By: Emma Jean, Peak Associate
Veteran comedian Graham Clark performed his second 24 Hours of Stand Up, to benefit the recently displaced Little Mountain Gallery. The event was one of the last to be held at Little Mountain Gallery’s location on East 26th Street, after the building was sold to a developer to build condos. The performance helped fundraise for a new space.
Clark, a fixture of the Vancouver stand-up comedy scene and host of Stop Podcasting Yourself, achieved the feat alongside a group of fellow comedians. This collaborative effort highlighted the grassroots community of local, independent comedians Little Mountain Gallery has fostered since opening in 2001. The event, true to its name, started at 8:00 p.m. on December 18 and finished at 8:00 p.m. the following day, both at the venue and online.
The performance marked a transitional time for not just Little Mountain Gallery, but also the province. In response to updated public health measures, the venue audience was reduced to 50% capacity. Clark noted he hadn’t performed live in-person for some time, and with the Omicron variant it seemed he might not again for a while. When he asked the crowd if anyone was going home for the holidays, he was met with silence. “What a horrible day to ask that question,” he jested.
The first hour featured a full set of Clark’s jokes, which were as offbeat as they were funny. Many touched on the absurdity of life, and how the unexpected turns it takes can be chaotic and bleak, but rarely boring — not unlike the circumstances of the event itself. As the night went on, the format switched as a rotating panel of local comedians wrote jokes for Clark to deliver. The crossover of writers and audience members meant that running gags formed as the hours went on, a sampling of which included the ever-topical glory hole, tiny horses, Canadian Heritage Minutes, and 1950s comedian Milton Berle’s weiner.
The joy of the event wasn’t just in the constant stream of silliness; the feat itself was a marvel to watch. Clark’s dedication to helping Little Mountain Gallery was wonderful and impressive, but the ongoing support of friends who came with jokes, coffees, and food for him at all hours of the day was heartwarming to witness. The same went with the crowd, who offered warm enthusiasm throughout and would cheer on the show no matter what was happening. This included impassioned chants of “SUB! SUB! SUB!” every time Clark took a bite of his delivered Subway sandwiches.
By the time hour 24 rolled around, Clark read his last bit, a mountain of joke papers lay on the floor, and over $21,000 had been raised to support Little Mountain Gallery in their new phase. It was a true pleasure to witness over livestream. In the face of corporate greed, the acts of service seen all around for the Little Mountain Gallery community gave hope for what the collective’s, and Clark’s, next act will be. For the latter, let’s hope it was a well-earned good night’s sleep.
Graham Clark’s Stand-up for 24 Hours can be viewed online at VancouverComedy’s Twitch page. The suggested donation to watch is $20 and can be made through the GoFundMe campaign attached to Little Mountain Gallery’s website.