By Graeme Wiggins
VANCOUVER – With the end of summer upon us the culmination of the 8th annual Sirius XM Top Comic Competition is about to occur. Started in June, 60 of Canada’s funniest comics competed over six nights to be narrowed down to 18 semi-finalists. Vancouver’s comedy scene was well represented with Simon King, Jane Stanton, Kyle Bottom, Mayce Galoni, Gavin Matts, Kathleen McGee, and Jacob Samuel all making the semi-finals. These have recently been narrowed down to eight comedians (6 through an arduous period of online voting and two judge’s selections) who will compete in the finals for a chance at a taping of JFL: All Access, airing on The Comedy Network and a $25,000 prize. Of the local semi-finalists who have moved on are veterans Kyle Bottom, previous Beatroute columnist Kathleen Mcgee and New Westminster native, Gavin Matts.
For Gavin Matts, the process has been largely positive. On his first night he focused on newer material, a strategy that he plans on continuing in the finals: “I have a new 7 minutes that I’ve been doing. The newest stuff is what I’m most excited about. A lot of people put weight on it and practice the same set forever but I think that takes away from your actual standup, so I will be doing whatever worked the week before.”
As semi-finalist Mayce Galoni puts it, the taping is super important but for a struggling comedian. It can allow them to “take some time and maybe take some risks with what [they] do next. Maybe that’s going to the States, maybe that’s across Canada or just having it as a safety net to keep doing comedy.” He also mentions that finalist Kyle Bottom has some pretty altruistic goals for the money to help the local comedy scene more generally. He “offered to give the money back to comedians, so any answer in comparison to that sounds pretty selfish. He has a brilliant plan, to do like a Dragon’s Den for comedians; to use that money to finance ideas from comedians. So even I’m like maybe just give him the win.”
Not all prospective plans for the winning money are quite so lofty. While Matts does plan on paying off some of his student debt he also has a little more material plan for at least some of the money: “The first thing I’m going to buy are these Jordan 1 Shattered Backboard shoes. My friend had them as a kid, these fresh Jordans. Instead of the red and white, they’re orange and white. That’s the first thing I’m going to buy. Then I’ll pay off some student debt. The whole time the contest has been on I’ve been looking for them online, so I know the prices.”
The finals take place in Toronto on September 28th as part of JFL42, with headliner Todd Barry, but for locals who want to cheer on hometown favourites without travelling, it will be broadcast on Sirius XM’s Canada Laughs (ch 168).local comedy, Sirius xm, stand-up comedy