By Gaf, special to SaultOnline.com
The night started off setting a precedent where first impressions aren’t always what they seem as I started off my journey. I was off to a shaky start mistaking the Great Moose lodge on Trunk for the Elk Lodge on Bay, I’ve never been good with cervinae. I can already sense my fathers disappointment at all the wasted years of taking me out on hunting trips, and the money thrown away on National Geographic magazines. Making my way back towards my car, head hung low in embarrassment I journeyed to the appropriate venue luckily with time to spare. Upon waltzing into the lodge braced for a night of comedy I began to feel a distinct sense of dread as the more I looked around the room the more I realized the age gap between myself and the attendees was nearly 40 years. Immediately to the cash bar to calm my crippling anxiety and prepare myself for the the onslaught of dissecting eyes questioning this bespectacled young man with the camera. What I expected was some dimly light stage and a night of raunchy comedy as my years of deep diving into the dark realms of humour had lead me to believe anything comedy related was. However this was not the case, here were no brick walls or cloud of cigarette smoke or hecklers at the ready, but there was a rather large moose head mounted at the back of the room. This was the Great Moose Lodge and this was the Comedics, a group of musicians specializing in parody songs. Not what I was expecting when the tickets landed in my hand and given the charge to cover the event as a fledgling reporter.
The tension was palpable though as the crowd awaited the performance, the tables filling with empty wine glasses, bottles of domestic beer and those little milky plastic cups every venue provides that make you feel like you’re getting ripped off every time you order a cocktail. They were getting rowdy now, and in their own subdued way I could hear the passive whispers of the audience hissing for the evenings festivities to begin. Visions of the crowd attacking the band in a drunken rage filled my head, guitarists beaten with canes, drummers strangled with cashmere scarfs, singers stabbed with knitting needles, it was all too much for any sane person to bare but I stayed strong. Suddenly the music began and I was pulled from my psychosis.
After a rousing Canadian-ification of Grand Funk Railroads American Band the banter of the Comedics segued into vasectomies, followed by a reinterpretation of The First Cut Is The Deepest, which honestly cracked me up until one of the vocalists produced a set of dangly balls. As if this imagery wasn’t enough to drive home the point like a 9 iron to the head a giant set of scissors made an appearance and I found myself wishing I too had underwear with the capability of urine control and it became increasingly harder to take photos while laughing so hard. After that tour of testicular torment, a clever anti-smoking take on The Girl From Ipanema. Only this lyrical lark swapped the serene coastal shores of Brazil with emphysema. Next was a Johnny Cash medley elegantly fusing together songs like Walk The Line, I Got Stripes and Folsom Prison Blues providing a testament to the musical skill of these performers, or the lack of diversity in Cash’s music.
The musical breaks littered with jokes that had me audibly laughing in earnest with Sault themed humour that managed to transcend the paramount age gap between the audience and myself. Fairly clean but certainly cheeky jokes permeated every facet of the evening and I found myself reminiscing on days spent full of laughter and stories with my grandparents and for a moment I was entranced in the atmosphere and felt a sense of warmth and belonging. Until that euphoria was interrupted by the odd strobing effects of the lighting system and I began to fear an epileptic episode might ensue somewhere in the audience and poised myself to offer what ever aid I could. Of course no evening would be complete without some mention of Trump and they did not disappoint as a tale of a Maria Butina the accused Russian spy, the NRA and the orange behemoth himself was sung set to the tune of Johnny Rivers’ Secret Agent Man. Following this political jab was a satirical blues joint about the hardships of being white and elderly which I’m not going to touch with a 20 foot pole. Not even Bono was safe (which is fine by me) as With or Without You took on the woeful story of a man whose date never showed up and his Viagra kicked in leaving him to his own… well let’s just say devices. Albeit not my preferred style of humour the Comedics managed to extract some genuine laughs from my black twisted heart and in the process give Weird Al Yankovic a run for his parodied money as the skills this troupe possess in not only musical ability but lyricism became more and more evident throughout the evening and I was left thoroughly entertained. Thankfully as music soothes the savage beast the audience was now satiated and the empty bottles slowed in their pace and the knitting needles were laid down as those hands found new purchase with the age old activity of audience participation as the rhythmic clapping began. I thought about joining but didn’t as I have an image to maintain.
The evening took a sober turn when intermission became a time to talk about the cause behind this event, Tracy’s Dream, her passing and how the charity which shares her name has now raised 60,000 dollars towards paid parking for cancer patients and closer to an ultimate goal of a stress free environment for chemotherapy patients. I felt humbled to be a part of this event and amidst the people here, until the silent auction began and I was suddenly surrounded by the frightening speed of elderly women wading past me to place their bids. The horde of prizes boasting knit goods, ceramic dolls, a tiny Hogwarts castle (I think), hand made wreaths and a seemingly out of place abstract painting which I thought about jumping in line for, but I’m on a budget and I’m a snob. After the bidding was complete and the winners claimed their prizes I felt it was time to take my leave as I began to feel like a looming specter of youth and ultimately only wanted to see who claimed the abstract painting. I had planned to wait in the parking lot and burgle the painting in an almost Thomas Crown-esque sequence of events that I had rehearsed in my mind, but the gentleman who claimed the painting was substantially larger than myself and I’ve disappointed my parents enough.
I’m positive the rest of the evening was just as entertaining and humour filled as the pre intermission but I received all the comedic musical merriment I felt contractually obligated to endure, as any self respecting pessimistic misanthropist could reasonably handle that is. So I left, feeling not only contented by a very unique and well presented brand of Canadian comedy and blessed to be around such caring, giving and kind hearted people and with an urge to call my grandmother. Feeling not unlike the subject of the Comedics rendition of With or Without You as I too was left without my date, I fled into the night to pursue that next story, that next glass of scotch and hopefully my last cigarette.