Winnipeg Free Press

Brad Oswald's Comedy Fest Blog
Simon Rakoff

Simon Rakoff

Debaters the Second produced just as many funny fireworks as the radio-recorded effort’s first show did on Saturday. Sunday’s matchups included the much-anticipated chest-thump-off between Bruce Clark and Mel (Dan Licoppe) Silverback, the tuxedo-clad mountain-gorilla mouthpiece last seen swinging southward during 2007’s Last Comic Standing semi-finals. Their topic: whether zoos should be closed. Arguing for the proposed ban, more-or-less-upright-walking Elmwood product Clark: “Opponents would argue that zoos are artificial, and created only for the entertainment of humans. Well, so are Pamela Anderson’s breasts, and that doesn’t make THEM wrong.” Zoo-closure advocate Mel’s response: “Let me say, Mr. Clark, that if I had some feces right now, I would fling it at you.”

Mike Wilmot and Kate Davis argued about whether kids today receive too much praise. A cleaned-up-for-radio Wilmot, who actually might be as crusty as his trademark rasp makes him sound, offered this life-lesson nugget: “Try your best, or, at least, SAY you tried your best — then you can be a hero among stupid people … and that’s where the money is, anyway.”

Rick Currie, filling in for the absent A. Whitney Brown, took on fest A.D. Al Rae; the topic: whether lawns should be outlawed. Rae’s grim position: “Every drop of sprinkler water is a spit in the face of a starving child;” and “Lawns create unhealthy competition; your neighbour gets a leaf blower, you get a leaf blower; he gets a tractor mower, you get a tractor mower; pretty soon you have to nail his wife just to keep your dignity.” Currie’s approach was a bit more HANDS on: “I have the best-looking lawn on my block. It isn’t hard to achieve — all you have to do is water it in the morning, mow it in the evening, and then late at night, spread salt on your neighbours’ lawns.”

Simon Rakoff and Ray Hanania managed to wring some laughs out of the touchy subject of whether Canada should do more for Palestine; Sabrina Jalees and Erica Sigurdson found some funny wrinkles in the fashion industry, and in the main event, Wilmot and Derek Edwards traded shots like Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed in a shout-off over whether it’s big cities or small towns that are the heart and soul of Canada. All funny stuff, and it was also impressive that it was a sold-out house on a Sunday afternoon when the sun was shining outside and there was a whole lot going on, sports-wise, on the teevee. During a re-set between radio-taping setups, host Steve Patterson encouraged the crowd to keep its spirits up. “Are you guys still with me?” he asked. After the expected wave of cheers subsided, one lonely, let’s-wrap-it-up-inclined voice was heard from the back of the seating area: “We’re missing the curling final!”

Didn’t make it to Sunday night’s fest-finishing panel/Desi-Show combo, or to the waning-hours schmooze at the GST, as the sniffles had descended in full force and The Masters was on the tube. And as anyone knows, missing the first major of the televised golf season would NOT be funny.

So, that’s about it. Hope this was fun, despite that unexpected lull in the middle. Sorry the vid-clip thing didn’t work out as well as we’d hoped. Until next year, then…..