Sunday, May 15, 2011

the ALTdot Comedy Lounge

Last month, JH1 and I were painfully regretting our decision to give up cable.  Having gone through all episodes of every ridiculously stupid television show on Netflix, we were bored and fiddling around on the Internet.   We were stopped in our tracks when John Hastings announced on twitter that we could watch him live in 20 minutes.  We looked at each other and thought the same thing "watch him do what???"  We have horrifying visions of him taking his physical humour way too far on the Internet, possibly involving cream cheese as lube.  We were delighted to find out that we were wrong!

Hastings was hosting a comedy show at the ALTdot Comedy Lounge, which was live on the Internet.  Live on the Internet you say?  Yes, live on the Internet.  Not YouTube, but live, as in real time, as in we could see Hastings on stage while he was performing for a live audience.  How on earth is this possible?  Why are they doing this?  What on earth is the ALTdot Comedy Lounge?  Investigations followed.  But first we watched the entire show, and it was fantastic!  all our faves including Hastings and Graham Chittenden were on one stage.  Our boredom evaporated, and our love for comedy found a new venue in which to exercise it's pleasure.

The ALTdot Comedy Lounge, as it turns out, is a comedy room that has it's origins in alternative comedy.  It is a room in the back of the world famous Rivoli Hotel.  Their facebook description: "the Altdot encourages alternative, untraditional and new material. The Altdot features a variety of comedians and is the preferred destination for some of the worlds top comedic talent whenever they're in town." With a scheduled line-up of the city's most accomplished comics as well as our regular drop-in guests from around the world, you never know who might pass by to do a set. The Altdot aims at providing an alternative to the mainstream, in a comfortable, cabaret atmosphere". The AltdotComedy Lounge has also created a Sketch Night, to help that genre of comedy have a room to perform alternative comedy.

Morgan Flood, Agent/Manager/Entertainment Guru (last title added by JH5) sat down to chat with us about his show.  He said the idea to start
streaming one show live a month came from the desire to showcase the amazing shows and acts that come through the Lounge. For over a decade, all the greats have crossed the Lounge, including Corky and the Juice Pigs, Jon Dore, and more.  The club only seats 130ish people and is always sold out; Ustreaming it live seems like a way to increase fans of the comedians.  When asked if the potential fallout might have people not wanting live comedy anymore as they can watch it on the internet, he stated with certainty that this will increase people attending live comedy.  Once people are exposed to different acts, they  will become fans of certain comedians and will go see them live when they come through, or even hire the comedians for private and corporate gigs.  It makes sense; this medium will help comedians with exposure, which will help as most comedians seem to have issues with self-promotion.

Being from Ottawa, it was exciting to watch a combination of some of our favourite comedians on one stage.  When passing through our fair city, we usually see them 1-2 at a time.  It was enjoyable watching acts that we are exceptionally familiar with .  When acts come through the clubs, they are putting their A plus polished material.  At the Lounge, which focuses on alternative comedy, the comedians are able to test material, try new angles etc. etc., and you realize you are watching art in action.  Can't say that every day!

Flood films the show as well as live streams it, and then slowly posts the acts on You Tube.  He says the exposure this way is huge for the comedians.  The ALTdot Comedy Lounge has a strong following, and they receive viewers in the United States and other countries.  there is no other way the comedians can receive this type of exposure.  While the first goal of the Lounge is to provide the forum for the comedians, and to produce great comedy shows, using the materials to help the clients is something Flood is proud of.  Flood works with Diamondfield Entertainment Inc. and spends time with various clients guiding them in their careers and helping them reach their fullest potential.

I know from the JH5 angle, we usually provide some critical analysis of how this will be the downfall of comedy, or provide some scathing gender analysis, but it just does not apply in this situation.  The ALTdot Comedy Lounge is a GREAT idea, and it is run smoothly through a company that knows it's business, which is show business.  We will support any forum that will provide an evening (such as Monday, May 16, 2011 at 9:00 EST) with performers such as:

Alan Park and

The world is evolving folks, and comedy is coming along for the ride.  Nothing will ever compare to live comedy, and again we mean GOOD live comedy, and the Lounge delivers each time.  They have expanded the joy to those of us not lucky enough to live in Toronto, and for that we thank you.

JH5 will watch the ustream tomorrow night and shall provide our reviews the day after. Maybe late in the day, we report to ourselves and like to get to bed early because three savages wake us up bright and early each day, but the point is, reviews shall be had!

This week on JH5 blog, please check out the profile of the wonderful Kenny Robinson, as well as something controversial and likely bitchy from yours truly.  Can't all be nice posts folks!

Until next time,
Jenn Hayward

No comments: