What sings, dances, acts, jokes, and has played professional football? If you’re curious to find out, check out Red Hot Riot, a new monthly comedy-variety show hosted by Regina comic/improviser Jayden Pfeifer, at the Artesian on Sunday, March 20. Pfeifer said the show will resemble a late night talk show, and will include stand-up, sketch, improvisation, video projects, live bands, special guests, and ten or twelve other things which I can’t even consider right now.”
Red Hot Riot isn’t a new idea for Pfeifer. “It’s an idea that I pitched to a few friends over two years ago, creating a live variety show that could give access to all of these performances,” which Regina is in no shortage of. “There are tons of talented people in this city that are very funny. Regina has an incredible comedy scene; it’s just that only the audiences of those shows know about it. I go other places and come back and think, ‘Wow, the people here are really talented.’ I think people can expect a showcase of really good, smart comedy that takes itself seriously and has something for everyone.”
Pfeifer has worked with numerous comedy and improv shows such as Pass the Hat, the Comedy Grind, the General Fools, and Combat Improv, but he claims that Red Hot Riot will have its variances from previous projects he’s worked on.
“The biggest difference is that it doesn’t have one dimension to it; it is a mix of all comedic forms,” he said. “I think that what’s very common for improvisers or stand-up comics and sketch artists or musicians is to produce shows or create work that is only their thing. Improvisers do improv shows, stand-up comedians do stand-up shows, and they don’t mix.”
Pfeifer continued, “From my sensibility there’s no reason why all of those things shouldn’t be featured together as part of one consistent show because they all have things that are very different about them and things that are amazing about them. I guess the biggest difference is that I am trying to create a forum where all of those things are part of the same unified show as opposed to having their own feature shows.”
Red Hot Riot is a distinct show here in Regina with most others only featuring a single-sided performance. “I want this show to be a part of, being one of those sort of flagship comedy shows that is doing something different than we already have, and giving access to people that haven’t seen those things before,” Pfeifer explained. “I want it to be one of the shows that helps grow the community more than it already is.”
He hopes that this unity of artistic forms will help bring new audiences to acts that they might not normally see.“The other thing that often happens is that audiences don’t cross-pollinate; you will get people who like going to see stand-up or people who like going to see improv or people who like going to see bands, but don’t go to the other things. Those same people will love all of those same acts; they just haven’t seen them yet. If I have a musical act like Belle Plaine, who has a great following in the city, and her fans come out to see her, they’re also going to see a stand-up comic that they’ll like or an improviser that they’ll like. Improv people that love going to see Combat or General Fools are going to see some stand-up comics they might not have seen or a band that they haven’t seen. You start to engender a love of lots of things for a new audience, which is sort of [a] motivation behind this – creating a well-run, well-produced forum for all of those things to be accessible to audiences.”
In addition, the show will feature special guests involved with different performances in the show. “They might be a cool celebrity or someone who happens to be in town that I’m able to get to the show, or it might just be a musician that I know, and instead of making them the musical act, I make them a featured guest of the night and have them involved in more than one facet of the show. It’ll really depend on who I can get. Some nights it’ll just be the performers, or some nights I’ll have a wealth of acts to put on and there just isn’t room to do a featured guest, but it’ll definitely be a fixture of the show over time.”
While the guests might not always be celebrities, the Red Hot Riot’s first guest appearance will be from none other than former Saskatchewan Roughrider wide receiver Matt Dominguez. “I want the show to have an access to anybody who wants to come see anything; I also don’t think [having a sports celebrity on the show is] a crazy thing to do. You don’t see a lot of football players coming to do comedy shows, but the draw of it is that you’re going to get to see Matt Dominguez in a comedy show; that’s interesting, and weird, and kind of cool to know that he’s on board to come and do that. I want the show to be able to have access to those things.”
Pfeifer believes that this helps to further the show’s motive of “anything goes”. “It’s not strictly ‘we’ll only do stand-up, sketch, and improv’… I’ll throw on a mariachi band if I can find one.”
Despite how full and diverse the lineup is, Pfeifer takes pride in Red Hot Riot’s tight production and management. “It is funny, at times ridiculous, but it takes itself seriously. It’s there to produce a high-quality show. It’s not an open-mic. The show isn’t a bunch of guys who threw a thing together last-minute. The show takes itself seriously”.
Red Hot Riot will be at the Artesian on Sunday, March 20. Tickets can be picked up at the Mysteria art gallery across the street from the Artesian, or at the door on Sunday night for $10.