739-0536


Standing up to traditional gender roles

Open Michelle breaks glass ceilings, one joke at a time

There’s a great new trend in Montreal comedy. I’ll give you a hint: you enjoy them as litigation experts, plumbers, professors, and that nagging character on your favourite sitcom.

Sure, women are still paid less for the same jobs, but we have generally made great strides in virtually every industry—save one. For whatever reason, comedy is one of the few remaining occupations for which the notion that women aren’t up to the task is still a pervasive attitude. Famous names like Adam Carolla, Christopher Hitchens, and Artie Lang have declared that women just aren’t as funny as men.

The brains behind the first Open Michelle (from left) Peter Radomski, Bianca Dominique Yates, Tranna Wintour, Emma Wilkie, Natalie Willett, Ellie MacDonald, Kate Conner, Nour Hadidi. Photo credit Reese Turner.

Full disclosure: I am an (amateur) comedian. Within the Montreal comedy scene I’ve had overwhelmingly positive experiences. It’s not unusual for an open mic producer to send me a text along the lines of, “we don’t have any women on the line-up tonight—are you free?” Despite the generally excellent attitudes among comedians and producers in Montreal, I still hear from regular folks that women aren’t entertaining.

Women Aren’t Funny (2013) is a testament to the gender barriers that still exist in comedy. The film features comedian Bonnie McFarlane, who interviews professional comedians and the general public on whether or not hilarity is linked to testosterone levels. In the film, comedian Wanda Sykes comments, “if you’ve got a bunch of guys on the show, maybe four aren’t funny. But you just have one woman and she’s not funny, everybody’s like, ‘Ah! women aren’t funny.’”

By some logic, this is true: if there is only one woman on a line-up, and you don’t enjoy her performance, then 100 per cent of women that evening weren’t funny. The guys are winning by sheer numbers.

But the latest developments in the Montreal comedy scene work toward changing the stereotype of women as shrill and unfunny estrogen-ridden humans. Earlier this year, two initiatives celebrating women in comedy had their inaugural events.

I recently attended “Hey Gorgeous!,” an open mic produced by Women in Comedy Montreal’s founders Katie Leggitt, Lar Vi, and Erin Hall. After attending the Women in Comedy panel at the New York City Sketch Fest, Leggitt returned to Montreal inspired to build the comedy community and bring attention to the funny ladies of the city. What sets their show apart from the usual open mic? “There is a safety factor [at our show]. It’s such a supportive atmosphere performing with other women,” said Leggitt.

Indeed, there was something different in the atmosphere at “Hey Gorgeous!” The crowd received every performer warmly. Additionally, there was a delightful variety in the material and in the styles: meta-humour, and bits about stardom, poverty and hair-dryers were delivered through classic stand-up, song, and characters. While there are some spectacularly crafted dick jokes out there, it was refreshing to experience such a diversity of performances.

The other remarkable thing about the event was the absence of the usual “triggers”—cues that can flood someone’s senses with memories of past trauma. If you consider the statistic that one in six women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime, attending the usual open mic can be a minefield of triggers. As a performer (and generally sensible person), I support free speech as a fundamental human right. But I’ve also heard way too many trite, unoriginal, and flat-out bad jokes that trivialize sexual assault, homophobia, gender-based violence, and female stereotypes. Just because I support your right to say it, doesn’t mean I’m obliged to enjoy it.

Promoting an atmosphere free of the usual triggers and full of acceptance is the raison d’être of Open Michelle, the new monthly women’s open mic at Comedy Nest. I asked Peter Radomski, a comedian and one of the co-founders, the reason for creating an event that features exclusively female performers.

“The bitter reality is that at open mics, guys who are just starting out often feel like they have to be edgy—which can quickly turn into misogyny,” Radomski explained. “It’s also a response to the tired cliché that women aren’t funny,” he said.

What kind of audience do these events cater to? Anyone who likes to laugh will enjoy the show. While it’s exclusively women on the bill, Radomski reports that their first event attracted a healthy mix of men and women. So don’t worry boys: coming to this show does not mean entering a festering den of aggressive feminist chanting. As proof, Radomski assured me that at the last Open Michelle he wasn’t burned at the stake or tied up with biodegradable tampon strings.

A comedian first and a financial mind second, Radomski engineered a hilariously appropriate twist on the production side of things: the host of Open Michelle is paid 20 per cent more than the host for the usual open mic, in reaction to gender-based pay discrimination. We’re breaking the glass ceiling ladies, one joke at a time.

Ready to get your laugh on? Check out these upcoming events:

Open Michelle: Sunday, March 15 @ 8 p.m. at the Comedy Nest – $5. Visit the Open Michelle Facebook page to apply for a spot, or get the deets about upcoming shows.

