Comedy Review: Proud of You

Review: Proud of You Comedy

June 11th, 2016

Proud of You, established November 2016, is a sketch group that can only be described as “young” and “fresh”. The second Saturday of every month, the group of six (comprised of Brett Skillen, Denea Campbell, Richard Lott, Maarten Bayliss, Amar Singh and Stacey McLachlan) embark on a themed night of stand-up and sketch at Main Street’s Little Mountain Gallery. This particular evening was titled “Never 4Get”, dedicated to re-living some Proud of You favourites from their past seven months of comedy.

The night began with standup guest Ryan Williams, whose punchy delivery and manic energy were effective in warming up the crowd. Stories of mennonites, bees and road trip dads were oddly relatable, transforming the audience’s chuckles into genuine laugh-out-loud moments.

Following the brilliant stand-up, Proud of You were ready to hit the painted plywood stage.  The group cleverly used a PBS pledge drive format to introduce their sketches, starting off with “Karen and Kylie”: two on screen BFF’s with their very own disturbing theme song and homicidal tendencies. Another crowd pleaser was Sharon Maples, a sexually empowered single mother presenting her thesis on Marshall Mathers’s feminist lyrics, something she dubbed “F-eminem-enism”. Overall, the sketches flowed smoothly, thanks to Bayliss’ knack for hosting, and incorporated  everything from almond milk to gorillas to used car salesmen.

Photos by Andy Fang

Following the intermission, Ryan Williams returned, this time with fellow comedian Jacob Samuel in a segment titled “Newsdesk”, taking tribute from SNL’s weekend update. The two provided witty commentary on recent news-worthy events such as emoji bible verses and car sex scandals. The segment was thoroughly enjoyable and gave the whole show even more content diversity, which seemed to be Proud of You’s goal.

To cap off the evening, the audience witnessed the many idiosyncrasies of Daniel Teaspoon, a brilliantly crafted character played by Proud of You member Brett Skillen. The one-man show served up 20 minutes of self-loathing humour, friendly audience participation and its fair share of self-aware Donald Trump Jokes. Teaspoon’s late night talk show format single-handedly kept the crowd engaged, thanks to his awkward banter and frequent breakdowns.

As the show winded down and the hypothetical curtain closed, one thing was clear: Proud of You is funny. The group deviates from comedic  norms in the best way possible, offering carefully curated bits and diverse content. If Saturday night’s show is any indication of Proud of You’s future, it’s safe to say they are on their way to becoming a Vancouver comedy staple.

Catch Proud of You every second Saturday of every month at Little Mountain Gallery. Photos by Andy Fang Photography.

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