Do it for the lulz
The Owl’s new Monday-night programming aims for unique laughs
Mondays are God awful. It’s the first day of the school week, you’re tired from the weekend, and if you’re like me, you’ve got a metric shit-ton of homework to catch up on because you were far too hungover to do it on the weekend.
Alexis Losie, bar manager of The Owl, knows this, which is why she struggled coming up with Monday-night programming for The Owl.
“Mondays aren’t a night you go out hard,” Losie said. “We were trying to find something on Mondays that is going to bring people out after weekends of going out and drinking and partying. Monday is a hard night to do.”
So what’s there to do after a long day of classes on a Monday night? The campus bar’s solution for this is their new monthly comedy show: Howl at the Owl.
“It’s a comedy night featuring local comics and local talent,” she said. “Hopefully, it will open some doors to some people who haven’t done comedy before, and it will give them a space that would be comfortable and safe to do it. I think it’s a scary thing to get up onstage to do.
“One of the goals is to have the person who’s sitting in the audience thinking, ‘I think I could do this, and I’m being given the chance, so I’m going to’… I think a lot of these guys that are in comedy can remember how scary it was to get started. We want to create a night where someone who’s interested in trying it will feel comfortable doing so.”
The inaugural show was your typical stand-up show, but the plan for the event is to differ from the regular, stand-up comedy show. With limited stand-up comedians in Regina, hearing the same routines from the same comics can grow stale quickly.
“You can throw a rock and hit a comedy show in this city,” Losie said. “What’s going to make someone come out if they just saw those same comics? Will I go if there’s a twist? Hopefully, we’re going to be able to do some different things.”
“Regina is different than a lot of comedy towns, because it’s inevitably going to be no one or the same people over and over again,” said Dan Yates, local comic and host of last week’s Howl. “You’ve got to dress it up to make it somewhat different. You should go to more than one show a month, but you don’t want to hear the same jokes.”
The smaller quantity of local comedians in Regina has Losie looking to bring in talent from outside of the city.
“Will I try to bring in some visiting [comics]? Absolutely. Monday is a great night, because there aren’t that many comedy shows on a Monday through Saskatchewan, but if they’re looking and coming through … I’d like to,” she said.
This addition of a regularly occurring comedy show on campus, which Yates said is “something that I think has been missing,” will hopefully bring out people who haven’t seen much comedy in the city or are interested in getting started in it.
“It’s important to have a presence on campus, because a bunch of us are out of university and there seems to be an audience,” Yates said.
Fellow comic Dan MacRae agreed, adding, “Lots of people say, ‘I didn’t know there was a comedy thing in town,’ especially from whipper-snappers and young folk.”
Despite the apparent lack of awareness of comedy in Regina, the comedians who performed during Sept. 19’s Howl were doing so in front of a decently-packed room. Comedians didn’t have to worry about a lack of people attending, but rather making sure they could be seen and heard by everyone in the bar.
“We weren’t expecting that many people out, and it’s awesome to see that many people show up and participate and listen,” Losie said.
The Oct. 17 installment of Howl at the Owl is currently still in the works, but, sticking with the plan to create a unique comedy show, Losie is planning for next month’s event to be a Kraft-Dinner-cooking competition.
“It’s going to be a comedy night, but it’s a Kraft Dinner cook-off,” she explained. “I was at a party and the host said, ‘Who feels like Kraft Dinner?’. Everyone has their special way of making it. I know someone who uses bacon fat in their Kraft Dinner water.
“We’ll provide everyone with the ingredients that are listed by Kraft. They’re then allowed four of their own secret ingredients. The comedians are going to be the judges and review each dish that’s cooked that night. It’s going to be like a ‘KD on Trial’. I want comedy and people who are witty, and who better to judge something as ridiculous as a Kraft Dinner cook-off than some local funny people?”
Programs such as this are helping to make The Owl a place where people can do more than “get wasted, dance, and pick up people”. To Losie, creating nightly programming which is interesting is just as, if not more, important than making liquor sales.
“Sales are very important, but I also do like to see butts in the seats,” she said. “I would rather have, on a Monday night, a hundred people come in, have a bite to eat, have one beer, and enjoy the show than us try to think of how we’re going to create a night club on a Monday night … I want people in here, enjoying what we’re doing. That’s the ultimate goal.”