Laff!: Saturday, March 21 @ 8 p.m. at Theatre Ste. Catherine – $8 students/$10 regular. An evening of sketch, improv, stand-up, and more! Visit the Women in Comedy Montreal Facebook page for more details.

Hey Gorgeous!: Tuesday, April 21 @ 7 p.m. at Theatre Ste. Catherine – $5 students/$7 regular. Visit the Women in Comedy Montreal Facebook page to apply for a spot.

Student Life

Tend to your secret garden, ladies

It may not be pleasant but it’s important to get your cervix scraped on the regular

Happy women’s day! In celebration, here is an article about an important, but feared topic: vaginal health. Two great ways to treat your yoni right are regular pelvic exams and the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Pelvic exams are the only thing more dreaded than calculus exams. They’re uncomfortable, to be sure, but the mild and momentary discomfort is worth the reward of a muffin in fighting shape. The best thing you can do for your vagina is to have regular pelvic exams. A pelvic exam has three parts: a digital exam to check if your organs are healthy, a pap test to check for abnormal (pre-cancerous) cells and a check for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), if requested. The entire exam is over in 15 minutes if you take advantage of the pap-only clinics offered by Concordia University Health Services.

Graphic by Marie-Pier LaRose

Although students are welcome to have their pelvic exam done as part of a full check-up, Health Services also offers pap-only clinics as an extra incentive to give your Garden of Eden the attention it deserves. These clinics are designed to leave students with few excuses to avoid this essential check-up. One great reason to take advantage of this service is that a visit to the pap-only clinic guarantees seeing a female physician. Also, the physicians taking part in the pap-only clinics specialize in female reproductive health—which translates to the most efficient and comfortable exam possible.

I would be remiss not to mention that HPV while writing about vaginal health. Gabriella Szabo, health promotion specialist and nurse at Concordia’s Health Services, explained that HPV is highly contagious—in fact, 70 per cent of people will experience an infection in their lifetime. The majority of infections are asymptomatic and a healthy immune system takes care of them in a couple of years. However, some infections can produce genital warts and abnormal cells on the cervix, which can lead to cervical cancer.

“Condoms can always decrease your risk of getting an STI (including HPV), but HPV can still be transmitted by parts of the genitals not covered by the condom,” said Josée Lavoie, a registered nurse at Concordia University Health Services. She recommends the HPV vaccine as the best protection. The HPV vaccine protects against the four strains of HPV that together cause 70 per cent of cervical cancers and 90 per cent of all genital warts.

While both of these conditions are highly treatable, the emotional trauma associated with diagnosis is a factor worth considering. “Getting a sexually transmitted infection is not just about getting the infection,” said Szabo. “Getting that diagnosis, it causes a lot of suffering. It’s very scary and people ascribe a lot of meaning to that. It causes a lot of distress. So getting the vaccination is an important part of helping to prevent that really negative emotional roller coaster that a person can experience with that diagnosis.”

To be sure, the stress of being diagnosed with an STI is the last thing a student needs in between presentations, papers, midterms and finals.

If the HPV vaccine is something you’re considering, the best time to do it is as a Concordia student. The university’s Health Centre charges only the cost of the vaccine, so it’s less expensive than at other clinics. Also, the health insurance offered by the Concordia Student Union (CSU) to undergraduate students covers up to 80 per cent of the cost of vaccination.

Our vaginas are something we don’t talk about enough, despite being literally the cradle of life. Whether your pink macaroon is filled with dreams, cobwebs or self-loathing, it deserves some quality attention.
Here are some questions you might be too shy to ask:

  • Who should be getting a pelvic exam?
    Any vagina owner who is sexually active or over the age of 21. Depending on your risk factors (which your health care specialist will assess), an exam is usually recommended every three years.
  • Is there a rectal exam?
    No! A rectal exam is not part of a regular pelvic exam for women.
  • How can I work up the courage to show a stranger my vagina?
    This particular stranger specializes in vaginas and has seen every permutation of genitals you can imagine. The reality is that your vagina is probably wholly unremarkable (to a physician).
  • Should I “tidy up” for a pelvic exam?
    It’s not necessary to coif your crumpet—your health is the first and only thing on a physician’s mind.
  • I’m not sexually active/I always use condoms/I am monogamous, should I still go for a pelvic exam?
    Absolutely! Many people associate pelvic exams with getting checked out for STIs. A pelvic exam also checks for abnormal cells on the cervix. If caught early, the condition can be monitored and treated. If left to linger unmonitored, abnormal cells on the cervix can progress to cancer.

