NEXT STAGE #14 April 22 2005

Comedy in a McNutt Shell

“Extreme sports for the neurotic,” Chris McNutt exclaims as he starts his monologue and introduces the next act up to the stage.
It’s just a cry for help.”
Comedy does have its therapeutic uses.
A few days before his performance at The Boiler Room, I asked him how he works on his material in a town like Whitehorse.
Looking over the buffet he is at, he instead observes that an invasion of Whitehorse would succeed if everybody ate this stuff for lunch: “They’d just have to wait till 2 o’clock and everyone would have passed out from the grease and breading.”
Once back on track from this tangent-rant, he observes that comedy is not like practising guitar in your bedroom. You need audience feedback to see how your jokes work. An open mic on a music stage is not the best setting.
“Folks are not listening to you, they’re busy talking and doing other things.”
McNutt organized Comedy Night at The Boiler Room for two reasons: He believes there is public interest in seeing live comedy in Whitehorse and, if you want to showcase your talent, you need a venue.
Lots of laughs and plenty to laugh about as Jump The Shark came onstage to do a sketch piece about a news cast from the far future looking back on our near future here in Whitehorse. Confused yet?
The internal logic of the piece mixes the ongoing waterfront project, 75 roundabouts, Hillary Rodham Clinton as Queen of the Universe, the multiplex, something about the athletes’ village in Watson Lake, somewhere called Fort Fentie and three guys making “whoo whoo” noises, that provided flash backs and forwards. These guys were all over the map and right on the mark.
McNutt came back up and sang of his distain for composting and his need to commit to a vasectomy.
“You can’t make a joke about how much you hate tofu if you really think it’s great stuff.” He believes the best comedy rises from the truth of our everyday struggles, or as Homer Simpson once said, “It’s funny ‘cause it’s true.”
Local author and storyteller Sharone Maldaver next stepped up to relate a story of house sitting a cabin in Tofino on Vancouver Island’s Pacific coast. An idyllic cabin on the beach complete with a flea-ridden cat, the rising tide and blankets of fog.
Before introducing the next performer, McNutt went into a description of a condition that, by the end of the bit, had the crowd laughing at a reference to cannibalism (sorry, I guess you had to be there).
Steve Martin once observed comedy is not pretty … I would add that sometimes it dresses funny, too.
Musician Graeme Peters tore through an AC/DC song on an acoustic guitar demonstrating once and for all that these sorts of lyrics should remain in the realm of over amplification. His tribute to The Arrogant Worms’ I Am Cow and Canada’s Really Big was a joy to hear performed live.
Jump The Shark ended the night with an elaborate improv involving props, lines from a script and audience participation proving three heads are better than two.
McNutt hopes to organize another comedy night soon.
To this I say, “If you build it, they will come.”
Bill Polonsky hosted The Fish Show on Victoria’s CFUV FM Radio for 12 years and now programs music for CJUC 92.5 FM in Whitehorse. Contact him through his website at .
Photo Caption
Chris McNutt hosts a monthly Comedy Night at The Boiler Room.