If you’re looking to score some cute comic action on a Wednesday, standup nights at Felicita’s may be the place to do it—that is, if you trust the advice of local standup artists Abdul Aziz and Shane Priestly.
“A lot of the comics we have on—well, two of them—are virgins,” says Priestly, sitting across from me in our booth at Biblio Cafe. “We’re doing a whole extravagant show just to get them laid. It’s like a reality series.”
“It’s going to become a game for the audience,” Aziz pipes in. “Figure out which two of us are the virgins.”
Whatever your motivation for attending, be it to spot-the-virgin or liven up a dreary Wednesday, the brand new standup nights at Felicita’s, hosted by Aziz and Priestly, guarantee an evening of yelling, drinks and laughter. The comics are hoping that the performances will bring live comedy to a whole new crowd of young people in Victoria, which, considering the size of the standup scene here—“in the same category as poetry,” according to Priestly—is quite the admirable feat.
“Actually, they [the poets] beat us up, like, all the time,” says Priestly, shrugging in a good-natured fashion.
Still, the competition for Victoria’s attention (not to mention its supposedly aggressive poets) hasn’t kept Priestly from performing at local venues for the past two years.
“I always hate myself after a show, and yet it’s this weird addiction. I want to go back up even though I just ate shit.”
This is, according to the novice, the same drive that keeps most professional comics going, despite the harshness of a business where your job is to make people laugh at you, without even the comfort of clown makeup and big shoes to hide behind.
“We’re still pretty new,” says Aziz. “People who are actually professional — well, it takes 10 years from your first show to get to that level. Ten years of doing it consistently. At the point I am, I’m just figuring out who I want to be onstage. It’s a decision you have to make in the first few years. A lot of high-ranking comics say that’s what they miss most about their amateur years—the fact that they could be whoever they wanted to.”
To get involved in performing standup, the best thing you can do, according to Priestly and Aziz, is simply come out, watch the shows and try it yourself. In your bedroom. In public washrooms. Perhaps not in front of your family, on the other hand, especially if you’re planning to poke fun at certain relatives and friends, as many standup routines do.
“There’s probably a ton of talent around campus, so I’m sure people will want to try it out,” Aziz says, hoping, no doubt, that introducing Felicita’s comedy nights to campus will also mean introducing other comics to their calling.
“The more people we have trying standup and getting involved, the bigger and better our scene gets. So anyone’s welcome,” Priestly adds, nodding in accordance with his co-host.
If the idea of getting up onstage doesn’t entice you, no pressure. There will be plenty of drinks to complment the entertainment, and as Priestly states, “If they don’t like the jokes, they can tell us!”
Standup nights @ Felicita’s
Sept. 11, then first Wednesday of each month
Doors at 9 p,m., show at 9:30 p.m.