Ottawa takes on Just For Laughs

A Herd family member is going to Just for Laughs. Learn about the journey to come, in his own words, and follow his adventures in Canada’s sin city here and here.
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Photo of Greg Houston, by Dennis Elliot
So myself – Greg Houston, a comic based out of Ottawa, that not only performs all over but also produces monthly and bi-monthly comedy shows is going to JFL (Just for Laughs)! … As press. I thought I’d practice interviewing myself? (with help on questions from Ottawhat? Podcast) I’m going to check out the festival to  sell it to Ottawans, and I’m going to sell Ottawa to JFL. I’ve worked with quite a few comics featured in the festival and I’ll be catching up with them to get their take on shows, and comedy.
JFL has been around since the 80s and is an internationally recognized comedy festival that brings industry people from all over the world. Many acts are very established, and some are brand new. For many Canadian comics this is their yearly Olympics. It’s the chance to meet pros and work with them and show off their talents to scouts.
Why is JFL important?
JFL has put Canadian comics on the international map. And also has exposed Canada to many amazing international acts they might not have seen before. In the age of the Internet anyone can become “famous,” but to have sustainable careers in the comedy industry, you need to bring it when it’s on the line. You only get one shot. Don’t miss your chance to blow up. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime… Okay I’m just quoting Eminem right now. JFL is the the most established, successful, prestigious comedy festival in Canada. It also makes Canadian Comedy the focal point to the world during those few weeks. The chances of seeing a comic that is about to “make it”, or about to be on tv, or about to make you pee your pants is so high. There are a few different show formulas and themes.
There will be over a 100 comics performing from July 8-28. Plus being such an industry type event, you could get random appearances and drop ins from any comic ON EARTH. It could be the most important North American Comedy Festival, and therefore a lot of comics will be there.
Who are you excited to see?
In chronological order:
The Nasty Show hosted by Mike Ward
Kurt Braunohler
Todd Glass’s Midnight Surprise
Dave Chappelle
Kyle Kinane
Wyatt Cenac
Bill Burr
Homegrown Comics
Rhys Darby
Anything but stand-up with Jon Dore
Michael Che
Ari Shaffir’s This Is Not Happening
Norm MacDonald Gala
Plus a few key panels of note:
How to Conquer the Rest of the World
WTF is Happening in Digital??
Fourthmic did a great preview for Chappelle and the Nasty Show
The Gazette did a great preview article for the Norm MacDonald Gala:
Along with all the above, I’m hoping I can somehow also catch Chris Locke, Steph Tolev, John Hastings. Basically I’m just not going to sleep or eat for five days I think?
Why should people see live comedy over recorded specials?
Live comedy is so different from watching a recording. It’s so much more organic and is all about the experience. I honestly think it teaches people how to laugh again. Society is so used to watching “funny” things in the privacy of their own homes. They smile and say to themselves “that’s funny.” Live comedy is a great experience and so cleansing. Plus the unexpected things that happen at every show is seriously a once in a lifetime experience. It could be any number of factors: from a glass breaking, to a heckler, to a comic falling apart on stage – anything could happen.

Where can people see live comedy in Ottawa?

They should only ever go to a independent comedy show… no  just jk. In Ottawa we actually have two really amazing clubs: Absolute Comedy and Yuk Yuks Ottawa. Both are franchises that bring in touring pros from all over North America, whilst also showcasing local acts often. We have a small independent scene in town, and decent Comedy Open Mics too. There is an Ottawa Comedy group on facebook if you’re a comic looking to get stage time. Other-wise there is usually postings on facebook, kijiji, craigslist, tinder, and actual proper websites too!

Comedy Explosion at the Gladstone

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Photo courtesy of Chris Locke

This weekend at the Gladstone Theatre, Ottawa Explosion Weekend will take over the venue….with comedians. It will be the first time the Gladstone plays host to standup comedy as well as the popular Ottawa Explosion Weekend. But an amateur comedy event this is not. With comics as celebrated as Mark Little, who was recently featured on Conan and is widely popular not only in Canada but in the US as well, and Chris Locke, winner of the 2014 Canadian Comedy Awards for Best Male Standup, podcast supernova, and Just for Laughs veteran—this is an A-list event not to be missed.

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Photo courtesy of Greg Houston

But what would comedy in Ottawa be if not for its most prevalent hipster-comic, Greg Houston, who has hosted and performed all over our city and works his ass off to build an alternative comedy scene worthy of our attendance. Houston, who curated the event, has teamed up with Ottawa Explosion Weekend to bring us what will surely be a wild and laughter-filled weekend produced by local talent as well as featured talent from across the nation.

Join the Facebook event here

Or learn the old fashioned way by reading the details below.


$12.50/night or $20 for both nights

Order tickets by sending Interac Etransfer to:

Please add $1 proccessing per transaction (not per ticket ordered).

Please print your accepted money transfer as proof of payment to present night of.

$12.50 adv / night – $20 adv / both nights
The Gladstone Theatre

Comedy Explosion 1


UNDERCURRENTS 2015: “Punch Up” Packs Serious Comedic Heat

Following a lovely opening night party that boasted a fine spread courtesy of the Albion Rooms and affordable alcoholic beverages thanks to Dominion City Brewery Co. and the Wine Rack, I was back at the Undercurrents theatre festival Friday night to see three more shows. While Punch Up and Much Ado About Feckin’ Pirates take place on the studio stage at Arts Court and are part of the ticketed lineup, Air is a pay-what-you-can performance and happens in the studio lobby. Though sometimes it is hard to sit through three shows in one evening, the festival has done a nice job in balancing the hour long shows with shorter pieces like Air and next week’s Jerk It.  It’s really worth buying an evening pass to Undercurrents: in the time it takes to see one show at a large venue, you get three shows…and for cheaper! In any case, if there was one thing I took away from Friday night it’s that there are some real comedic juggernauts at this year’s festival.

Continue reading “UNDERCURRENTS 2015: “Punch Up” Packs Serious Comedic Heat”

Somewhere in Hull

Somewhere in Hull from Herd Magazine on Vimeo.


Ottawa loves its craft beer, but when it comes to deciding on where to go to enjoy a pint, we’re a bit indecisive. Enjoy your local beer at this year’s Arboretum Festival from August 18th – 23rd. More information here.

Luca, who plays the male star, is part of the team behind Dan Rascal, a production company based out of Ottawa. Learn about them here.

The lovely leading lady is the star of Eva Bee’s Jamboree, a funky cooking show that’ll make you hungry (and give you a chuckle). Check her out here.

Zara Ansar & Christopher Snow

Greg Reain