A love letter to Victoria

In a room of wannabe comics, I watch my brother develop his stand-up set on relationships.

“A study conducted in the U.K. found that men tell twice as many lies as women,” Geoff says into an unplugged mic. “I’m no statistical researcher, but I already knew this. And besides, the data is way off.

“Take this morning for example, I’m not even awake for five minutes and I’ve already told four lies: Good morning; I love you; your breath smells great; and …”

I have to edit Geoff’s punchline. The content is more sexual than his little sister is comfortable retelling in the newspaper. 

For Christmas, I took it upon myself to register my brother and I in a stand-up comedy workshop with veteran comic Kirsten Van Ritzen to polish our previous attempts at comedy duels. Him: all delivery, no content. Me: reciting short essays with the enthusiasm of someone calling for a department store price-check. Horrible.

Next week we have the pleasure of performing our last lowbrow comedy session for a captive (and, fingers crossed, intoxicated) audience. 

But it doesn’t have to end there. With regular amateur nights around town, I don’t think I’ll let Geoff and his dude humour get off that easy.

Amateur night at Hecklers? Phillips Comedy Night at Victoria Event Centre? Why stop once he has fulfilled the holiday obligation I forced him into? This kid’s got moxie, I tell ya.

Apparently so does every other person in Victoria. One thing I love about our city is the abundance of talented creative types. Pick any weekend and it’s a safe bet there’s something local, cheap and entertaining (much more so than my brother and I, by the way). And, if you like it enough, you could probably get involved in some way too.

Just walk up to a performer and start a conversation. People like compliments, free drinks and volunteer labour — all three of which have high acceptance rates and can only breed good energy and opportunities.

Better yet, start something yourself. Ask your favourite coffee shop, bookstore, whatever, if they’d like to try hosting an evening of whatever it is that butters your biscuit. 

I’m so excited for this year’s Victoria Fringe Festival — of first-come, first-served shows — that I may select dancing as my new primary mode of transportation this summer. But isn’t Victoria great at low-budget and DIY theatre all the time? Better lace up my dancin’ boots.

Instead of concentrating on what our home is not — a magnet to huge music festivals or arena headliners —  I choose to send a tip of the cap what Vic does best. 

We are a small city with the resources to consistently produce quality arts and entertainment, by people who seem both grateful for the help of beginners and genuinely interested in seeing them succeed. 

Isn’t it fun to meet a new artist who lives just up the street or down the hall? Punk drummer, burlesque dancer, filmmaker, playwright, sculptor, poet — if you haven’t met them yet, it’s only a matter of time.

Back in the rag-tag crew of comedians, a bonafide award-winning professional takes notes and offers thoughtful advice on how I might polish my little routine, centred around the reading of my Grade 5 journal. Where else do such things happen so naturally? 

We’ve got a good thing going, Victoria. You’re not perfect, but I love you just as you are.


—Natalie North is a reporter with the Saanich News.


Just Posted

Victoria shatters its oldest temperature record

B.C. sees fourth straight day of record-breaking warmth

Rickter Scale: Brother Gary strikes again

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column

Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts visits Victoria for Comic Con

He says he’s looking forward to the event, but don’t ask him where the snake is

UPDATED: Missing Victoria man found dead in Port Renfrew

Police continuing investigation, death not considered suspicious

Overturned vessels, simulated smoke expected in Victoria harbour for Coast Guard exercise

Coast Guard and other first responders will be on the water from 1 - 4 p.m. Thursday

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

View Royal council to discuss proposed 3.5% tax increase tonight

Budget open house to directly precede the council meeting

B.C. sees fourth straight day of record-breaking warmth

Bob Marley said it best: The sun is shining and the weather is sweet

UPDATE: Two avalanches confirmed at Okanagan ski resort, one in hospital

A man has been sent to hospital after an isothermal avalanche at SilverStar March 20

Okanagan man, Yorkshire terrier chased by coyote

Animal sightings have been reported around West Kelowna and the Central Okanagan

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Most Read