So ladies, take care of your special flowers and they’ll take care of you.

Student Life

Blend your way to a better body?

Are smoothie cleanses all they’re cracked up to be?

Valentine’s day just passed and spring break is fast approaching. If you have a special someone, then they probably gifted you chocolates, of which you ate eight times the “recommended serving size”. If you spent everyone’s favourite corporately sponsored holiday alone, then you probably drank too much and woke up face down in a heart-shaped box filled with empty wrappers and regret. Either way, you’ve got to clean up your act, lest even Instagram filters fail to hide your shame.

Graphic by Marie-Pier LaRose


Cleanses and detoxes are all the rage. Celebrities swear by them and food bloggers praise them. Rumours about the dangers of fat, salt, sugar, gluten, soy, dairy, and meat abound, with many (often self-proclaimed) health experts recommending the banishment of these substances from our diets. Detox cleanses promise improved energy, better digestion, better concentration, clearer skin and, most importantly: weight loss.


I decided to try out the Dr. Oz 3-Day Detox Cleanse.This one is doctor recommended (and presumably Oprah-approved). The detox calls for four massive smoothies per day composed of whole fruits, vegetables, and various add-ins – conveniently allowing this detox to meet my personal criteria of not starving to death. According to Dr. Oz’s website, the idea is to remove artificial flavours and chemical substances from your diet to give your body a better shot at optimal health. It’s also pretty convenient: all the ingredients are readily available at local stores.


See you on the other side, vodka and falafel.


Day 1: The first smoothie of the detox is pretty tasty—but the redness of the raspberries isn’t enough to overpower the almond butter and spinach, resulting in an unattractive, sludgy-looking colour. The second smoothie is a beautiful green colour, but is horrifying in taste. The flavour of the four stalks of celery, whole cucumber, and kale really cut through the tastier components. I sip the smoothie from about noon until 6 p.m., grimacing every time. I skip the “snack smoothie” (a repeat of your favourite drink). The dinner smoothie is delicious, despite the weird spiciness of the cayenne pepper. Evaluation: I don’t know if I can face the celery drink again. Maybe I can learn to love my acne and muffin-top.


Day 2: Got to pee. This is a constant theme throughout the day. The lunch drink goes down much easier today and my confidence is renewed. Alas, after the dinner drink I crack and make some kale chips. That’s not cheating—there’s kale in this diet, right? Evaluation: I skipped the snack smoothie again because I was just too full from the lunch smoothie. I feel pity toward the less evolved humans who still depend on solid food.


Day 3: The breakfast smoothie was excellent today. But disaster strikes when I’m too busy to drink the lunch smoothie (it still takes a lot of concentration to down). I go out to a social commitment around 9 p.m. with a headache, an empty stomach, and a now completely unappetizing, lukewarm kale/celery/cucumber smoothie in hand. I ceded defeat for the evening, going to bed hungry. Evaluation: Eating essentially nothing all day except for the breakfast smoothie is terrible. Urination remained an important theme throughout the day.


Final thoughts: I’m happy to be chewing food again. I didn’t lose any weight, but I do feel full of energy and the persistent patch of acne on my cheek has disappeared. I’m calling this a win.


“I think that we value health, even though in many ways it doesn’t play out in our life, but it’s something we know is innately important,” said Gabriella Szabo, a nurse and health promotion specialist at Concordia Health Services. “[Detox] seems to be the trend now, and purification has been part of human ritual for all of time. The idea of being cleansed and purified connects with us somehow.”


However, Szabo is quick to warn me of the false promises a detox holds: “A lot of detox cleanses—if they’re not dangerous—are expensive and a waste of funds. Or they’re very imbalanced when it comes to nutrients.”


Indeed, Szabo examined the Dr. Oz 3-Day Detox Cleanse and, although it did very well on vegetable and fruit servings, it lacked fat and protein. Any weight loss experienced during this diet is just water weight because of its low sodium content, Szabo explained. As for the notion that our bodies need to be “detoxed,” Szabo says that a well-functioning human body takes care of its own clean-up.


In reality, this detox probably made me feel so good because it forced me to consume foods that most of us don’t normally get enough of: fruits and vegetables. Szabo mentions that this is the first thing she suggests when students approach her for advice on eating a healthy balanced diet. She noted that a balanced diet is a special challenge for students when a piece of fruit costs a few dollars on campus, while a few steps away are nearly equally priced hamburgers.


