Dino Archie debuted his comedy showcase “Is This a Joke?” on Wednesday, November 19 at Vancouver’s beloved Electric Owl.
Before deking around the mic to start the show, Archie wandered through the tables like any audience member, mingling with the crowd. In spite of some of his material, which painted him as somewhat of a womanizer, Archie seemed to be a genuinely nice guy and admirer of his fellow comics.
Archie performed a few jokes between each comic’s set, but overall served as an emcee for the group that he had assembled.
First up was Sunee Dhaliwal, a Vancouverite whose jokes were mostly based on his experiences as a comic and as an East Indian resident of British Columbia. In classic Vancouverite fashion, Dhaliwal got his jabs in at small-town BC, recounting an experience in which he realized that he would rather die in a rickety propellor plane than suffer the alternative: setting up a home in Trail. Dhaliwal kept the crowd laughing throughout his set, and his endearing — and often self-deprecating — humour set a positive tone for the show.
Archie followed up with a short interlude, during which he encouraged an audience member to show him an Instagram post of her Halloween costume. While they exchanged follows, Archie sang about his newfound wife who he would make “Dino Jr.’s” with — the guy really managed to charm the audience in a matter of minutes, and his fellow comics alluded to this knack for the duration of the show.
Next was Ivan Decker, whose energetic style was a major shift from the tone of the show thus far. My initial fear that his piercing voice would grate on me soon dissipated, as Decker’s writing and delivery were flawless. Decker knew his Vancouver audience: we love to hate TransLink and we have major regional pride just waiting to be activated.
Decker’s big laughs came from his labelling of the Downtown Eastside (“Gastown but just a bit more east”) and his derision toward his hometown of Ladner. Decker finished with a callback to Archie’s Instagram encounter, and left the audience impressed and eager for more.
Finally, Graham Clark closed the show with some minimalist prop comedy, holding a phone book for the majority of his set. Clark played to a generation eager to be nostalgic, and thankful we were born just early enough to tell our temporal inferiors, “You’re too young to remember that.”
Clark’s references were relatable, and the bit worked on this crowd, but might have fallen flat with a younger audience. Clark’s other material was strong, and just like the preceding comics, he appealed to common local topics, such as the infamous memory of crows. The laughs came easily, and the good mood established early on ensured that Clark’s set would be well received.
All of these local comics deserve any support that comes their way. They all conveyed an authentic passion for the medium, and had the talent to keep the crowd unwaveringly engaged. Look out for these rising stars and support the Vancouver comedy scene!