Entertainment

The Irrelevant Show — Canadian comedy at its finest

The Irrelevant Show actors (left to right): Neil Grahn, Jana O’Connor, Mark Meer, and Donovan Workun. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
The Irrelevant Show actors (left to right): Neil Grahn, Jana O’Connor, Mark Meer, and Donovan Workun.
— image credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

From sketches about Star Wars, to arguing that tights are not pants, to what a goalie thinks about when the puck is at the other end of the ice, CBC’s The Irrelevant Show has touched on just about every part of popular culture.

On March 21 the award-winning show is bringing its top sketches to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre for a hilarious night of Canadian comedy.

The Irrelevant Show is normally produced in Edmonton, but this touring version includes only the best and a live production — no recording. This means less technical problems or need for doing retakes, and more opportunity to interact with the audience and share the stories behind some of the sketches.

“We find the audience laughs louder and longer at our best of shows,” actor and head writer Neil Grahn said.

It also means the actors have a chance to revisit and improve on some of their favourites.

“We get to hone them and make them even funnier,” Grahn said. “A lot of times the difference between funny and gut-busting is a pause, or a different take on a line. The best of show allows us to build on what we did in the initial recording.”

Grahn will be joined by actors Mark Meer, Jana O’Connor, and Donovan Workun, Dave Clarke, the “sound effects guy” and “sound sculptor extraordinaire,” and Peter Brown, the show’s director and producer. This team has won the show two Canadian Comedy awards and a medal for Best Regularly Scheduled Comedy Program at the New York Festivals, and they are the reason it has become one of CBC Radio’s most successful comedy shows with 750,000 listeners each week.

With the show being in its seventh season and having recorded around 700 episodes, cutting it down to the top five per cent wasn’t an easy task.

“The first phase, where I chose the finalists, was really fun. It was great fun going through our old shows and being reminded of sketches I loved and that I’d forgotten. A lot of ‘oh THAT one!’ moments,” Brown said.

“But the narrowing down to an evening’s worth of sketches was very hard. We could do a second and probably a third evening of greatest hits — I ended up putting together a lineup that offers a real range of material, and features the actors in as many combinations as possible.”

More than anything, the team is looking forward to sharing their favourite sketches with the rest of Canada — everything from award-winning ‘Bee Circus’ to the ever popular ‘NHL player thanks hockey fans for telling him to shoot the puck.’

“This is really exciting for us,” said Brown. “This will have more laughs per minute than any show we’ve done before. It’ll have a great, loose feel — more of a party than a CBC taping.”

The show is embarking on a Canada-wide tour, with the Chilliwack Cultural Centre being its first performance.

“This has been a long time in the works, and it’s happening because Michael Cade encouraged us to stage this kind of show,” said Brown. “So I’m doubly exited to launch this show in Chilliwack — it means a lot to me personally and I’m glad Chilliwack is our first stop in British Columbia.”

The Irrelevant Show is coming to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre’s HUB International Theatre on March 21 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $35/adults, $32/seniors, $30/youth, and can be purchased at the Centre Box Office, at chilliwackculturalcentre.ca, or by calling 604-391-SHOW(7469).

 

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