In sum, Dr. Oz taught me the value of eating a healthy serving of fruits and vegetables on the regular. Szabo’s recommendation for optimal health is to consistently eat a diet that meets the standards outlined by Health Canada and to exercise regularly. Also, I had a revelation: the limiting factor to how many vegetables I can consume has been the amount I am willing to chew in a day. For this reason, I’ll continue blending veggies into  my morning smoothies, but I’ll stick to solid food the rest of the day.


Breakfast smoothie:

1 cup water

1 tbsp. flax seed (ground, unless you have a very powerful blender)

1 cup raspberries

1 banana (freeze this the night before, it will cool your smoothie)

¼ c spinach (stop lying to yourself and pack the spinach down)

1 tbsp. almond butter

2 tsp. lemon


Lunch smoothie:

4 celery stalks

1 cucumber

1 cup kale leaves (pack it down, you pansy)

½ green apple

½ lime

1 tbsp. coconut oil

½ cup almond milk

1 cup pineapple


Snack smoothie:

Repeat favourite drink


Dinner smoothie:

½ cup mango

1 cup blueberries

1 ½ cups coconut water

1 cup kale

1 tbsp. lemon

¼ avocado

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tbsp. flax seeds



There’s something funny going on…

The Blue Dog Motel’s indie comedy show is a hot way to spend the winter nights

As students, we lead a grim life. We scramble desperately from one assignment deadline to the next, all while trying to find the time to fit in some groceries (if money permits) and a shower (if time permits). Couple this with the reality of our mounting debt and rumors of a bleak job market, life as a student can be crushing.

A desire to lighten my burden of academic despair was enough to propel me from home on a frigid Monday night to the 144th edition of “There’s Something Funny Going On” (TSFGO) at The Blue Dog Motel.

TSFGO is one of the longest-running independent comedy shows in the city. Local comedian Emma Wilkie and comedy production wiz Rashta Kruger have been producing the show for nearly three years. In this time they have built an excellent reputation among audiences and performers.

It’s easy to miss The Blue Dog Motel if you’re not looking for it. The front lights are always dimmed, so it never looks quite open. A barber’s chair sits proudly in the display window at the front of the bar, so you could in theory get a haircut (but probably not).

The venue is perfectly suited to a comedy show. The room is dark and narrow with a small elevated stage nestled in the back. Comedians hover around the bar, muttering to themselves and scribbling on napkins.

Paul Baluyot hosted this edition and kept things light between acts with quips about his neuroses and the ominous looking restroom. Of note were the three female performers on the show’s lineup—representing 25 per cent of all the acts. Such a high ratio of female comedians is fairly unusual—perhaps due in part to the pervasive myth that women aren’t funny.

TFSGO co-producer Rashta has a succinct response when presented with this common attitude: “Bullshit.” She goes on to rhyme off a long list of hilarious women, both local and celebrity.

Rashta’s secret to nearly three years of success is simple: attention to detail. Complimentary bowls of candy and pretzels dot the venue. Rather than charging a cover, a donation bucket is passed around toward the end of the show to pay the headliner and the host. There is no drink minimum (as is often so popular in comedy clubs), but the drinks are cheap so it’s too enticing not to partake.

The shows regularly feature comics working and touring professional clubs plus some well-practiced amateurs. But this certainly isn’t an open-mic—so why keep it cheap? “We know our audience and they’re often on a budget,” Rashta says.

I asked her, not a performer herself, what draws her to comedy: “There’s something healing about comedy,” she explained. “It keeps you young.” Indeed, research from the Journal of Personality from Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett’s group at Northeastern University supports the notion that positive emotions are good for your health.

Perhaps the best part of TSFGO is the feeling of community. This show happened to be local comedian Nour Hadidi’s final performance in Montreal before her big move to Toronto. The heartfelt and tearful goodbye that ended her set made it clear that this is a place where both the performers and the audience feel the love.

Check out TSFGO every Monday night starting at 9 p.m. at The Blue Dog Motel on Saint-Laurent.


Try stand-up for shits and giggles

A rising local Concordian gives you all the ha-ha’s and how-to’s of breaking into the local scene

It’s on every bucket list. It terrifies even professionals in the industry. It’s also something that you should do right now. There are tons of great reasons to get involved in the world of stand-up. It’s cheap entertainment (so much better than spending $20 to see Taken 5 in IMAX 3D. Live comedy shows are often cheap, even free, and are always presented in 3D (no glasses required). It’s a great way to broaden your social circle, hone your public speaking skills and make your resume pop in an eye-catching way. It’s also the perfect way to vent daily frustrations, shine light on hypocrisy or bring attention to an issue close to your heart. But how can you transition to the live stage from watching endless YouTube clips, Netflix specials, and instigating gales of laughter among friends? Here are 10 essential tips.

