Taped during the 2006 Canadian Comedy Awards and Festival in what seems to be a TV studio or hotel meeting room in front of tables full of comedy industry people, The Nice Show is a Comedy Network special featuring a who will not be Who? Buffet of Canadian stand-up comics: headliner Gerry Dee, Jon Dore -I liked him at last year's Just For Laughs- Debra DiGiovani, Ron Sparks, and Gilson Lubin. It is a pretty good buffet but a buffet nonetheless.
The Nice Show comics
Time well wasted is the Comedy Network's motto and this applies to The Nice Show airing April 14th 2007 but I am not sure I would watch the repeat or Tivo the show: It's good but not brilliant. As was the case for the previous week's Naughty Show but something that is more obvious here this hour of stand-up comedy was taped in front of what seems to be an audience of industry people in an artificial environment. This explains the lack of energy from the crowd and is something that affects the performances: you are a young up and coming comic doing a TV special in front of people who all seem to have had a Botox treatment that morning.
Debra DiGiovani is up first. She reminded me of Cathy in the comic strip. Her material is autobiographical put downs and her patter is a bit too fast (I blame nerves for that part). I liked Ron Sparks much more than the crowd seemed to. Sparks has a Brent Butt but a little more deadpan quality to his delivery and a pretty good routine on D-Day the video game I hope he will expand to its virtual veteran maximum potential. Sparks also does a few one-liners that are pretty good but show he is better at the longer piece. Sparks is obviously nervous and this gets in the way of his performance. He could also work on his segues.
Gilson Lubin fares better in front of the cadaverous, champagne in an ice bucket crowd. He opens with a pretty good bit on the white man's burdens of cottages and duck hunting. I also enjoyed his take on the last man on earth. I like Jon Dore. He won Pretty Funny Newcomer 2006. His auditioning for a movie part bit is okay. He then gets his guitar to set up a funny song and the only blue moment of the show. I noticed he stared down the crowd when he walked off after his set. Kudos for that.
The closer and headliner to the Comedy Network The Nice Show is Gerry Dee. He's got a pretty good routine on his experience teaching high school and grade 12 history. He segues nicely to pot smoking in kindergarten and snowsuits. I like comics who can do a long routine on a topic without going long and Gerry Dee's very original schooldays bit is exactly that.
I like the Comedy Network concept of showcasing some young Canadian comics in a series of buffet style shows and hope they will continue doing so. It would certainly make for a better evening if the shows were taped in front of a live audience instead of people in the comedy business. Still, The Nice Show makes for a decent hour of Canadian stand-up comedy.