Taping my first-ever self-produced comedy special at CBC Glenn Gould Studio in early 2020 taught me a lot about filming live standup comedy. Using my new learnings along with all the equipment that we obtained to shoot that special, I decided it’d be a good idea to apply that knowledge to producing comedy specials and album recordings for other Canadian comedians.
Tapings will occur at both Paradise Theatre on Bloor monthly during ‘The Vong Show’ as well as at The Rivoli during my monthly shows RICE: Asian Comedy Showcase, Comedy Cares, FRUIT: Queer Comedy Showcase, What Up! What Up! Toronto, and FRESH: New Comedians Showcase.
Recordings (both video and audio) will be released under the Studio Vong for multiple digital/streaming platforms as well as physical medium including vinyl albums and theatrical screenings.
What is ‘The Vong Show’?
The Vong Show is a celebration of all the unique voices that make Toronto the most diverse city in the world. It’s fitting that the show will take place at Paradise Theatre because to me Toronto is a paradise for comedy. I’ve recently performed in New York City and Los Angeles and honestly I think that Toronto is at the forefront of the industry in terms of the standup comedy being performed on our stages. It’s time Toronto gets the recognition we deserve as a standup comedy powerhouse!
Starting September 22 and continuing monthly ‘The Vong Show’ will shine the spotlight on Toronto’s top headliners and feature acts by providing the stage and the audiences we deserve. All performances will be filmed live with a 9-camera, 12-microphone setup. One 45-minute headliner set will be produced and released as a full comedy special to be shopped around for distribution (final platform depends on the recognition level of the headliner and their following which both factor into negotiations for distribution). Two 15-minute feature sets will be produced and released on ‘The Vong Show’ YouTube channel including watch parties for all episode premieres. The headliner’s audio recording will be output as a comedy album to be released across audio streaming services while the features’ sets may be released as a compilation album.
Ultimately, ‘The Vong Show’ is my love letter to Toronto. I want Toronto’s comedy scene to see itself the way that I see it, so join me in helping Toronto take our rightful place as one of the comedy capitals of the world!
Filming and Production Multi-Cam Demo
Join Me On Stage! (Submissions Open Now)
Audience Makes All the Difference
A huge part of the Toronto comedy scene is the amazing diversity of our local audiences and their amazing support of live comedy. It actually angers me when people say you have to leave Canada and make it in the United States before Canadians will support you… or that you can only sell out a huge theatre in Toronto by booking an American comedian. I would say the 700-seats sold (double sell-out) at CBC Glenn Gould Studio prove that Torontonians will support quality entertainment from local Canadian comedians. I actually think we have one of the best audiences in the entire world, and I think TIFF has shown that people from other countries actually value the Toronto audience as a gauge of worldwide popularity for a project. It’s time we start valuing our own audiences as well.
I’m gonna tell a story that I don’t share too often. My very first comedy special taping was in the United States just over a decade ago, and I had no creative control which is standard for a young comedian. But what I learned was just how incredibly important the audience is to a live taping. Because I was in a foreign country and city, no one in the audience knew who I was until I walked out on stage. Additionally a lot of video production companies producing comedy specials have very little experience also producing a live comedy event. As such, a large proportion of the audience are made up of tourists or comp tickets or people who’ve never heard of the comedian being taped. As a professional of course I did my best and the audience was happy, but honestly it’s not the same as doing a taping in front of a real comedy audience… an audience of people who came specifically to see you and who has followed your career…. an audience that is there to support local talent and propel their careers forward.
Taping my first self-produced comedy special at the CBC Glenn Gould studio in front of an audience who came specifically to see me honestly filled that gap that I didn’t understand was missing at my other tapings. It’s a night-and-day difference. I will 100% work with you to ensure that the audience you are performing in front of for your taping is the right audience for your material.
Shining a Spotlight on Canadian Comedians
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my background as a media executive prior to becoming a comedian, it’s how to properly amplify talented comedians get give them the spotlight they deserve. Full media and communications strategies will be deployed for both the live taping and for the eventual album release and comedy special launches.
A lot of albums and comedy specials are released without the proper attention they deserve and that will absolutely not be the case for any project I am associated with.
Past shows have included full television coverage on programs including CBC The National, CTV The Social, OMNI Television and most noteworthy was being the full 8-minute lead story segment on CBC Our Toronto and being profiled in-studio back at Glenn Gould Studio for a story CBC News Toronto. Radio coverage has included CBC Metro Morning and CBC Fresh Air.
Print and web coverage has included full multi-page spreads in National Post and a profiles in NOW! Toronto, CBC Comedy and even critics reviews from outlets that generally only cover live theatre such as Mooney on Theatre.
Past partnerships have also amplified comedians appearance on my shows to full billboards at Yonge-Dundas Square and takeovers of BlogTO. So basically I’m saying if you’re on the show get ready to be heavily promoted.