  1. Love comedy. Stand-up is not for the faint-hearted. It’s one of the only activities in which you have to stumble through your first awkward experiences with everyone watching. Love will keep you coming back.
  2. Be kind. Montreal has a tight-knit comedy scene. Once you get involved, people get to know you fast. Don’t trash talk, don’t be late, don’t be a no-show, and do not be a diva. I’ve been guilty of all of these offences, because you know, well … life. My point is just try not to be a butthole.
  3. Be considerate. Be a good audience member. Don’t whisper (I can hear you) and don’t sit with your face buried in your phone (I can see you).
  4. Stick around. Perhaps the biggest faux-pas of all is to do your set and leave immediately after. Not only is it rude to the other performers, but watching others is an excellent learning experience. Make mental notes of their mistakes so you’re less likely to make the same ones. Analyze their material, their character, their delivery and their habits for what works. Most importantly, schmoozing afterwards can result in valuable connections, or even just helpful feedback.
  5. Don’t steal. I misspoke earlier when I said leaving after your set was the biggest faux-pas (but backspace is for chumps). Stealing material is the biggest faux-pas, period. Much like plagiarism can get you kicked out of academia, stealing material can get you kicked out of comedy. Dane Cook, Bill Cosby and Denis Leary are famous names accused of thievery. Yes, their careers are currently fine (except Cosby—but that ship’s sinking for other reasons). However, the accusations of joke theft still plague these performers even decades after the alleged incidents.
  6. Be sincere. Everyone has heard that tragedy + time = comedy. True, but it has to be your tragedy and your time. Every joke has a victim. The question you have to ask yourself as a performer and writer is: does the victim of this joke deserve to be laughed at? Perhaps this is the origin of the ever popular self-deprecating joke. If you’re the butt of the joke, you know that you did something stupid and that you deserve to be laughed at for it. Conversely, this is likely why so many “edgy” jokes fall flat—the victim of the joke does not deserve laughter. This isn’t to say that you can’t use comedy to talk about serious topics, à la Maria Bamford, but it’s best done from a place of sincerity and understanding. For example, I don’t typically find an 18-year-old dude talking about abortions hilarious. However, I do find DeAnne Smith talking about them hilarious.
  7. Believe in yourself. If you truly believe something is funny, keep trying it in different ways. Never, ever, trust the reaction of a few people to a new joke. There is almost no way to know if it works until you get up on stage and tell it. Many times I’ve told my comedy-loving partner a new joke and received nothing but a blank stare in return, only to have the same joke greeted by laughter when delivered from onstage.
  8. Be yourself. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Finding your voice in comedy is a long process. I’m two years in and I’m only just beginning to find my style. My suggestion is to try on a bunch and see what works. Local comedian Bruno Ly’s subdued, smooth style captivates audiences as effectively as Montrealer Mike Patterson’s manic personality—but neither would be as effective if they tried to emulate the other’s style.
  9. You’re going to bomb. A lot. Deal. There’s no way around this one. It’s going to happen. A lot. After bombing hard one night, I went to recent Just for Laughs alumnus Morgan O’Shea for some advice. “Morgan, was it a crappy crowd tonight, or was it me?” Without hesitating, Morgan smirked and said, “Nah, it’s you. It’s never them. It’s always you.” The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon has a great series of segments called “The Worst I Ever Bombed” available on YouTube. These segments will bring you comfort.
  10. Be very suspicious of anyone giving you tips. This is perhaps the most useful piece of advice I’ve ever received. Montreal comedy’s mustachio-d big brother Peter Radomski gave me this invaluable insight after watching one of my first sets.

Have I convinced you to give stand-up comedy a try? Super. Here are some places I recommend for your first time. Which one is the best? Check out a few before signing up and see which you fancy.

  • Flop or fly: hit up these stand-up venues to get some laughs or premier your own comedic style.
  • Danger Dulgar, every second Sunday at 8 p.m. @ Bar Bifteck, 3702 St-Laurent Blvd. Contact:
  • Macsimum Comedy, Sundays at 10 p.m. @ McLean’s Pub, 1210 Peel St. Contact: sign up for a spot at the bar beginning at 8 p.m.
  • Grinders Comedy Lab, Tuesdays at 8 p.m. @ Theatre Ste. Catherine, 264 Ste-Catherine St. E. Contact: Show up early to enter for a lotto spot.
  • Newbie Tuesdays, Tuesdays at 8 p.m. @ The Comedy Nest, Third Floor of the AMC Forum. Contact:
  • Shut Up and Laugh! Wednesdays at 8:45 p.m. @ Burritoville, 2055 Bishop St. Contact:
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