Miramichi has been the home of many important events and festivals over the years. From the Rock and Roll festivals to the Tall Ships to Irish fest and the Walter McDonald Memorial Concert, and many more. Thousands of Miramichiers gather together to celebrate this great city and what our community has to offer.
With countless bands and artist showcasing our entertainment industry in Miramichi along with big time events, myself and many like-minded individuals have felt there has always been a missing piece in the puzzle of Miramichi.
A portion of entertainment that hasn’t been touched in our great community, a thriving act that contains laughter, good times and pleasant memories, the art known as comedy.
With cities such as Fredericton and Moncton New Brunswick, the comedy scene has been thriving throughout the years with sold out shows and stand up artists coming from all over Canada to promote their acts, and to share their comedic views of the world with those who are willing to listen.
As of 2012, Fredericton, New Brunswick has been a thriving stand up comedy scene that has picked up in viewership steadily over the years. Rogers Cable TV has since picked up on the scene and has created Comedy In The City, a local televised program in Fredericton NB that features stand up comedians at various venues throughout the city, as well as exclusive interviews with local upcoming comics and national touring headliners.
Saint John NB is home to one of the most famous comedy franchises in Canada; The Yuk- Yuk International Stand up Comedy. A staple of the comedy scene that spans over 14 cities in Canada, the Yuk Yuk’s comedy franchise has been a deep root in the foundation of many well-known comedians that varies from Dave Foley, Jim Carey, Norm MacDonald to Dan Aykroyd and many more.
Miramichi is already a thriving source of entertainment but that boundary can be pushed even further through the support of our community. We could have limitless amounts of concerts, theater productions, art galleries and stand up comedy shows and events.
Recently I had the chance to sit down with local comedian Joe Butler also known as “Big Love” at our local coffee shop, Creative Grounds Cafe. Joe expressed his interest in comedy at a very young age, and wanted to assist in the creation of the comedy scene in Miramichi NB. Through devotion and working with great members of our community. Joseph is able to achieve his goal of a comedic scene in Miramichi NB.
Joe Butler was born and raised in Miramichi NB and has been practicing comedy for the last year now. Being well-known on stage through theater productions and starring roles and playing with live bands, Joe always had his eyes set on comedy. Determine to make his mark in the comedy industry, Joe set out to perform his first show was at the Wilser Room in Fredericton New Brunswick. He recalls being Nervous as he contacted the owners of the establishment and asked to try his routine during an open mic night.
With positive vibes and a passion for comedy, Joe came out victorious that night and was one of the most highlighted acts of the show. With compliments pouring in from people in the crowd, Joe felt an over-whelming feeling of joy and accomplishment that fueled his desire to be a comedian.
Joe B: “I remember the first joke I told on stage and they laughed at it, that’s when all my nerves went away, If they wouldn’t have laughed at my first joke I would have been a wreck! But after they laughed, I knew it was going to be okay and what I wanted in life. It was an amazing feeling!”
This writer was interested and surprised to learn that a comedy show, specifically a stand up comedy act, cannot be compared to a musical concert or a theater production. That a comedy show has an entirely different viewership, an entirely different crowd.
Joe B: “Comedy is different! It’s a different platform, it’s unique! it’s not like a musician where if you make a mistake, the crowd is very forgiven because they are enjoying themselves or their dancing, even in acting, they are very forgiving. They are not forgiving in comedy! your instrument is them and if the jokes you are doing and the sounds they are doing isn’t laughter, everyone in the audience knows! Sometimes it can be very uncomfortable and awkward”
Joe shared his passion of comedy and what he wanted to give back to our community.
Joe B: “Were very fortunate enough that we have the vogue theater and a couple other great venues in Miramichi. We have had a few other comedy shows over the last couple of years but we don’t get it very often. We have such great venues and we have all these different things but the one thing we don’t get spoiled on is comedy. I want comedy to be expected in the community. I want the scene to grow. I want to help create a comedy scene in Miramichi, that’s my main goal. I want to contribute. Creating this comedy show is my way of giving back to this great city.”
