By Mathew Silver
CALGARY – Anyone interested in training for stand-up comedy should stand at attention.
Victoria Banner, a 26-year-old Calgary comedienne (and BeatRoute contributor), is recruiting a small army of local comedy upstarts for the Calgary Stand-Up Comedy Boot Camp, which will be stationed at Arts Commons from May 6th to 7th.
Over the course of the two-day training exercise, Banner will show enlistees the comedy ropes, and drill them on the keys to performing on stage. You’ll learn confidence, how to bomb (on-stage) less, how to talk about sensitive topics, and how to sleep with hot babes (her words, not mine) after shows. She might be looking for a trainee just like you.
“I just want anyone who’s young and passionate, and still thinks they could be a stand-up comedian,” said Banner, who has noticed a rapid decline in the local comedy circle. She said it’s likely because Calgary is merely considered a stepping stone to bigger entertainment bases like Vancouver and Toronto.
But she’s determined to change that narrative by rounding up talented Calgarian troops that might have otherwise avoided the line of comedy fire.
“You can make good things in Calgary. If you go down to the Saddledome there’s no lack of people watching the Flames game. Why don’t we treat our arts like that?”
The weekend will culminate in a public showcase, where soldiers can choose to take their newly polished arsenal of jokes into battle. No military experience necessary to join, just creative aspirations and a willingness to learn.
“It’s not going to be about how to write a great set that sounds good on paper, it’s going to be how to have nothing to say and feel comfortable on stage for five minutes,” said Banner, who has been in the trenches of the local comedy scene for the last five years. She’s also performed at first-class venues like the iQ Theatre in Chicago, and world renown events like The World Series of Comedy and the Tall Tree Music Festival, among other credits.
The class will be open to roughly 25 people and cost $50 dollars. Your money gets you twelve hours of class, a spot in a professional show, all of Banner’s professional contacts, and an actual acting credit from Arts Commons. She said the sky is the limit for anyone looking to break into the business.
“Some of the best comedians in Canada call Calgary their home. There’s nothing stopping anyone here from being amazing.”
To enroll, contact Banner at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also catch her in action at BeatRoute’s May issue launch party on May 11 at Local 510.Banner, Local 510