Real Live Action

Angry & Afraid

w/ Brett Skillen, Maddy Kelly, Joel Oxales, Jake Spencer, Gina Harms, tin lorica, Alannah Brittany

Little Mountain Gallery; March 9, 2019

Sarah Amormino

Little Mountain Gallery, the hole-in-the-wall comedy venue tucked away off Main Street, was dimly lit before Angry & Afraid began. The space, which is operated by a Not-For-Profit society consisting of volunteers as well as a collective of Vancouver comedians, had a grunge feel and a nip in the air. Voted Favourite Comedy Room in 2018 by the Vancouver Comedy Awards, Little Mountain Gallery was once used as an automotive garage. However, today, instead of a storage facility for vehicle parts and a workshop for busy mechanics, it’s a noise depot for laughter, music and conversation brought on by standup comedians, the DJ booth nestled at the side of the room and an audience eager to laugh.

On March 9, seven young and local comedians took the stage to illustrate, through humour, their personal definitions of what it means to be angry and / or afraid. This was the final instalment of the show, which was hosted and organized by Vancouver comedian, Kody Audette. Post-Trump inauguration, Audette garnered comedic inspiration from the world’s political freak-out. “A lot of standup comedy material is already about stuff you don’t trust or things that annoy you,” he exclaimed over the booming sound of The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize.” Despite the theme of Angry & Afraid, Audette didn’t want the comedians involved to have to do too much writing. Instead, he wanted them to be able to pull from existing material and morph it into the show.

Audette kicked off the event by asking the cheery and intimate crowd, “Who has a weird fear?” A voice from the audience yelled out, “Being alone!” One-by-one, local comedians Brett Skillen, Maddy Kelly, Joel Oxales, Jake Spencer, Gina Harms, tin lorica and Alannah Brittany performed, shedding light on topics relating to mental health, relationships, misogyny, racism, politics, addiction, religion, sexuality, and death. Angry & Afraid — the show of many emotions — was as gloomy and depressing as it was lighthearted and hilarious. Each comedian successfully wove serious subject matters with authenticity and humour. And, considering the consistent stream of laughter coming from the crowd, it was all undeniably relatable. The final line of Kelly’s act hit the nail in the show’s coffin, “Turns out the lesson today is that when you’re angry, you’re actually just afraid.”

Audette announced the event’s hiatus, as Roast Battle Vancouver — another Little Mountain Gallery comedy show that he hosts and organizes on the last Wednesday of every month — takes time-consuming work and priority. Even though Angry & Afraid is finished for now, this doesn’t mean it won’t be back, because as it was made abundantly clear, if humans can connect with each other over anything, the things that make us angry and afraid take the cake.