In September of 2017, The Vogue theater held its comedy debut hosted by Miramichi’s own Joe Butler featuring Shane Ogden with comedic acts by Sam Laidman and Matt Keenan. The show was a sold out performance and the talk of the town. With radio interviews and local news paper articles, Joe had achieve his dream of blossoming the comedic scene in Miramichi NB.
This writer was interested to find out what local members of our creative community had to say about the blossoming boom of comedy in Miramichi NB.
I immediately spoke with the 2017 Music NB, Fan Choice Award winner; Dillon Ryan, who is an active member of the music scene in Miramichi NB. I asked Dillon what he thought of a comedy scene in Miramichi would be.
Dillon R: “Miramichi can only grow to be an arts driven city if it starts to support and encompass the idea of all different mediums. Not just music or not just painting etc There has to be a communal aspect to our city that invites all forms of arts. So I see bringing comedy into the fold as a huge positive for Miramichi”
Riley Harris of AfterSurf had this to say about the comedy scene growing in Miramichi NB
Riley H: “The Miramichi comedy scene gaining some traction – not a surprise to me. The original music scene is experiencing the same. Venues around the river are starting to really dig the original stuff again. I believe the 506 Festival being held in Miramichi last Autumn really helped that along. Miramichi deserves comedy shows – myself/everyone loves to laugh.”
I also had a chance to talk to Mayor Adam Lordon about his thoughts on the sudden boost of comedy sweeping over Miramichi.
Adam L: “It’s been great to see the comedy scene in Miramichi really coming to life lately. We’ve seen a flourish of arts and culture recently and it’s great to see comedy playing a big role in that! Miramichiers are natural-born storytellers and have a great sense of humor. So it seems like a natural fit and it’s providing opportunities to locals to contribute on stage and behind the scenes.”
Taylor Sheasgreen of Lionsault also shared his thoughts to the conversation.
Taylor S: “I love that there’s suddenly a comedy scene on the ‘Chi. It’s new entertainment for Miramichiers and after seeing the success of these comedy shows, we sorely needed it. Everyone owes “Big Love” Joe Butler for this and hopefully this will bring other Miramichiers out of the woodwork to pursue their passion and bring even more to the ‘Chi.”
With the support from local artists and booming venues such as the Vogue theater and Riverside Entertainment and local establishments such as O’Donaghues pub, The Well Bar, The Boulevard, etc. already helping and providing platforms for artist around Miramichi and surrounding areas, the possibility of these venues holding an open mic night for comedians could provide countless hours of entertainment and also a platform for inspiring comedians to practice their routines.
Miramichi has been slowly digging into the comedic scene for the past few years but it wasn’t until this year that comedy really began making its stride. On November 18th 2017 at 7:15 PM, The Vogue Theater will be hosting “Fishing For Laughs” featuring local comedian Jimmy Mackinley with comedic performances by Martin Saulnier and MC Matt Richardson. The community of Miramichi is starting to see a rise of comedic shows being held in our area.
Also on December 2nd 2017 at 8:00pm, Joe Butler will be hosting another comedy act at the Vogue Theater, headlining for the show will be comedian Dan Hendricken with comedy acts by Ben McDonald and Matt Richardson. Tickets are $20 dollars and will be on sale at Creative Grounds, Millcove Coffee and can be purchased online as well.
Miramichi is a beautiful, growing city that supports its local artists, performers, musicians and of course our comedians. If Miramichi is able to grasp this comedic momentum and continue to run with it, I see the art of comedy becoming a staple of our creative community.
I would like to thank Joe Butler for taking the time out his busy schedule to talk to Modern-Typewriter, and be on the look out for an exclusive and In-depth look at comedian “Big Love” Joe Butler as he shares his stories and what thrives him to continue with his journey of being a comedian in the future.
I would also like to thank Dillon Ryan, Riley Harris, Taylor Sheasgreen and our Mayor; Adam Lordon for providing such inspirational and positive quotes on the subject of comedy.