The Laugh Sabbath gang. Photo by Joe Fuda.
Sometimes you just gotta sit down over burgers and fries with people who don’t seem to even really get how talented they are. We did this recently with Katie Crown, Sara Hennessy, Nick Flanagan, and Chris Locke at the Rivoli, home of the weekly comedy series Laugh Sabbath, in which the four are regulars; we were also joined by Laugh Sabbath’s producer and publicist, Leslie Aimée Gottlieb. The series celebrates its three-year anniversary this Sunday night with a special show hosted by The Flirts and featuring musical performances by Greg Alsop and Dave Monks of Tokyo Police Club.
Laugh Sabbath is the result of the marriage between the monthly “Comedy and a…” shows—featuring the distractions, Knock Knock. (Who’s There?) Comedy!, and musician Bob Wiseman—and the weekly Righteous Wednesdays shows. As Locke is quick to point out, you never know what to expect. “Everyone thinks the audience is going to be full of Queen West hip people, but then we’ll get old people with their wives and stuff.” “My parents came once to see me perform with The Remainders,” says Crown. “I don’t think they got it.” The shows themselves are always unpredictable, a time-tested mix of standup, sketch, videos, character monologues, and more. There is some order amongst the chaos, however: each of the various shows has a host, and the crowds go crazy for recurring characters like Bad News Brian (played by Brian Barlow) and Charlotte the Harlot (played by Kathleen Phillips). “Sometimes the whole room gets it,” says Flanagan. “And you realize you’re not alone in this world.”
We also talked a bit about their own personal projects: Flanagan is the pop culture correspondent for online men’s mag Toro, Crown writes for and acts in Comedy Network’s Hot Box, Hennessy staged her own one-woman show at Fringe, and Locke made a film with Nathan Fielder. And that’s just scratching the surface of the countless other comedy, acting and writing projects with which the entire Laugh Sabbath crew can be credited. They have awards to show for it, too, including four Tims Sims Encouragement Awards, two Canadian Comedy Awards, and one Gemini (not too mention too many nominations to name). But they seem more concerned with some of their simpler accomplishments, such as making the house bartender chuckle. “I always look over and see him laughing,” says Hennessy. The group is happy to call the Rivoli their longstanding home, a venue which once played host to Kids in the Hall and may or may not be haunted. “They love us here,” says Gottlieb. “And we love them back.”
The Laugh Sabbath three-year anniversary show takes place Sunday at the Rivoli (332 Queen Street West) and features Levi MacDougall, David Dineen-Porter, Nathan Fielder, Michael Balazo and more. Cover is $5.