Comedy isn’t a major event at Swift Current’s Lyric Theatre, but thanks to Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Night, it’s starting to attract interest.
© Southwest Booster photo by Jason Kerr.
Comedian Scott Dumas relates one of his many travel stories during Yuk Yuk's Comedy Night at the Lyric Theatre on Thursday.
Although the theatre played host to plenty of comics during its former days as a nightclub, it’s currently known more for music and live theatre productions. It’s a lineup that’s popular with audiences, but Marc Ruel, the theatres program manager, wanted to expand the options available for local arts lovers, and comedy is were he’s started. So far it’s been success.
“It’s always a bit of a chance with standup comedians,” Ruel said shortly after the theatre’s most recent show on August 7th. “Tonight was a really good night.”
While the August 7th show has a few empty seats, Yuk Yuk comedians James Moore and Scott Dumas have no problem keeping the audience laughing. They dart from topic to topic, discussing everything from songwriting to getting pulled over for driving too slow to the Olympics. Dumas even takes a few minutes to banter with some of the audience members before playing a few makeshift songs.
It’s exactly the kind of experience Ruel wants to create.
“We have a good sound system, we’ve got a nice stage and a cabaret style thing right now. It’s perfect for a standup comedy night.”
That’s not to say getting a comedy night going is easy. The theatre works hard to make sure their acts don’t overlap with performances elsewhere. The purpose is to promote comedy, but not at the expense of other Swift Current venues.
There’s also the theatre’s own stable of shows to contend with, which occupy some of the best time slots.
“When we started we wanted to do the weeknights because we tend to have other events on the weekend and we wanted to do something different from the typical music thing,” Ruel explained.
Finding the money to bring in the show isn’t easy either. Ruel said they have no problems with their current format, but to bring in more performers will require a bit more support.
“Personally, I’d like to bring (Yuk Yuk’s) in every month, but it is kind of an expensive show and we’re a little non-profit,” he said. “So far it’s done well, doing it every couple of months. If the demand is there we’d love to put on some more (shows).”
So far the audiences have been lively and receptive, and as long as that continues, Ruel will keep brining in comics. Swift Current likes to laugh, he said, and as long as that trend continues, there will always be a Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Night for them to revel in.
“Swift Current has a really good and engaging audience,” he said with a chuckle of his own. “People come here wanting to laugh, so a comedian really has to bomb to (fail) in Swift Current.”