Get to know the folks behind the laughter, as The Peak explores the burgeoning Vancouver comedy scene with our recurring column, Laugh Track. From podcast hosts and improv royalty to monthly showrunners and people just being funny weirdos, there’s never a shortage in this comedic goldmine called Vancouver.
You don’t have to be a comedian to make jokes about living in Vancouver, but that’s the premise of Brent Constantine and Amber Harper-Young’s monthly show at Hot Art Wet City. For over two years, Vancouverite: A Comedy Show has provided comics with the platform to share their Vancouver-based experiences. From the challenges of relocating to Vancouver to the different set of challenges that come with living here, it’s a comedy show that literally hits close to home.
The Peak: One of the definitions for Vancouverite on Urban Dictionary is “somebody with the biggest superiority/inferiority complex in all of Canada.” What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “Vancouverite”?
Amber Harper-Young: Just anyone living here. It’s funny, because I thought I’d never be a Vancouverite, but then I’ll catch myself doing weird things, like yoga at Dude Chilling Park. I think there are hipsters that embody what a lot of people, like Urban Dictionary, think a Vancouverite is, but I don’t know if that’s true. When I first moved here, I thought there’d be a lot more hippies, and people would be more green. Just a lot more things that I was sort of aiming for myself, and then you realize that everyone just puts their trash in the alley, and no one really gives a fuck about whatever anybody else is doing.
Brent Constantine: There’s this idea that people have of this city, that maybe doesn’t exist, and this shared idea of how people have to act when they’re here. And people just follow along because they’re like, “Well, I’m in Vancouver, I guess I have to love bikes now.”
AHY: And Whole Foods.
BC: Not just part of the food anymore, I have to love the whole thing.
P: What comes to mind when you hear the term Vancouverite: A Comedy Show?
AHY: Lots of fun, lots of exchanging of past experiences. We talk to the audience off the top, so we get to find out where people are from. We get to make jokes about them, jokes about ourselves — it really doesn’t matter where you’re from.
P: Where did the idea for the show come from?
BC: Most of the people we meet didn’t grow up in Vancouver. People are from out of town, and so there’s that idea of just adjusting to life here from their home cities.
AHY: Brent and I were new to Vancouver and we were very desperate to do something ourselves. We wanted to carve a little niche for ourselves, to have something consistent to be doing, but also something different. Just the fact that the show has a theme sets itself apart from a lot of just typical stand-up shows. And we thought we could both really relate to the theme.
BC: People really like themes for some reason. Themes just bring people in, even this theme, which is very loose. It’s just, “People from not here.”
AHY: And then we also have people who are from here on the show, so there’s a bit of compare and contrast. And then we get some comics that just don’t even do any material regarding the theme.
P: Are the sets generally geared towards positive or negative stories about Vancouver? Why do you think that is?
AHY: It usually just depends on the comic, and their viewpoint. We don’t try to control what people have to say.
BC: It doesn’t mean people hate it, but a lot of people start from where something’s weird or dumb about this city. I’m trying to remember someone ever coming in and just being so jazzed and like, “SkyTrain! A train in the sky! Amazing!”
P: What’s the most “Vancouver” story you’ve heard at Vancouverite?
AHY: Dylan Rhymer was talking about a time when a movie was being filmed, and the locals who had to deal with the movie shooting around their home just started throwing garbage out the windows at people. I thought that was so funny, because it reminds me of the attitude, where Vancouverites just do whatever. If they’re mad, they just get mad. It’s a movie, which a lot of people would be like, “Oooh, cool Hollywood!” But Vancouverites are just like, “Get the hell out of here. This is our home.”
P: What will people who live in Vancouver enjoy most about the show?
BC: There’s a great comedy scene in Vancouver, and, a lot of the time, people who come out to some of these shows might not be a comedy crowd. So they come in, thinking they’re going to see some kind of exposé on the city, and then we trick them into just watching some great comics that happen to live here.
Also, if you don’t like our comedy, Chris, the owner of the space, put up pictures of naked people wearing luchador masks by the bathroom. So you can just stand by the bathroom for an hour and a half looking at peoples’ genitals and if anyone says anything, say you’re “studying art,” just like a real Vancouverite!
The next instalment of Vancouverite: A Comedy Show is happening on June 25 at, as always, Hot Art Wet City. If you’re looking for a double dosage of Constantine’s hosting skills, you can also see him at Weird Al Karaoke the night before on June 24 at Little Mountain Gallery.