The Blue Bridge is soon to be a just a ghost in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, but if Vancouver-based comic Dan Quinn has anything to say about it, its legacy will live on.
Quinn is gearing up for the second annual Blue Bridge Comedy Festival, Sept. 24-29, a bigger and better version of the festival that kept Victorians laughing for a week straight last September.
The pinnacle of last year’s festival was the gala show, hosted by Brent Butt and featuring Mark Maron, Nikki Payne, Damonde Tschritter, Rob Pue and Paul Myrehaug at the Archie Browning Sports Centre. But Quinn decided to take a different approach this time around. Instead of one big show with a large capacity, this year’s festival offers many shows, in smaller, more intimate venues.
Lucky Bar, the Copper Owl, Esquimalt High, The Victoria Event Centre, Ecole Victor Brodeur, Hecklers, Upstairs Cabaret, Club 9one9 and the Fleet Club are all hosting shows this time around. Venues range from a few dozen seats to a few hundred.
And the shows range in content, too.
“I tailored the shows to the crowd a bit,” says Quinn. “I wanted the festival to appeal to different people and wanted to give everybody a show they can go see. There are so many different styles of comedy. A 65-year-old couple and a 19-year-old kid will like different things. For example, the Big Show is the biggest names, people you see on TV, while the Dark and Dirty Show is more edgy. If you’re married with a couple of kids, this show probably isn’t the one for you. If you don’t want to be offended, we’ve got shows for you, too.”
There’s the Fairly Clean Show, Ratfish Lounge, the Best of Victoria Show, the Young Guns, the Out and About Show, podcast tapings, a headliner series featuring the likes of Mike Wilmot, Pete Zedlacher, John Heffron, Brian Posehn and Elvira Kurt and even a nightly talk show, hosted by actor, comic and creator of CTV’s hit sitcom Corner Gas, Brent Butt.
“I hosted the gala show last year and I was envious of all the guys who got to hang around all week and see the other shows. It’s a really fun festival with a great crowd,” says Butt.
Butt’s nightly talk show at the Victoria Event Centre will feature some standup, some prepared bits and some different comedic guests each night, but most of the show will be off the cuff.
“Long before Corner Gas, I used to do a live talk show at a club in Vancouver. It was 90 to 120 minutes with a loose framework. Out of necessity it’s improvised. I just don’t know what’s going to happen,” he says.
“It’s always a lot of fun. The format allows for fun for the audience and the performers. It’s a hybrid between a talk show and a TV show.”
The best part, says Butt, is that it’s in such a small room. “There’s nothing that compares to playing a small venue. While there’s magic in playing a big theatre, a small venue with a low ceiling and 200 people — that’s ideal.”
For more information, a full schedule and artist profiles, visit bluebridgecomedyfestival.com.
Tickets are available at the Royal McPherson box office, by phone at 250-386-6121 or online at rmts.bc.ca.