On April 8, Maddy Kelly’s brilliant alternative comedy variety show “All You Can Eat Laundry Produced by Sophia Lapres” or something to that effect, opened. The charming promotional cartoons and flyers yielded yet another sold-out crowd — the endearingly rundown Little Mountain Gallery was packed.
One of the most crucial aspects of producing a comedy show is finding that special somewhere between sterilized and dilapidated and I think I really knocked this one out of the park. The cherry on top? The bartender was super cute.
Kelly strolled out to applause holding a ukulele, a staple of her early act, and announced that she was going to be playing some older material. “I’m not sure that it’s aged too well,” she said as she strummed the instrument and belted, “I looooove The Apprentice!”
At 21, Kelly has already established herself as a force in the city’s comedy scene that is to her “both supportive and competitive. Especially for women.” She, and her beautiful companion, Ms. Lapres, started the monthly variety show to create a fostering program of sorts for some of Vancouver’s less conventional comedians. With the success of its first two instalments, All You Can Eat Laundry seems to be becoming just that.
The variety show treated a full house to three hours of every facet of comedy: stand-up, skits, powerpoint presentations, political sketches, characters, and more than a few rants, all laced with Kelly’s apt and biting jokes, hitting all fronts of her and her audience’s neuroses. Her jokes were about everything: ass, tits, TV advertisements, real-estate, boyfriends, organ transplants, and some stuff I didn’t hear because I had to pee — the wine I had chosen was really good and the bartender was definitely flirting with me.
“It’s hard to find a space for weird comedy,” said Kelly, and All You Can Eat Laundry has certainly made a haven for its share. The first act of her March show featured borscht-belt humour from a boat. “Name any boat and I’ll make a joke about it,” the boat (Brett Skillen) said quickly followed by a “Fuck you!” to an audience member who yelled out “the Titanic.”
Other acts included some insanely good and hilariously offensive impressions, such as racist Marge Simpson and Robin William’s suicide letter, from Simon King. Kelly telephoned Kyle Paton who was on vacation in Mexico at the time (seriously) who told a bunch of jokes that relied on physical gesturing as punchlines. Because of the experimental nature of the show, some acts didn’t get big laughs, which isn’t to say they weren’t entirely brilliant. They just veered more towards the performance art side. Ian Thompson and Sophia Larney, both retired members of UBC Improv, performed character sketches as an entrepreneur on Dragon’s Den and a man without toes respectively.
More traditional standup acts came from Fortune Feimster (of The Mindy Project and Office Christmas Party), Chris Griffin (finalist in the San Francisco comedy competition and winner of Vancouver’s “The Yuk Off”) and Graham Clark (of Stop Podcasting Yourself).
Maddy and I hope to cement the show as a monthly staple to create a space for experimental comedy and performance art and move towards creating a multidisciplinary place for lowbrow comedy, art and music.
Anyway, I think I really hit it out of the park. You can’t learn how to produce a show, you know what I mean? No one teaches you — it’s just something you gotta feel. It comes from your bones. If you have it, you have it and if you don’t, you just don’t. So when Maddy asked me to produce her third show I honestly wasn’t even surprised, I was just like: “Uh-huh. You’re welcome. Now go practice your jokes or whatever. Mommy has to get some liability insurance.” She’s lucky she’s funny.