WHAT IS FRESH: NEW COMEDIANS SHOWCASE?
FRESH is my way of paying it forward to the new generation of comedians. When I first started comedy 15 years ago in Alberta, I was fortunate enough to get loads of mentorship as I was learning the craft of standup comedy. Being a smaller town, I had the opportunity to host headliners who came through and performed at the local clubs, showing them around town and spending time with them at meals. I was able to pick their brains and gain knowledge from their valuable industry experience. (Special shoutout to now-deceased Canadian legend Mike McDonald AKA King of Canadian Comedy who really encouraged me early in my career and inspired me to start this show.)
Since moving to Toronto I’ve found that new comedians aren’t getting the same type of mentorship as the city is just too large and performer schedules too busy for the connections to be made between headliners and newbies. Things I was taught early on aren’t at all common knowledge with new comedians here unfortunately at no fault of their own.
So I started FRESH: New Comedians showcase as a way to give newcomers a chance to meet headliners from Toronto and across North America and have an opportunity to ask them questions about their careers and the industry.
Additionally I wanted to use FRESH to give new comedians a chance to perform at iconic venues for the first time such as Cameron House, Rivoli, and of course the AMAZING CBC Glenn Gould Studio (only best of the best FRESH comedians are selected for the once-a-year Best of Fresh gala show at a theatre). Press coverage for the shows also gave FRESH comedians an opportunity to learn about how to market themselves and conduct interviews with news media in Canada. Past FRESH comedians have been featured on CBC’s The National, NOW Magazine, CBC One Radio, CTV’s The Social, National Post, CBC Comedy and more!
I truly believe that the stronger the pipeline of new talent coming up, the better for everyone in the industry.
‘BEST OF FRESH’ ANNOUNCEMENT – TAKING PLACE SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2022, 10PM AT PARADISE THEATRE!
At the end of each year, the best of the best performers from FRESH: New Comedians Showcase will be invited for a special gala performance and recording at a proper theatre venue! See footage below of the Fresh Rice special gala performance recorded live at CBC Glenn Gould Studio!
This year’s gala will take place at the gorgeously renovated Paradise Theatre and feature the funniest comedians from the first six seasons of FRESH: New Comedians Showcase! Tickets on sale at the start of October… which is also when the lineup will be announced! Submissions now open… but only to comedians who’ve previously performed on FRESH!
CRITERIA FOR SELECTING ‘BEST OF FRESH’ COMEDIANS
Multiple criteria are taken into account when deciding who makes it on to the ‘Best of Fresh’ stage. In rough order of priority here are some of the criteria I’m using to finalize the lineup. Hopefully this will guide you as through the submission process to understand what to focus on.
- Biggest criteria is the script you submit for the show… it should be a tight script with the following criteria for the material… must be cohesive (one topic!) and have a narrative shape, must learn about who you are, must share your perspective about the world (how your life experiences have shaped how you view the world). Script you submit should be a FINAL script. This won’t be like the monthly FRESH where you submit a rough draft and I help you finish the script. What you submit is expected to be what you perform at Paradise Theatre.
- Strength of performance at monthly FRESH show… this is the best way for me to gauge how good your stage presence and delivery is… also if I’ve also seen you perform at other places I’ll take that into account. Video tapes won’t be counted, mainly just live performances. If you’ve improved since the monthly FRESH show regarding your stage presence and delivery then try to perform at my Tuesday open mic at Jokers or my upcoming Wednesday open mic at Mandy’s Bistro
- Professionalism demonstrated at monthly FRESH Show and throughout the process… at Paradise there’s so much going on I can’t worry about comedians not following protocol. Did you meet deadlines during the FRESH process? Did you provide your script on time? Did you stick to your time on stage or did you go way over time (it’s super important this doesn’t happen at Paradise so this is taken into account what happened at Rivoli)?
- Intangible part is desire to be comedian based on… I wanna help people who have a real shot at this becoming a career so I’ll base this on generally how active you are in the community… Do I see you doing a lot of shows? Do I see you around the scene? Have you volunteered at shows where you weren’t performing? Generally this is about whether you are a presence in the scene and working hard at becoming a comedian. Would prefer to help showcase a comedian who doesn’t end up quitting in the next couple years (obviously can’t control this and life happens, this is just generally what I’d prefer.)
- Wildcard is how well your FRESH online video performs. This only affects people whose episodes debut before the end of September. If I don’t quite get your comedy but your video goes viral, of course it’ll make me take a second look to see if there’s something I’m missing that makes it connect with a broader audience.
- Strength of marketing… based on how many tickets you sold at the Rivoli show (and how close you were to you estimate). Not a huge consideration but a consideration nonetheless, as obviously at a big theatre we need to get tickets sold. If you didn’t sell a lot of tickets to Rivoli you aren’t necessarily disqualified as this is one of the last criteria, but it’ d be unfair if I didn’t give props to people who sold tons of tickets to Rivoli.