REVIEW — As I arrived at Absolute Comedy last night, it was buzzing with activity and surprisingly packed for a Wednesday. My drink was brought promptly by a friendly waitress and the audience was ready to laugh when the lights went down and M.C. Marc Anthony Sinagoga took the stage.
The M.C. was great at warming up the crowd and keeping things moving all night. A great comedian in his own right, he had several bits that had the audience howling. To start the night, unique to Wednesdays, a cavalcade of local and out of town comedians took the stage to perform their 6 minute sets.
Rocko Linden, Derek MacFarlane, Al Babcock, Tom Hills, and Mohamed Hussain each came at the audience with their own angle. You never know what you’re going to get when amateurs take the stage, but each of these guys consistently busted up the audience. One act that was particularly funny to me was Al Babcock, whose Facebook page has a display pic comparing his look somewhere between Rami Malek (Mr.Robot) and Pete Davidson (SNL). His jokes were well crafted and caused some absolutely massive laughs.
The crowd work of M.C. Marc Anthony, headliner Pardis Parker, and several of the other acts was great! If you haven’t been to many live comedy sets, that’s one thing that makes it special. You could go every night and get a unique experience because anything can happen and when a comedian gets riffing it can be as hilarious as anything pre-planned.
When it was time for the headliner, M.C. Marc Anthony Sinagoga introduced Pardis Parker with a list of credits that just scratched the surface.
Of course, you need to include his Comedy Central’s Mideast Minute, CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and Just For Laughs NorthWest. But Parker has also written, directed and starred in some fantastic shorts such as The Train (with Colin Mochrie), Two Men, Two Cows, Two Guns (with the legendary John Dunsworth), The Dance, and Implant. He also created something more serious in 2008’s Afghan.
All those projects have won critical acclaim and illustrate what a great “get” this headliner is for Absolute Comedy.
The skill with which Pardis Parker weaved the audience through his set was impressive. His wit and improvisational ability were on display as he rolled with the audience. Parker’s jokes were both unique and hilarious, covering topics that ranged from family to the difficulties of making it in show business, along with several abstract observations.
The crowd was handled with ease by the veteran performer, with a lot of clever interactions with the audience and call-backs to jokes from earlier in the night. Parker is really relaxed on stage and it felt as though you were just hanging out with a really funny friend.
Since a lot of what I found funny in his set relies on surprise, I really don’t want to give anything away. But hopefully your curiosity has been piqued enough to check him out this Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. If Wednesday’s crowd is any indication, you should buy your tickets right away – I have a feeling we’re looking at some sold-out shows.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to see featured comedian Craig Fay, who was not on stage Wednesday, but I asked around and one of the employees at Absolute Comedy called him “one of my favourite acts”. Given how much talent comes through the place I’d say that is a ringing endorsement!
Pardis Parker’s remaining dates and times at Absolute Comedy:
Thursday, Sept. 29 ($12) – 8:30PM
Friday, Sept. 30 ($17) – 8:30PM
Saturday, Sept 31 ($17) – 8:00PM
Check out Pardis Parker on Facebook
Photos – Top: provided
Marquee (cropped): Pardis Parker on Instagram