Sometimes laughter is all that's needed.
Well, the Vancouver region has an eclectic mix of venues to meet your laughing needs and dispense with those wicked, wintry frowns. So, without further ado, here's a shortlist of the Lower Mainland's top laugh factories.
Staged by DualD FlipFlop
Address: 1015 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC V6Z 1Y5
Telephone: 604 684 5050
If it's pure stand-up you want, then The Comedy MIX is your bag of tricks. The 220-seat venue located in the basement of the Century Plaza Hotel provides full food and beverage service and one of the most authentic comedy club feels on the west coast.
The Comedy MIX operates five nights week, seven shows in total. Professional headliners mesh with local talents, says Jason Rowland, general manager, which makes for a distinctive brand of comedy brought to audiences.
We try to feature the best talent possible, says Rowland. Thursday to Saturday are marquee shows, with Tuesdays featuring pro-am comics.
The blend of various scopes of talent ushers in fresh material and witty content on a regular basis. This is something especially worthwhile in the age of the Internet, when notable and rising comedians have their content plastered all over YouTube. Having a great selection of comics come through ensures many leave the MIX feeling satisfied, and re-runs are rarely spotted.
Georgia Strait readers in 2013 awarded Best Comedy Club in Vancouver to the MIX. Bringing in fresh comics and shows at affordable prices, the club creates nightly crowds that deliver a lively atmosphere.
Rowland says the MIX targets some great touring comics as well as talented locals. But despite its wide acclaim, the attitude isn't focused on being the best club in town. The overarching purpose is to promote and showcase comedic brilliance and the general craft of stand-up.
So, the next time you're down on Burrard Street, stop in and see what's going on at The Comedy MIX that make thousands of Vancouverites flock to the Century Plaza. But be advised: the best seats go to those who arrive earliest!
Address: 2837 Cambie St, Vancouver BC V5Z 3Y8
Yuk Yuk's is a time-honoured staple of Canadian comedic venues. The country's only national chain provides coast-to-coast opportunities for comics to practice their craft with varied crowds.
The franchisee of the Vancouver spot on Cambie Street in the scenic downtown core, Garry Yuill, describes the atmosphere simply as "electric."
We show three comics Friday and Saturday nights. There's excellent sight lines in a short and wide room... and it's always packed,
Comedy fans can expect concert series acts sprinkled in throughout the year. Established comics like Russell Peters, Norm Macdonald, Iliza Shlesinger, and Bobby Lee are just a handful of the established talents that have graced the stage of the famed Yuk Yuk's.
The remaining weeks of the year, Yuk Yuk's fills with a mix of up-and-coming talent — many Canadian comics from far and wide in terms of experience in addition seasoned pros, domestic performers, and visitors from across the border.
We have a talent scouting program,
says Yuill. The club's Wednesday ad Thursday night shows act as the first-level screening of rising stars or those joke-tellers that deserve a chance to show their wit in the face of hundreds of onlookers.
Every Thursday night, the Yuk Off kicks off until the end of August. The second annual comedy competition pits 108 comics against one another for a grand prize of $2,500 and rights to be crowned as Vancouver's funniest. The audience selects winners each night, and it's just $10 admission for a world-class comedy club offering.
Address: 2616 Shaughnessy St, Port Coquitlam, BC V3C 3G6
"Saturday Night Live with dinner" sums up the Giggle Dam as succinctly as possible. The dinner and comedy attraction based out of Port Coquitlam has laugh-seekers arriving consistently from across the Lower Mainland.
Brad Lovell, director of marketing and media, says the venue and content are unique. It's not exactly stand-up, but it's not conventional theatre either, offers Lovell, who is also a long-time performer with the company.
But Lovell doesn't talk generalities for long. He quickly shifts the subject to owners, writers, and performers, Sheila Sharma and Mark Friebe.
They are the Giggle Dam's magic dust. Sheila writes everything. Mark is like the franchise player... He can rock an eyebrow and people just piss themselves laughing,
In operation for a decade, the Dam puts on four different themed shows every year. Featuring a cast of six — three male and three female — actors, the close-knit comedy group delivers some of the best entertainment for a buck.
At the end of the day, making such an impression that people talk about you [The Giggle Dam] for weeks is what it's all about.
Even better, the Dam brings audiences a truly Canadian brand of comedy, with local actors delivering off-the-cuff comedy.
It can be politically incorrect, warns Lovell, but funny is just funny.
The next time you're up for an eclectic mix, a distinct brand of comedy, stop by the Giggle Dam. It will surely be a night filled with good food, laughter, and memories.
For those searching for entertainment that's worth the price, look no further than The Comedy Mix, Yuk Yuk's Vancouver, and the Giggle Dam. With ticket prices ranging as low as $10 on some nights, there's certainly some wiggle room for even the tightest budgets. Note: Those with no sense of humour need not apply!
Some other notable mentions that nevertheless failed to grant an interview are Lafflines Comedy Club in New Westminster and the Vancouver Theatresports League. The former is geared toward stand-up, while the latter is more geared toward the improv genre.
Photo courtesy: The Comedy MIX, Yuk Yuk's Vancouver and The Giggle Dam.